Tough Day

There was no reason for today to be a hard day. I awoke at the usual time, the weather was really nice. I went out on the porch to visit Arthur (my pet avocado tree). He seems to be acclimating to the outdoor life pretty well, although I haven’t seen any action at his growth tip, and he is still crusty around the edges. I don’t know the recovery time for avocado trees, but I expect to see some other leaves emerging, or at least some new avocado tree-ish leaf-precursor bumps somewhere. However, my sense of time has not adapted to plant-time as yet. I will have to be patient.

So, the day started out well. I put on the sunblock and continued reading The Plague by Camus. I’m looking for some new insight about existentialist philosophy. Come to think of it, today’s weather was a little like that described in the plague city of Oran in North Africa that Camus describes. But there is no plague here, and no real quarantine.

I couldn’t think

I had a hard time thinking about what to paint. Most of my fruit has rotted to the point where even I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t wise to keep them around (see Single DragonfruitSymmetryDragonfruit UnchainedDragonfruitus Resumptus, Aging Dragonfruit, Old Dragonfruits Never Die, Kiwi From Another Planet, Stuck on Klee (at the bottom)).

Last week I had a thought about how I would portray one of Arthur’s leaves. I loved the network of veins and the interplay of the browns, greens and yellows. I thought I could make a beautiful leaf portrait.  However, I didn’t want to draw from life for some reason. Perhaps I was thinking about Paul Klee, my artistic hero, whose pedagogical work I have been reading lately. I wanted work to come from my own head. As you can see below, the leaf I started drawing, with shaky hand, is no where near the vision I described above. I probably shouldn’t have included it here, but…  I did.

Today’s study #1

Watercolor Study - Abstract Leaf

12″x9″ 140# Hot Pressed Watercolor Block

More line walking

Those of you who are regular readers, know that I have been trying to understand Klee’s idea of ‘taking a line for a walk’, which is his parlance for ‘drawing’. However, Klee makes a linkage from the artist’s muscular movements in arms and hands, to a creative impulse somewhere in the artist’s head. I can’t for the life of me figure this out. Klee held a strong notion of creativity. I quoted it in my post, Old Dragonfruits Never Die, but it bears repeating. “In all likelihood, [creativity] is itself a form of matter, although it cannot be perceived with the same senses as the more familiar kinds of matter. Yet is is in these familiar kinds that it must reveal itself. It must function in union with matter.”  (Klee, P., Heinz-Norden, trans. Jürg Spiller, ed.; Notebooks Volume 2 The Nature of Nature London: Lund Humphries. 1973 p. 63)

Today’s study #2

So I tried once more to take my line for a walk. I began with curvy horizontal lines of different frequencies, partitioned them with other curvy lines and inserted higher energy jagged lines in between.

Since I have a new jumbo 8B pencil, I used it in this composition.  I do not know what to make of this study. At first it struck me as some kind of strange spider web. I put a human-looking pupil in one of the partitions. I found that, during the drawing process, I restricted the scope of my pencil point walk to the area bounded by the original wavy graph-like structure. Again, I don’t know why. My pencil walk doesn’t speak to me. There is nothing about it that is an ‘aha!’ moment.

Line Drawing as per Klee - Taking a line for a walk

Walking with 8B
11″x17″ 67# Bristol


But, as they say in Tara, “Tomorrow is another day.”

9 thoughts on “Tough Day

  1. Today is a new day. Anything is possible. Jack, you are on to something. I have looked through your wonderful paintings from your first posts. These two are ‘different. You are on to something new. This is the most leafness I have seen aggregated in a leaf in a long time.


    • I also feel that the painting and pencil drawing are quite different than other experiments I have produces. From my side of the creative equation, I didn’t feel good while I was painting/sketching. Perhaps it was low blood sugar, or some other irritation. The underlying pencil drawing of the leaf had a network of shaky, penciled veins with many branches. I was so frustrated that I painted streaks of red and, if you’ll notice, the talons of a bird claw at the end of the leaf. It makes no sense other than an expression of my frustration.

      But today was better, indeed.

      Thanks, THGg.



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