Practice Before Bed

April 14, 2010

Just a need to draw something.

Above: A small bird with imagined colors. Just a large doodle. Read more about it below. Left edge of spread is clipped.

In my last journal, made with Velin Arches (formerly Arches Text Wove) for text pages, I had pre-painted this page spread with Brilliance gold stamp ink (you can see it smeared around and also under the blue/purple gouache above the bird). A friend had added the following quotation to the bottom of an email:

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.—Crowfoot, last words

I was struck by these words, calling up as they did my experiences in the woods and fields working with Dottie and Emma in all seasons and all weathers. Enjoying it all even when it was cold—perhaps especially when it was cold, because few beings find as much joy in the glory of winter as Malmutes do. The quotation reminded me of my sense of connection with my dogs and the entire natural world. And of course reminded me of all that joy, even in the moment of death.

I wrote the quotation using a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist's Brush Pen. I had intended to paint on this page, but then meeting notes and photographs of shows and openings marched beyond this page. It was time to sit down and fill this page. I did a quick sketch of a bird using my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen (some strokes of ink can still be seen in the tail and rump of the bird) and began painting with gouache (Schmincke)—imaginary colors. The dark background was painted around the finished bird, using a large, soft, filbert that left imprints of its floppy strokes. I have been using this brush a lot lately, trying to refine my skill at making marks with it, cutting around images without a fine pointed round.

Spending a couple minutes practicing before bed is always time well spent. You get ideas for future paintings and, well, practice using your tools.

  1. Beautiful Roz!

    • Sandy
    • April 14, 2010

    What a touching quote, i will have to write this down! and your sketch is awesome as Always!! Life is lived in the moments! EDM helps us remember this! Thank you ROZ for all you contribute to all of us! You are Awesome!

  2. Reply

    Thanks Lynn.

  3. Reply

    Sandy, I’ve got it on a post-it on the wall as well. (But those post-its fall down upon occasion and get tossed.) Thank you for your kind comments. Words like Crowfoot’s help us focus on what is important. I was grateful to find them at the bottom of a post my friend Wendy sent me. I don’t know if the quotation was chosen for that day, but Wendy has a knack of finding the right messages to say—things that help me along, especially when things seem tough. This quotation also reminds me to be grateful for my friends.

  4. Reply

    Imaginary colors? I can imagine a bird somewhere having colors like this. He’s a cute little thing.

  5. Reply

    Timarree, actually I should go in and correct that to “imagined” colors as the colors are real, in that they exist in the world, just not in conjunction with this bird body—but I’m glad you got the idea and found him cute. I cannot stand it, sometimes, how much looking at and drawing a bird makes me happy. (I wish it weren’t night I want to go out and sketch one right now!)

    • Scot
    • September 24, 2016

    Roz reading your blog is so much more than art and I know that most who follow you feel that way. Since I just follow links that grab my attention I am always learning and surprised. The real reason I am writing here is to ask, Why not a book, directly from the blog? To me it would be a great read for learning about life and art and just a great have by the bed or desk or chair, just pick it up an read.

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