How life makes failures of us all with sunshine, and the gentle rapid passing of time*

wires on BaltimoreAnd, at long last, here, I write something again.

Don’t think I haven’t longed for it; time without writing makes a ruin of me. A mere responder rather than a decided adventurer. Time— without time to think, to write— renders me a to-do list, at best. Ugh.

And I’ve been feeling a right failure of Summer, honestly, Having had not a single true beach day at the ocean; nor any long rides on my bike to farther-afield neighborhoods. It’s made me have some misgivings about this new job, despite that I rather love it.

It’s down to habit and expectations, I suppose. I spent a lotta’ years being a sole proprietor (my own damn boss), and as a result, have certain expectations of Summer, you know. Lots, in fact.

garden in Butcher's Hill, Baltimore

But what I’ve come to realize (again) is that everything’s a trade-off. I enjoyed many years of beaching mid-week; of cycling all round town whenever I chose. And now the focus has shifted. It’s good, and just what I needed, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

It was a choice, and one I don’t regret. And now, after a long weekend in B’more with one of my dearest friends, my brother and his family are going to be in Brooklyn this weekend. So you see, Summer happens after all 🙂 And it’s wonderful.

Closing note: I have so much more I intended to write about, but it’ll keep. Summer pushes certain things to the wayside.

(Autumn has other promises, where rain is appropriate and welcome.)

 

*We haven’t failed! It only feels like that sometimes, when pressures lead us to think in term of expectations. Personally, I’ve decided to say fuckall to prior patterns, and allow new ones to form. That’s adaptation 🙂

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Superpowers

b&w photograph of people in a quiet sunny green parkObserving and Listening have become almost superpowers in the contemporary world. Such pursuits are almost the opposite of (though are often mistaken for) ‘consuming’, because to truly see and/or hear takes as much patience and skill as any act of creation. They are the wells that feed creation. Processes —both of observation and research— culminate in the process of making, which is, always, one of translation.

.   .   .

The above was born of a comment left on another artist’s blog; I’ve adapted it to a more generalized sentiment, as I find it to be true.

Apologies for the longer stretches between posts, lately. I’m in need of a schedule to stay on track here, as I re-learn living, and balance with the full time gig/ I’d rather expected more time for writing while I was upstate, but lots of family goings-on took precedence. Happy Summer, and thanks for reading and looking! 

Promise after this one we go home

b&w photo of grafitti in BerlinRevisiting the April trip, zooming back to Berlin, in black and white. We begin here in RAW-Gelande, the graffiti-clad playground to artists and DJs, just over the river in East Berlin..
b&w photo of a corner building and street signs in Berlinb&w photo of a building displaying brutalist-inspired architecture in BelinFeeling a little Brutal(ism) on this corner, but in person it was a rather lovely building. blue sky reflecting in all the glass.

b&w photo of a traditional building in Berlinb&w photo on buildings and spires of a cathedral in the distance in Berlinb&w photo of a lamp post, tree branches and spires in BerlinAs we approached these bristling spires, I was all anticipation, as the light was adding a kind of shadowy drama to the silhouettes.

b&w photo of a cathedral surrounded by stark winter trees in BerlinA stunning, lyrical façade rendered prickly and sere in the fading light and surround of winter tree branches.B&W photo of the exterior structure of a stone cathedral whose interior is empty in a park in BerlinThis cathedral is a hollow shell; was bombed heavily, during WWII, but much of the exterior remains in what is now a park.

I’ll eave you with the ethereal image below— rivulets streaming down from the apex of Viktoria Park, which was neighbor to us for our days in Berlin.

b&w photo of the waterfalls in Viktoria Park, Berlin

A crossing to the farther shore

B&W photo of the shore where we catch the ferryView facing west as we await the ferry

On an Easter Monday back in early May, Z, J, and I went on a cycling wander with our friends in Amsterdam. Though it was chill and overcast, we had a fantastic day exploring Amsterdam Noord.
B&W photo of our bikes on the ferry from Centraal Station
Two of our bikes on the deck of the ferry
B&W photo of the industrial shoreline
B&W photo of the harbor areaB&W photo of a club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
A club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
B&W photo on the farther shore, Amsterdam Noord
Edge of the beach outside at
Pllek (pllek means Place in Dutch)
B&W photo of my cycling buddies on a waterside cycle path
B&W photo cycling through Nieuwendammerdijk
Entering the town of  Nieuwendammerdijk
b&w photo of gables in Nieuwendammerdijk
Bell gables hide steeply pitched roofs
b&w photo of our bike posse
#squadgoals 🙂


