Art Walk 5: Animal Art

Just don’t count all the sheep to doze off. This is an Art Walk, not a sleepwalk, and a Walk to bring the series out of its long winter hibernation at that.

Are you ready for a subarasheep time? (Memory jog from pun section of Art Walk 1subarashii (“soo-bah-rah-shee”) means “wonderful” in Japanese.)

Though it is “shear” folly to prevent me from punning, I won’t blame you for saying “Baaa, humbug” to my baaad jokes.

I made a concerted effort to include art that had not been featured in the blog. To see previously posted pieces, visit the Animal Art gallery. I’ll have to update it to include newer pieces and likely some older ones that have not been uploaded yet.

For the birds

When I was in high school, I once went to an event when the Saint Louis Art Museum partnered with the Saint Louis for life drawing. A zookeeper brought a few relatively small animals to the museum (lawn — note “to” the museum, not “in” the museum) for participants to draw. There were birds of prey and an opossum. I also drew the zookeeper, but I have yet to relocate that sketch.

The above profile sketch became the reference for this painting in 2018.

The owl below is not from the life drawing session. It was the outcome of using up some acrylic paint before it dried. 

I have a series of bird paintings on panels that has not been posted yet; they will receive their own post later in the year and be added to the animal gallery.

Here, kitty, kitty

Having had cats most of my life, it’s no surprise I drew them somewhat often (cats in general, not just mine). Here’s one from 6th grade. (No dogs today. They will appear in Art Walk 6.)

Does Cats (the musical) fan art count? No, but I’ll post some anyhow. The “bagpipe” made of candy canes and a football still makes me smile. It was an actual production prop, not just a figment of my imagination. What sweet music. (Readers probably know by now the pun is always intended.)

Here is a compilation of sketches of my cats.

Pandas

There are no Pandagrams in this post, but perhaps you will enjoy some realistic panda sketches (I think from 2014). One sketchbook page later, Pandagrams were born. You can see the precursor to Butterfly at the bottom right.

Other

As mentioned in previous posts, for birthdays, holidays, & such, I often drew cards or gifted my friends drawings of their favorite things. (Not just Japanese boy bands! XD)

One friend particularly loved wolves & dragons, so it was easy to decide what to draw for her. I suppose this could pass as a coyote, but the ears and snout seem rounded or wide enough to distinguish it as a wolf.

The butterfly is fantastical (not a real species). A tidbit appropriate to the reflective nature of the Art Walks is that this was the first serious watercolor painting I did (in high school), “serious” implying that I wasn’t just a kid splashing around with paint at home or primary school art class — or with children’s activity books with 3-5 circles of color on the front or the little dry cakes of paint. Until the day I started this, I had never seen watercolor paint squeezed out of a tube. Now tube watercolors are all I use.

“See ya later, alligator” seems appropriate to send you off today. Here is a crayon and pencil sketch of the required response’s reptile from my Peter Pan-themed door from a house (dormitory) decorating contest in winter 2011 (which I won).

This Art Walk now draws to a close. “Pun intended” is restated as preparation for part six.

Art Walk 4: Self-portraits

A short note before the Art Walk: I updated the previous post about the cards and calendar. Both are now available for purchase through Principia (link in post). Supposedly the calendar has a collage that includes one of my turtle paintings.

Self-portraits. Every art student has to do them. Repeatedly. Though not my favorite recurring assignment (hence the title art), the topic seemed interesting. Fortunately there are enough acceptable portraits to show, meaning they are decent enough to escape being painted over, recycled, or banished to the Cave of Wonders.

Portraits will proceed chronologically.

Aw, kindergarten art. I’m watching Wishbone (a children’s TV show in which a Jack Russell terrier, Wishbone, imagines himself in classic literary stories). See Art Walk 3 for more elementary school art.

Let’s jump to some real, or rather, more realistic, portraits.

