Chained to the easel…

that’s where I’ve been for weeks now. It’s super crunch time as I see the deadline for the July show coming closer….and closer. Every waking minute needs to be spent with brush in hand in order to meet the ambitious goals I have for producing more and better work this year.

You will have noticed that writing blog entries, which can sometimes take hours, have been shelved along with dinner invitations and all other social interactions, except for PT which is keeping my knees and back from seizing up all together.

I do monitor the incoming channels via email, internet and facebook so the outside world does get in… in short controlled bursts.

This morning one of those playful but interesting FB threads came through from a friend…World Book Day. Grab the book closet to you right now. Open to page 56, and choose the 5th sentence. Publish it as your status and write these rules as a comment. Don’t choose. PICK UP the CLOSET book.

I am a book lover so… I reached behind my easel chair and grabbed the closest book…it turned out to be Mechanical Drawing for High Schools by French and Svensen, used by students at the George Washington High School in Manhattan, N.Y.City between 1936-39…interestingly enough one of the students who signed it out in ’37 was George O’Neill…almost a relative ?

I use this book as a prop and it has appeared in several paintings…here’s one called Book Mark…

and a recent one, By Design…currently available at the Granary Gallery

So I opened to page 56…

and the 5th sentence reads…”When a pictorial sketch is dimensioned, the only additional consideration is to use care to see that all extension lines are either in or perpendicular to the plane on which the distance is being given.”

Which was a much needed reminder that the muses are here…just over my shoulder as it were…helping me struggle through the long hours of trying to get those extension lines just right…

Here is a shot of what I was painting when that facebook comment came through on the iphone beside me…complete with T-square in place to make sure those carefully considered doors are perpendicular !

So what book is beside YOU ?

4 thoughts on “Chained to the easel…

  1. Hi, Heather – I enjoy reading your blog, and found today’s entry fascinating. I’ve been rereading Rackstraw Downes’ essay “Turning the Head in Empirical Space,” from the book of his paintings published in 2005. I also think about straight lines and horizons in my paintings, and find Rackstraw’s acceptance of the limitations of the human eye to be freeing, allowing for the natural distortion at the periphery of our field of vision. His thoughts are actually a contradiction to those in your mechanical drawing book, and he gives multiple examples of the evolution of formal single-point perspective and its failings. So you might find the T-square can sometimes be left behind, opening up some interesting possibilities.
    All the best,

  2. Janice,I am not familiar with Downes’ essay and will check it out. Based on your interpretation I am curious about the natural distortions. The mechanical drawing book is really only a prop. Never been opened until today. My drawing foundations were ordered in the fundamentals of realism taught by Barkley Hendricks at Conn. College…and since it was in the free-floating seventies there was a heavy dose of experimental touchy feely expressiveness thrown in encouraged by The Natural Way to Draw.
    Now adays I find it important to satisfy the “bones” of the structures in my landscapes while endeavoring to render the patina of it’s history. The bones of those old weathered New England shacks tend to lean and sag in sympathy with their human Yankee counterparts. Each one unique in character and it’s that story that I’m trying to tell. So, while I have the T-square on hand it is only used occasionally and only to correct my shaky lines. If a door which has been opened and closed for over a hundred summers now gracefully lists out of plumb…I shall faithfully record it’s well earned rest.
    For those of you who read these comments you will be well served to spend some time enjoying Janice’s wonderful paintings…

  3. Only for you would I do this. “Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens” by Andrew Beahrs.

    the sentence reads “Actually, saying that the slaves planted rice doesn’t go far enough; for a time enslaved Africans – especially those from the French Company of the Indies’ Senegal Concession – probably knew more about growin rice than anyone else in their respective colonies.”