Color photo of the Botel

 

Of a moody lodge beset by light and weather

nighttime water lined with treesTwo weekends ago, I spent some days in a fantastic waterside lodge for a wedding in south Georgia. Above, a view of the little lake. Mossed-draped trees trace menacing silhouettes across the water. This was late at night, and the frogs were singing— an orchestra louder than the nighttime city.
lake with trees as a storm approaches
The lake, seen Saturday afternoon, just before the storm descended, bringing winds, thunder, lightning, and wide curtains of rain. I sat on the wide porch under its corrugated metal roof during the whole storm, and enjoyed the display immensely.
deer head hunting trophies on a wall in the wooden lodgea rocking chair on the vast porchtaxidermy rabbit in the interior of the lodgetaxidermy deer head trophy with a dramatic angle to his neckEverywhere in the lodge were taxidermied deer and various other beasts, giving the feeling of a hunting lodge (despite being hired out primarily for weddings).the lodge and the lake in sunset silhouette lightview of the lake with trees reflected on the water's surface

Sunday morning, looking through old sketchbooks

pen and ink "Hello" script

It’s a fine Sunday, breezy and overcast; not bad qualities for a lazy morning at a window-side desk.

A long time ago I used to use crow quill dip pens for drawing and lettering. Though it can be a chore keeping those nibs clean enough to flow nicely, their character cannot be matched by the modern ink-filled pens that strive to emulate the look. It is, in part, the tension between the sharp metal and the paper that makes it unmistakable.

diminutive sketch of a woman with red raincoat and red umbrella

This little monochrome sketch has aways touched me. It somehow reminds me of Tove Jansson’s Fillyjonk character. I’ve been posting forgotten things from old sketchbooks on IG; follow me @edaggarart to see more.

Candles emitting a cadmium glow

watercolor sketch of some candlesThese candles, clad in two layers of glass, reflect and shimmer beautifully in the dim interior and caught my eye. I didn’t spend as much time truly observing them as I may have; rather did a sort of lazy caricature or symbolized portrait of them.watercolor sketch of some candles, in normal colorMy scanner has a really tough time with these new cadmium paints in my kit, so I worked in Photoshop to try to return the colors to how they look on the page, but still not really accurate.
watercolor sketch of some candles, in filtered monochrome colorDecided fuck it and went fully another way with a Nik filter, which produced the monochrome image. I learned from that. While it may be less true to the many colors in the glass, it feels truer. And looks more interesting.

This is a drawing about a saxophone

sketch of an alto sax player

This is a sketch from a couple weekends ago. My friends Sarah & Tara were performing at Freddy’s Bar & Backroom, and the band that followed them was
Elijah Shiffer And The Robber Crabs. The sax player had a sort of steam punk-looking alto sax— it had a machine-like patina not generally associated with such an instrument. .

I began to draw it, but with so much detail amid all the movement, it was difficult to pin down. Anyway, I quite like this sketch, even unfinished.

A recipe for crisp-edged watercolors

photo of desktop showing drawings, paint, and paintingsLast week I posted some gentle little watercolors, and briefly described the process. Here, as promised, is a more detailed view of that process.

Step one: Draw your shapes in pencil.
step one: pencil drawing
Step two: scan the drawings, and import to Adobe Illustrator. Trace the shapes using the pen tool, refining as you go, to create your idealized vector shapes.

step two: scan and trace the pencil shapes in Illustrator

Continue reading “A recipe for crisp-edged watercolors”

Some gentle little watercolor illustrations

watercolor of a prawn

Here are some illustrations I’m working on for a project. The process involves first doing a pencil drawing of the shape, which I then scan and trace in Adobe Illustrator so I have a clean-lined vector shape. Then I print it out as just a black outline, and tape to the back of a piece of watercolor paper.

Next, I place the sandwiched sheets of paper on a lightbox, and paint with watercolor. Finally, I scan the painted pieces and use the vector shape as a clipping mask to regain the crisp edges of the original drawing.

It sounds like a long process, but it’s a wonderful way to combine the organic flow of the watercolor with the sharp lines of a vector illustration.

If I have time soon, I’ll put some process pics up here, as that probably sounds like a foreign language to anyone not familiar with the tools involved.
watercolor of parsley
watercolor of a fishwatercolor of a cuke slice and some watercress