I actually love this self-portrait (high school) because it’s not really about me; it’s about my love of drawing characters and of story. (It appears in Art Walk 1 to show progress in drawing people realistically.)

For the Upper School Teton trip, I got out of regular school to do creative writing, make art, and study nature, but I didn’t get out of doing a self-portrait in the required trip journal.

Next.

If you’re thinking, “What?! Genevieve’s hair was never that short!” you’re right. It’s not my hair; it’s his.

Portrait of Young Man Holding Sword, Giovanni Batista Piazzetta, c. 1735, chalk.

In Figure Studies (college), students were to draw their faces in any existing portrait. Not even my mother recognized “me” thanks to the hairstyle & the massive (man) hand. Though nothing special in terms of my likeness, the conté drawing is included since the premise is different.

I was grateful to be exempt from Drawing I in college, especially the draw-your-face-on-a-big-grid assignment. Alas, grid portraits were not entirely escapable; Figure Painting a couple years later required one (below), but fortunately that project was rather interesting. It was my first time stretching and painting such a big canvas (4’ x 5’).

There is no pure black paint on the canvas; all the colors were made by mixing. A few spots have a little black mixed in, but they are indeed few. The white is blank canvas.

Now for some cartoon & chibi portraits. (Not assigned.) =)

I suppose I should explain the title art at the beginning. The left side is based on Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The right side is from a relay manga in which Genevieve struggled to come up with something to draw (in the comic, not in reality, since the premise was my idea).

Some ways to interpret the subtitle (to keep up my self-imposed title trend/challenge):

  • Simple translation: Self-portraits? Oh, no!
  • Broken bilingual pun: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!(らしい) (rashii): Apparently somebody screamed (about doing self-portraits).*

*Not properly (hence “broken” and “pun”). らしい can indicate information gained by hearsay, like “I heard it will snow,” and “Apparently Genevieve can’t write an Art Walk without referring to J-pop,” but it doesn’t actually work to pair it with quoted speech.

I drew my friends and me often.

This sketch almost made the cut for the “About the Artist” page in Cartage. It reminds me mildly of surrealist René Magritte’s The Son of Man, a self-portrait with the face covered.

Pirate G actually made the cut.

This is in my scrapbook of my trip to Japan and China. Friends and I visited Okunoshima, a.k.a. Bunny Island. Chibi Genevieve is plotting how to “rabbit” folks on May 1. (At work, some people play “rabbit”: whoever says “rabbit” to someone else on the first of the month has won. It is often competitive and sometimes inventive: pranks, rabbit statues, “Rabbit’s” Rules of Order.) May 1 held masterful victories.

That brings us to the end for today and for 2021. There won’t be a special Christmas post, but in lieu, here are musical offerings (listed in order of increasing tempo/energy).

  • From a 12/12 Christmas event for which I played carillon: Noel nouvelet (recorded on my phone in the playing cabin, hence background noises including clacking batons/keys).
  • Canadian folk legend Stan Rogers’ gently humorous At Last I’m Ready for Christmas.
  • A jazzy J-pop song to put the matsuri (“festival”) in “Christmas”: Arashi’s I Can’t Wait For Christmas. Among other places, I particularly like the lyrics at 1:50 and 2:15. Translations: “Let’s give thanks; let’s clap our hands” and “A big future is in your left hand.”

Merry Christmas and, for the leporine-inclined, hoppy new year.

Card + Happy Thanksgiving

For 2022, Principia invited alumni artists to submit pieces for consideration in its calendar. Apparently the calendar committee received enough submissions it liked that, after the submission deadline, it decided to also to create a set of note cards (which are given as gifts to those who join the alumni clubs and perhaps to donors). One of my paintings was selected for the card set; it’s one I’ve shared before: SV Tommy Dundee. The set is 12 cards, each featuring a different piece.

Interestingly, I hadn’t initially planned to submit the oil painting, but I had an inkling that maybe I should anyway.

