It’s the doing that counts

Saturday June 14, 2008

Another stop at home Saturday, with Graham off at the holiday camp being busy and working ridiculously long hours.  He was rash enough to promise me a haircut tomorrow but I’ll not hold him to it–he’ll be exhausted again.  This weekly destruction testing thing is not the wisest way to hold down a job.  I’ll do the best I can to avoid influencing his thinking on this.  I reckon it’s appropriate to keep my opinions to myself and to let him find his own way out of the problem.

Dolly and I spent much of the day sleeping when we were not eating.  When I’d had enough of sleep I turned my attention to pictorial work.

I have had this Constable oil sketch as my computer desktop for a little while and each time I shut the applications down I get a kick in my backside of it, as if the wise old guy was saying:  “Stop dallying and get on with it.”


Constable: oil on paper

I’d seen it before, years back, but now it really speaks to me. I enjoy the sky particularly, where a wild squall of rain is depicted so vividly and so minimally.

I can’t use my oil paints while we’re keeping the house ready for viewers–the smell is dreadful and I don’t like modern “aroma-free” paints and thinners. I looked at the Constable, though, and thought that much of what he’s done here I could have a go at–yes, I know I’m no Constable, and I have no desire to be–with oil crayons. So I pulled out my painter’s bits box and dug through it to uncover what I have in the way of oil crayons and suitable paper.

So far I’m doing no more than to teach myself the technique, shoving the colours around the surface and working out the best way for me to use them–to blend or not to blend is the main question. I’ve produced nothing I want to keep, or to show, just scrawls and splotches of colour on the paper. It’s the doing that counts, not the results.

For lack of access to real subject matter I’m not aiming too hard at the figurative.  The sky is however always with me, and provides an endless series of subjects.

I’ve learned enough already to want to try my hand at some proper oil crayons. The ones I have are cheap Chinese imitations of the real Sennelier.  I shall want to pick up some non-oil pastels to try, too.  It was the non-oil kind I was taught at art school back in the ’50s.  The art store in Taunton has a sale on at the moment.  Guess where I’ll be dropping in when next we visit the town?

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8 responses to “It’s the doing that counts

  1. Looking forward to seeing what evolves! What a lovely thought on a Sunday morning.

  2. I’m with Wendy. We’ll just sit quietly here in the bleachers, waiting for the show to begin. No pressure, John. (smile)

  3. Are oil crayons what my mother used to call Conti crayons?

    She produced some nifty things with them.

  4. Poor Graham. Standing long hours at the ball park are what did me in. I hope he is ok.

    Yes, gestural magic in that Constable. Magic indeed. Passion…..look at those quick brush marks. It’s a far cheaper thing tho to stick to the oil pastelles.

  5. Thanks for stirring up the creative juices, John. I’m thinking the sky is the best model whether one is in the city or the country. I really like Eric Sloane’s Weather Book for pen sketches of clouds and sailboats.

    Hugs from here,
    ~ Sil

  6. Well we know all my sky work is done with camera. And narry a rain cloud to photograph.

  7. I like skies. Which is just as well… 😉 My max. walking distance on pavement before needing to rest is 75 yards. On smooth grass, two to three times that. On rough ground, close to zero. So a combination of sea and cloud is a good ‘un for me.

    Conte crayons are a lovely limited pallette range of ‘cheap’ drawing chalks or pencils. Some very great artists have achieved fantastic results with them. Wikipedia has a pretty good short description and an example.

  8. This is totally off the subject, but I’m listening to the new CD versions of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy featuring the original radio cast doing adaptations of Adams’ last two books.

    I started listening to book four and the hapless Arthur Dent has hitchhiked across the galaxy to get back to his home in …Taunton!

    Oh, Gosh! And here’s us doing the self same thing, over and over. It’s that ’42’ thing… 😀

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