Friday, July 31, 2009

July 31, 2009
Last night I finished another sketchbook (the 17th) on the quest to do 10,000 bad drawings. Shifted gears and began a series of studies for a big oil painting I'm planning for our October 15 art show at Overland Gallery in Scottsdale: the theme of the show is Capturing Billy the Kid Country.

Did 12 studies. Here's another page:

Ed Mell, Gary Ernest Smith and myself will be showing artwork gleaned from our plein air painting trip last April. One of the themes I keep coming back to is of Billy, bigger than life, looming over the mountains of eastern New Mexico. I did a couple oils of this theme in 1991-92 (Saint Billy being the most successful, with a zia illuminating the back of his head).

In this new attack I want to show a typical Land of Enchantment landscape and graveyard, with Billy looming over the entire scene, laughing at us:

I call it Biggy Billy because the model for this pose was Bill Glenn and, one of his best friends, my son, Thomas, calls him Biggy Bill.

Meanwhile, thanks to KD Younger (on this site), I ordered a book yesterday on the master inker Heinrich Kley. While looking for the book online I found this description:

"The answer to 'what is art?' is a very personal one. Paintings and artists fall into many categories and, as people, no two are alike. Yet the main function of any artist, in any art form, is to communicate. And when it comes, artistically, to the technical form of graphic art, the artist is at his best as a draftsman. The greater the draftsman, the more the artist can suggest with the least number of pen strokes. He knows beforehand where each line will touch the paper and why. Each line and dot will convey large areas of figure or scene, and the true artist/draftsman can relate his imagination to the viewer. Add to this one other quality the rare attribute of satirical humor and you have one of the greatest draftsman of this century: Heinrich Kley."

—Donald Weeks

This kind of rhetoric always has a confounding effect on me. It tends to inspire me, and yet, it makes me feel kind of small. Gee, I wonder what ol' Hanna has to say about this?

"One kernel is felt in a hogshead; one drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act."
—Hannah More

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