Summer hid a whetstone in the slender paths between cornstalks

Seneca, the paint quarterhorse
My brother and Seneca in the ring while I was up at the Farm in July.


Summer
! It’s been too hot. It’s rained a lot. It’s been busy with work, and (half Fridays notwithstanding) I’ve still not gone on a date with the Atlantic Ocean. Haven’t cycled as much as I’d like.

But it’s been good, after its own fashion; taking its own shape. Clarity and focus with my work has (mostly) made up for my extreme lack of drawing and writing. Solid, meaningful visits to and from family and friends have shored up scattered edges.

What it all has in common: that fleeting quality that I will ever associate with Summer. Happily, the meaning lasts, even if the sunshine doesn’t.

And life without meaning is little more than a series of actions or motions.

drawing of a wall needing art, w measurements
My mathy diagram of K’s wall, before we hung all the art!

Just over a week ago there was an unprecedented electrical storm —very local to my apartment. To the extent that my building was hit and I lost a few small appliances; modem, router, speaker, and the aquarium pump. What a nuisance. Amazon: order replacements. Brazenly, decadently easy to deal with such a blow in these times. Nearly everything was back to rights by the weekend.

The electrical storm seems to’ve been a metaphor for things at large. I wasn’t even upset at having to drop over $200 at the damage that ensued; indeed, it felt like a doorway. An entrance stone had opened, to quote Murakami. I took it as a sign. Old things, old equipment, can be let go of easily with the help of a catalyst. Particularly when it suits the story.

Just last year, my printer died, apropos of nothing. I was irritated, irate at first, but at length it dawned on me that the thing was 11 years old. Then I felt grateful it had endured so long. (Few have such a resumé these days.) I practically well-wished it as I left it on the doorstep of the electronics recycling center a month later. A solemn good-bye, with a wink: So long and thanks for all the fish!

I digress.

drawing of electrical wires
A drawing of the occasional above-ground wires of New York City

This summer has been the most disruptive I’ve had in a long time, and probably—definitely— overdue. I’m good with it, have found a way to be settled with it, despite not having had my sand and salt respites at the edge of the world; despite not having spent (yet*) enough time with friends in our erstwhile carefree summer ways. It’s a new chapter, demanding of change.

At Springtide I sensed it, (sortof) accepted it— was fine to wait for Summer. But it’s different now, and it’s on account of so many factors I cannot list or name them all.

I’m still absorbing, but for the first time in a long time I’m not afraid of Autumn. I’ve even taken to listening to the Shipping Forecast as a soothing interlude, a doorway to focus, or just to sleep— a horoscope of rain and barometrics, always rising more slowly.

Photo of the pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore
The pagoda at Patterson Park in Baltimore, when I visited K

*ever the optimist!

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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”

Cheerful, cooled, and brittlebush

paint chipsIt’s time for some updating and new colors. I’ve been thinking about some new colors for awhile, and went to browse the chips this afternoon.

quick drawing incorporating the colorsWhen I got home, I checked them all out in the rooms and against the light and existing paint, then gave them a quick run-through in Photoshop, as I can’t resist that sort of thing.

Two shades of yellow for the kitchen; a rustic sort of dark Naples yellow for the walls, with pops of a true, bright yellow (this tint named “Cheerful!”)

before and after kitchen colorI’ve rather always regretted how very subtle my choice was for the kitchen— looks barely a color in that West-facing room. Time to make right.before and after kitchen accent colorbefore and after kitchen colorsThis exuberant yellow will appear in two pops, on walls directly opposite one another— in the recessed shelves and on the double pantry doors. Can’t wait to see it up!before and after bathroom color
And in the teeny, tiny bathroom (which has done really well in a nearly-black brown color for 7 years now) shall be updated with a color pulled from a couple of the tchotchkes in there, eg. the bath salts tin— a sort of burnished aqua tone.

I’m hoping that it will make the awful dusty-rose tiles appear more neutral, and disappear in its high-key presence. Distraction is often a key component— a designer’s sleight-of-hand.

Circling back to that red oak tree on the farm, amid snowfall

Beyond the Red Oak v6 from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

I haven’t had time the past two weeks to get much farther with this, but I’m hoping to get back to it on the weekend. Here’s where I left off in my motion tests and atmospheric meanderings.

Focal lengths and depth of field on pencil drawings

pencil snowscape with oak tree

Here are a couple stills from a scene into which I’m working that oak tree drawing and the landscape I’ve been working on. I’m still getting the hang of working with cameras, and messing about with focal lengths and such, to get the depth of field. It’s slow going, but enjoyable.

pencil snowscape with oak tree and fence

A small woods, cloaked in the lonesome air of winter

A Snow Story [in progress] from Elizabeth Daggar on Vimeo.

Here are the bare beginnings. (And more Ravel, as it happens.) For context, see this post and this post.

This winter has conspired to plant seeds for a story

pencil drawing of a forest

I’ve embarked on a project that has decided it wants to be something much larger than I’d planned, which is awfully exciting (to me). What began yesterday as just a few drawings of trees and birds to layer into another snowscape has planted the seeds of a short film, a proper story. The spark has been lighted and no going back!

These are two stills from the scene I worked on today using yesterday’s drawings. I’ll share a sneak peek at some motion soon.

pencil drawing of a forest

After a day where a sudden drop in tempurature causes green leaves to fall like the piano needles from Charlie Brown’s xmas tree

I must quiet my mind.

Sometimes it can be done with reading on the train. And sometimes it needs to be done by formulating, or finding, some clear thing out of the jumble of tangled strings and wires— the ones that formed knots in one’s head during the tumult of the day. 

Continue reading “After a day where a sudden drop in tempurature causes green leaves to fall like the piano needles from Charlie Brown’s xmas tree”

Various and sundry trophies adorned the walls

shadows of taxidermied deer )ink drawing)Day twelve of #Inktober.

Various and sundry hunting trophies adorned the walls of the anteroom. The light from the fireplace made them cast shifting, unsettling shadows onto the walls and ceiling.

I’ve added some process pics after the jump, if you’re interested.

Continue reading “Various and sundry trophies adorned the walls”

Some fun with fashion sketching

fashion sketch in watercolor

A little sketch I did last week; result of watching Project Runway. After inking and applying watercolor, I went in with an opaque white paint marker, in varying degrees of density. It stays wet initially, especially when you press down and get a big blob, so you can blot with cloth to make it more subtle and soft. Really fun working on this little reversed suit design.