I noticed a man on the corner, just outside the shadows of Haight Street. Like many others, his large backpack was laying on the sidewalk behind him. I’ve wanted to incorporate more people into my paintings for a while and have been doing lots of gesture drawings to help make this happen. Shadows still catch my eye every time I walk around the city and are always working their way into my paintings.
I’m still putting my work on Etsy at ArtFromBrian and appreciate the recent boost from visitors coming over from this blog. Thank you for taking the time to check out my store. And please check back to see what’s new!
When pulling together the shapes and lines that make up a composition it can be challenging to determine how much information is enough. Some of my favorite drawings and paintings exhibit a very economical approach to line, saying just enough to let the viewer see what the artist sees. In recent weeks, I’ve been doing many gesture drawings, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’m trying to let my paintings be, somewhat, more gestural. I started my painting today outside with lots of light and finished it at home by bumping up the shadows and contrast. I’m really trying to stop myself from overworking each painting and I’m pretty happy with how this one looks. If you have the time, let me know what you think.
It seems that when I look upon a building, landscape, or any other thing I see and want record with a drawing or painting, I am feeling some relation to the order and balance of it. It comes to life in the process of reordering the elements on paper and trying regain the memory of the thing, even as it’s right in front of me. The process and the memory of that moment when all that was in front of me was in perfect order, combine and have personal meaning. The crucial part in drawing and painting seems to be in the beginning. If the objects are out of alignment from the start, the rest of the work can feel like a chase for something just out of reach. Some works become truly special and others are abandoned. I like the process of keeping this blog as a journal of each day’s small success or failure. I don’t hold back works and some are better than others but it feels good to see them all together.
On my ventures out to sketch, I’ve probably walked by this van a hundred times and never without briefly looking over to admire it. The lines of the body, the windows, and the utility of its design capture my imagination for a moment and become one more piece of my life in San Francisco, where Volkswagen vans still abound. My walks around the city, not only looking for subjects to sketch or paint, are spent forming a relationship with life right here and now. I’m recording the small things that are special and meaningful. I feel a great devotion to things, whether it’s a van or a shadow cast over the rooftop of a house that I otherwise have no connection to. The places and things that I pass by on my way through life leave fingerprints on my mind and memories. Maybe that’s why drawing and painting have become so important to me. Each drawing represents a tiny fraction of how I look at the world.