Supposedly there is a collage on page 2 of the calendar, & one of my sea turtle paintings, Honu Resting, is included. (I do not have a calendar, so I cannot say where for sure.)

The Principia cards and calendars are now available for purchase at www.principiaalumni.org/calendars.

If you would like more than 1 of SV Tommy Dundee in your card collection, you can order a set of my existing cards (5 for $7, 10 for $10); just email me. The artwork on my card covers the entire front (no white field) and fits nicely in a little frame, too.

On another note, I have ideas for at least two more Art Walks. One of them will probably be ready before the end of the year. Stay tuned.

Last but not least, have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving!

September 2021 Art Events

Saturday, September 4, 3 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m. Central)

This weekend, The Leaves, a Christian Science nursing facility in Texas, is hosting a virtual meet-and-greet with the artists prior to the art auction on October 2 & 3. (I am curious how much of it will be interactive; we artists recorded short videos to keep things from running too long.) Registration for the Zoom event this Saturday is required; sign up here. Visit www.theleaves.org/support-the-arts to learn more about the events and www.theleaves.org/artauction to see the artwork.

Sunday, September 12, 11 am–4 pm, Seminary Ave., Hopewell, NJ

In two weeks, I will have a booth at Handmade Hopewell, a little local arts & crafts fair in a charming New Jersey town. The fair went digital in the spring of 2020 and is back to being outdoors this year.

Art Walk 3: Elementary, My Dear Bergeson

Today’s Art Walk has a new theme and timeframe: elementary school.

If you are just starting the Art Walks, welcome. Briefly, this series reviews my art from years past. You do not need to read episode 1 or episode 2 before this one because the content is not chronological. 1 & 2 are thematically grouped to the effect of “Memoirs of a Teenage J-pop Fan Artist.”

Watson’s comment is how I chose to continue the unintentional Ohno (Satoshi)/”oh, no” title art trend (and thereby render it intentional). “Misquote” refers obliquely to the fact that canonically, Sherlock never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

I know exactly the drawing to start. Cue Inigo Montoya: “I am waiting for you, Vizzini! You told me to go back to the beginning, so I have.”

As far as school art goes, this is the beginning. When I drew it, I tried to figure out how to do aerial perspective. (I would not have used that phrase then, but I could tell that things look smaller further away.) See the speckled area on the left? I envisioned the neighborhood in the valley visible from my backyard. The small green dots are trees and the larger green patches yards.

In this picture, also from kindergarten, I like that I can see the process—that I built (drew) the snowman before I dressed it and drew hair before putting on the hood. The second is harder to see, but click to enlarge, & look closely at the hood. Part of it is green because the yellow marker blended with the blue. I also like the snowman’s funny expression. (Perhaps I could have used it as the “Oh, no” for the title image.)

There’s no date or grade on the back of the next one. I think it’s from either first or second grade. (Click to enlarge.)

“Frottage” derives from frotter, French for “to rub.” I arranged leaves, laid a sheet of paper over them, and rubbed crayons on it to make the textures of the leaves.

The next pictures are from my early days as an illustrator, long before Racing Pajamas. My elementary school had a small publishing center (basically a cubicle); students could bring a story or essay, select a book cover, and design a title label. A staple-bound book would be ready a few days later.

This is perhaps a desultory illustration to select because the setting is a bathroom, but if Marcel Duchamp can claim to turn a urinal into art, I can show a kid’s drawing of a loo and draw less criticism. (Pun always intended.) I am impressed with the commode & the toilet paper dispenser; all the components are there in decent proportions.

Other projects involved filling blank, pre-bound books, for instance, the fifth grade immigration project. Students learned about waves of immigration to America in conjunction with family history. We read Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse; the next two drawings are depictions of towns in the story.

Unlike everything above, the next two pieces were done in art class (also fifth grade). The first is a scene made after learning about Henri Rousseau’s jungle paintings.

This puma on scratchboard was from a different unit. The directions of the fur were a good challenge.

Thanks for walking. See you again.