February 25, 2013

Painting. Figure: Ocean S. Myers

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Figure: Ocean    S. Myers, Acrylic on Canvas  2013

     My newest painting began with inspiration from Baroque maps, where figures personifying seasons, continents, and oceans stand on either side or recline at the bottom, ornamenting already elaborate and fantastic charts.

      But I was also looking at pictures of Brazilian interiors.  And I was full of the colors and enchanting vistas of Raoul Dufy. So as I spread the brilliant blue, the brown, and the mica/iron gold paint on the canvas, I resolved, not to hold to a single influence, simply to create something that would show very well on a wall.

Fan Palm Photograph

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Sunburst Palm  
S. Myers, Photograph 2013
   Another photograph of a favorite subject, fan palms.

   Yes indeed, the sides of the picture really do go straight up, despite the attempt of this wonderful leaf to warp both verticals.

February 20, 2013

Ox, Charcoal Studies. S. Myers

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Ox: Charcoal Study      S. Myers, Charcoal on Paper

    He lay, a brilliant splash of red and white in the spring-green grass - the quiet owner of a gorgeous pair of horns. I’ve so wanted a picture of him for my art; but day after day as we drove past his field, I did not have my camera, or we didn’t have time, or he and his fellow steer were at the far end of their lot.
    But the other day I did capture his portrait. He didn’t mind my proximity, or my fuss with the camera. When spoken to, he looked at me with gentle unconcern.

   This first study was drawn while looking at the photograph and remembering the animal himself – his massive bulk, the extravagant span and curve of his horns.

ox, animal, bull, study, sketch, drawing, line-drawing, art, arte, quick, S. Myers, Sarah Myers, cattle, horns, strong
Ox from Memory, Study    S. Myers, Charcoal on Paper
    The second sketch is an experiment. I hid the photo from sight, also my resulting study, and simply drew from memory, trying to recall the information I had gathered.
    I really think this technique of working from mentally assembled information is similar to how the ancient Greeks created drawings for their pottery. There is both a certain simplification and a certain emphasis on memorable details in Greek pottery paintings that makes me think that though they gathered their primary information from life, painting on vases was not done directly from a live model. The forms had settled and brewed a little while in the consciousness, as a study and as a memory – of how a spine curves, of how a dog’s legs and head look from behind, of how fingers rest on a harp-string. Then the pot-painters created the red and black shapes that parade across the best of Greek ceramics – depictions of men, women, horses, lions... and, very occasionally, a handsome ox...

Hovering Orchids Photograph

orchids, photograph, hovering, art, arte, S. Myers, Sarah Myers, flowers, plants, pink, white
Hovering Orchids, S. Myers
Photograph 2013

February 13, 2013

Violinist, Drawing S. Myers

Music: Violin
    S. Myers, Charcoal on Paper

   This drawing is inspired by two sources I find marvelous: classical music and skillful hands.
    Someday, I tell myself, I will sketch a series, studies of hands belonging to musicians, potters, carpenters, couturiers and others.  Because every creative profession produces its own unconscious poise and typical movement in the fingers.
   Here I also tried to capture concentration in the eyes...

Bull Box

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Box in the shape of a Bull     S. Myers
Red Earthenware

    I built this box from clay some time ago as a Christmas gift.
    I lived for many years in a suburb surrounded by fields and the fields were full of meat cattle - deep-bodied, low to the ground, like immense rectangles with small, handsome heads.  I may have exaggerated the squareness here, even for one of those bulls - but it is certainly right for a box!

February 8, 2013

Studies: Heads from Different Angles

Woman's Head, Seen from Slightly Above     S. Myers, Charcoal on Paper 

   Two studies, faces from different angles.

Woman's Head, Seen from Slightly Below    S. Myers, Charcoal on Paper

A Red Primrose

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Bright Red Primrose, Photograph   S. Myers

   Portrait of a primrose, bought cheaply - but could you imagine a happier face for a flower?
   An Expert Gardener here tells me primroses are considered cold-weather annuals here, due to the warm season's dry and heat.  I have placed my pot in the shade where I intend to plant the flower - I am drenching it from time to time with water and for now the weather remains a cool gray.  The primrose smiles at the sky and blooms.

February 4, 2013

Woman's Head, Charcoal Drawing S. Myers

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Woman Glancing to the Side,    S. Myers
 Charcoal and Conte on Paper

     It’s always wise to view your artwork, during creation, from the same angle you intend to use once you are finished. If it’s to be hung on the wall, work with it upright. When a larger picture lies flat, there is always an element of foreshortening.

     I take angles into serious account with my sculpture; if it’s an object intended to sit on a high pedestal, I clamber around under it and make sure the shapes function from below; if the art is made for a position like that on a low table, I work with it at hand-height or lower.

    But last night I wholly forgot to apply the rule with my drawing. The result was that, while the sketch was lying on the table or the floor it looked quite handsome; but jerked upright it was an altogether different piece. The cheeks were distressingly lax; in some areas flow of the modeling was totally lost.  I needed to pull the picture out of distortion, and quickly.

     Foreshortening on a two-dimensional piece can be used skillfully as a visual trick; the formal name for this is anamorphosis. I don’t believe many examples have been produced in the realm of fine art, but Holbein used it famously in his Ambassadors, where a viewer standing in front will see only a dignified double portrait with an inexplicable brown and white streak in the foreground. If the viewer moves well to the left, however, this strange shape foreshortens and resolves itself into a skull.

     I had no intention of producing an anamorphosis that appealed only in the horizontal. After my surprise and recalculation, I taped the drawing to my closet door and finished it from that angle. This helped the picture considerably. But it also dismayed my Schnauzer, who woke up from a late nap to see the charcoal face staring across the room. I cannot imagine the drawing realistic enough (from a dog’s point of view) to produce hostility; but she kept her eye on it and continued fretting and growling until I took my newest artwork off the wall once more.

Dancing Orchids, Photograph

orchids, flowers, pink, veining, S. Myers, Sarah Myers, art, arte, photograph, dancing, lively, beauty, light
Dancing Orchids, S. Myers   Photograph, 2013
    Orchids with rich pink veining, photographed against the thick post of the porch.

February 1, 2013

Drawing, Head of a Woman

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Head of a Woman, Allegorical Figure
, S. Myers  Charcoal and Conte on Paper 2013

   This drawing is inspired by several early Botticelli paintings I sat looking at the night before last.

    It was so enjoyable to stare at the book, at those pictures, submerged in their vast world of renewed Spring; to turn the pencil loose and watch it dance over the paper, the sound of Pablo Casals' cello all the time being background - a recording played very softly so as not to wake sleepers in the house.