Before the leaves turn in Western North Carolina there is a solid month of foggy mornings. Sometimes these persist after the leaves fall. Here you can see trees in various states of undress as the as the fog reveals them and their reflections in the French Broad River in the mountains outside Asheville. This drawing will be available at Of Time and the River, the third annual art show to benefit RiverLink, held this year at Zealandia, overlooking downtown Asheville.
I’ve spent a year describing space in my drawings without the use of a brush. Exclusive reliance on pens means a variety of pens. The drawing above was executed with goose and vulture quills and Japanese manga nibs.
Heavy pen use also means trying for an expressive line. There is a lot to be learned from using line to turn form in the portrayal of small objects in the foreground. We’ve all seen apples on a tabletop rendered with close-hatched latitude lines. I’m trying to build on the skills involved in so doing to depict aerial perspective with the use of line.
Inspiration for this way of working has come from nineteenth century etchings by people like Whistler and Hayden. Many thanks to Julyan Davis, who steered me to some good nineteenth-century prints online.
Here is the Chowan River by morning light, treated in a similar manner with the use of straight lines to evoke the geometry of space.
Above an image of “Barn and Mist,” which I submitted to this year’s LandMark competition at Arts of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City. Gimlet-eyed readers will recognize a detail of the same as the main image of this blog. It took first prize.
Many thanks to Darlene Tighe and Keli Hindenach, the gallery manager and excutive director who put on the event during the approach of the tropical storm and sometime-hurricane Hilene. Likwise to Munroe Bell who beat the storm in time to judge the work.
I have painted this region for almost a decade and have loved it even longer. It was a delight to be in a room full of people who love it.
The picture is for sale at Arts of the Albemarle. Call them at 252-338-6455. Armed with this and a few books by Bland Simpson, you’d be all set. Or as they say in Northeastern North Carolina, you’d be right, I reckon.
Make omelettes. Or egg tempera.
Eggs have played many roles in the history of painting. Egg white used as a medium, called glair (Scrabble ammo, that), was favored by icon painting. Robert Gottsegen says that most easel painting prior to the rise of oil paint contains egg yolk.
Both whites and yolks make strong films and can be used apart from, inter-layered with, and mixed with oils. Andrew Wyeth is perhaps the best known painter in tempera.
I decided to do a patch of foliage first in yolk tempera, then glazed in oil. Here’s the tempera stage with cremanence white and calcium carbonate.
I’m after a sense of lightweight resilience that weeds so often display. In terms of imagery that means transparent paint punctuated with opaque places.
In terms of realism, it means making the plants sit proud of the surface of the painting. I’m hoping the egg will provide a more delicate relief than would a plain grisaille.
I’m putting a Roman numeral after the title because I hope we can do it again next year. Good times and lots of money raised for the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge. Bye the way, if anyone has 10 acres or so to donate for their wildlife rehab facility, look them up: you can write it off: http://www.appalachianwild.org/donate.html.
From the after-event press release:
Asheville, North Carolina – The inaugural Wild Art event held Saturday August 6, 2016 raised funds and friends to help native wildlife thanks to support from regional artists, Addison Farms Vineyard, dedicated volunteers and the community. Guests enjoyed meeting with artists to learn about their work created at the vineyard and other pieces inspired by nature. Artist Tony Corbitt was set up next to the Animal Ambassador tent during the event and painted the visiting Eastern Screech Owl from the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Banner Elk.
The event was a fundraiser and outreach opportunity for the nonprofit Appalachian Wildlife Refuge working to open a facility to help injured and orphaned wildlife. “We are so thankful to John Mac Kah, Paul Blankinship and all the other artists that attended and donated a portion of the art sales to Appalachian Wild,” shared President and Co-Founder Kimberly Brewster. The nonprofit also held a raffle and had items available for purchase that raised over $1,500.
Nb, the baby robin spotted on the ground by gimlet-eyed fellow Saint of Paint, Dana Irwin. As he was too young to fly, he was returned to his nest instantly.
I asked how common it was for robins to breed this late in the year and was told by a show attendee, “if it required permission, wouldn’t none of us be here.”
Getting a model up off a table top, especially if it’s a living thing, is fun.
It’s slightly less fun to watch the color fade and the leaves curl as I work. Makes me grateful for classical training. It takes flexibility to learn what the Victorians meant by “paint in a broad manner” and their grandsons, my teachers by “don’t just paint the object, but paint the air around the object, too.”
I’ve got another bough stuck upside down in a Mason jar of water that may retain some color for tomorrow’s session, but I’m not counting on it. I mixed up a local color as part of a string from shadow to highlight. It mostly matched, so that’s what I’m going with tomorrow.
Art lets one test one’s logic by one’s senses.
These are rows of grapes at the Addison Farms vineyard, whose owner, Jeff Frisbee has been kind enough to host Wild Art 2016: the Art Show to Benefit Appalachian Wildlife Refuge on August 6 from 12noon to 5pm. It all happens at 4005 New Leicester Highway, 15 minutes and a whole world northwest of Asheville, NC
For some annual crops, at least, we shall see the row system, maybe even tillage itself, vanish in our lifetimes. And good riddance, too.
Perennial crops, though, are another matter. Since the earliest gardens in the Near East, rows and compass points have predominated. There is something intrinsically reverent and hopeful about the conjunction of geometry, next year and fruit.
Where these things intersect, you can have a culture, because culture demands that someone see life on the side of order and not chaos.
The Vineyard. Walnut ink on prepared paper.
Agriculture, culture, cult: these three perdure.
Few things satisfy like making good culture, and propriety forbids crowing about them in public.