View From the Top

I was a little shaky, but I took my pencil point for a walk this morning. Paul Klee would be proud.

Arthur, my pet avocado tree is inside now after a traumatic foray into a pot of soil. He is back in the mason jar, slightly frayed around the edges. I feel really bad about that.

Today’s study

Arthur is just about 12″ tall. If I put his jar on the floor, I can look down on his crown. I sketched each leaf trying not to look at the paper as I was moving the point around. I did peek once or twice, I’m ashamed to say.

I am pretty satisfied with the overall design on the paper. I wasn’t sure what to do with the colors, however.

Watercolor Sketch - A View at the Top of Arthur the Avocado Tree

Arthur From the Top
12″x9″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

I knew I wanted to show the brown-ness of some of the leaves to show that Arthur wasn’t well. The curling leaves in the forefront on the right side of the sketch might also indicate a bit of desiccation of a plant in trouble.

I discovered a pleasing watercolor fact in this study. Cadmium yellow is opaque. I was happy that it was not absorbed by the underlying ultramarine leaf on the left side of the composition.

So I took a baby step forward today with my pencil point. I have no idea if this is what Klee had in mind. I am hoping that with regular exercise of my point (at least one 15 minute walk every day) I will eventually discover what Klee is talking about – a kind of independent evolution of a technique.  In the meantime, more reading and practice is in order.

Again, if any of you can shed light on Klee’s statement, “Art does not reproduce the visible, but rather makes visible,” please let me know.

5 thoughts on “View From the Top

  1. Very skillful. We are taking a far view from the Healing Garden of Arthur. There are two choruses of daffodils and a murmur of tulips about to burst forth. However, it is consensus. “You have rendered Arthur visible”. The new delphinium are jumping up and down about Arthur’s portrait and can’t wait to meet him. They like what they see. Everybody else says Arthur is aging normally (don’t let Arthur see this, please), normally for a pit in a jar. Get your self to the shoppe for a clay pot and and some potting soil. Let’s not be abrupt in our transplantations.

    You have rendered the state of life in Arthur visible. We here in the Healing Garden are all pleased to meet him. THGg

  2. Love the blue and yellow colours! I don’t know what Klee meant, but I know there are photographers who have the knack of taking a photo of something very ordinary and making it seem extraordinary – could this be something to do with it?

    • Not all people see their environment before them. A photographer’s eye perhaps notices a bit more: juxtaposition of shapes, a certain composition, a certain lighting. In that sense, the photographer makes his or her vision visible to others. So I think you are correct in saying that photographers can ‘make visible’. I am stuck on ‘making visible’, the invisible that is in my mind, which is what I think Klee is talking about regarding painting.
      Thanks for your observation.

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