Cast of Characters

While working on a watercolour and ink project a few months ago, I had the urge to make up a cast of characters by giving characteristics to watercolour paint blobs. I specifically remember wanting to create an exercise in following my whimsy.

I tape my ‘cast of characters’ sheet above my work desk, where I do most of my writing and reading. It makes me smile. I see different sides of myself peering back at me, and this silly crew reminds me of what can happen if I just follow my creative hunch without worrying about the outcome.

I have yet to give the characters names, going as far as numbers and a few traits for my favourites. Suggestions welcome. 🙂

cast-of-characters

character-11
No. 11: Contemplative, studious, dutiful, and book-loving (or is that a bag of popcorn?).
character-2
No. 2: A grandiloquent creature who would like to pour you a glass of sherry and extrapolate on its many legs.

 

character-5
No. 5: A close talker.
character-8
No. 8: Just happy to have been drawn. Waving back from the other side of the shore.

What kinds of personalities would you include in your own cast of characters?

2 wreaths

I’ve grown fond of drawing wreaths.

When I draw foliage and other leafy things, I’m forced to attend not only to the positive light space, but to the dark shadow-parts in between. My eye endlessly enjoys all of the little intermingling darks and lights which the technical pen can make.

Here are two cards from last Christmas.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. 🙂

wreath 1

wreath 2

Holiday Horse

Hi again!  It is nice to be back in the blogosphere after an over-month-long hiatus.  I can’t wait to catch up with what I’ve missed.

An overseas move to the U.S. + holidays in Canada + another move within Chicago (in the snow and up 4 flights of stairs, no less!) = not being as creatively productive as I would have liked in these past few weeks.  January, however, is the month of making (and keeping) resolutions. Top of my list: becoming more aware of how I spend my time, and giving regular attention to what I like to call the ‘drawing tree’  🙂  I’m learning that my ability to be productive results from carefully ‘stewarding’ the thing that allows the drawings to happen–tending to something complex, dynamic and living that can wilt or flourish depending on the conditions.

For people who also like to make things: What do you like to call this thing? Do you have a name for it, or an image that conveys the process?  And what things do you do regularly to keep your creativity-tap running?

Speaking of trees and other twiggy things, I thought I’d share some of the holiday greetings I drew over the next few days.  This watercolor wreath was made for a certain little girl in love with horses.  More to come.

horse wreath 1

 

Suzie Wong

Maggie wong

I was on the phone with my father the other day, and we were talking about old movies and TV shows from his childhood. Laughingly, he told me to watch the film “Flower Drum Song,” where I discovered the strident Nancy Kwan. This is her portrait, drawn from a Chinese movie poster for “The World of Suzie Wong” (which I haven’t yet seen, but which strikes me as an earlier version of Pretty Woman set in Hong Kong).

After staying up late one night to read a biography of Dürer, feasting my eyes upon his dazzlingly detailed etchings, I was inspired to try my hand at using lines and cross-hatching for shadows instead of my usual heaps of diluted black ink.  I discovered that working this way to get gradations, you quickly enter a mental thicket.  The lines become a forest that gets denser and denser the farther you go into it.  This is an alluring place that is easier to enter than to exit.  Get what I’m saying?

This drawing combines technical pens, gouache, watercolour, india ink, and a little elbow grease.

Bacterial love

maggot love

I like to imagine that the precarity of bacterial existence makes some sense of connectedness one of the few sources of pleasure in an otherwise uncertain and short life.  Maybe it begins with a furtive glance from across the colony… followed by cellular fireworks.

I write this on the verge of some growing tummy trouble.  I’m counting on my immune system to take care of the thing, but in the meantime, I like the image of a micro-drama unfolding—bacteria mingling and rushing to meet their special someones in the little time they have left.