After all the fuss and bother – lost emails, language barriers, and impossibility to communicate – the spirit of art and urban sketching prevailed. “Matite in Viaggio” exhibition opened in Venice Itally yesterday, October 10, 2014. Five of my drawings are showing there!
Here they are in the covered exhibition table – photo on the left. And here they are in the exhibition catalog along with my b&w photo and what seems to be a blurb of text – photo on the right. I wish I remembered what I wrote, and can only hope it is not too embarrassing.
And I almost missed this whole excitement because I could not go, which sucked. But a friend was there and took these photos ( photos © NotNot Tana Luc). Thanks, Luc!!
I have not drawn a graphite portrait in some time, and so was very pleased when a far away friend wanted a portrait of his sister for her birthday. He wanted me to draw it so he would include it in a movie he was making as a birthday present for her. What a thoughtful thing to do!
Anyway, here’s the portrait
I forgot how pleasant it is draw in graphite and how relaxing – just values, no color.
The bottom line – I want a brother like that!!
8″ x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) – oil on gessobord – commission
This was one of those very rare paintings that practically painted itself. It happens sometimes, not too often, and I wonder what is the reason for this. This is the second painting that did this: I am working on it… mixing and painting…, and suddenly it informs me – I think I am done, thanks! 🙂
I absolutely love my patron for whom this is painted. C.B. contacted me through my online gallery and basically said some variation of the following: I like your style, why won’t you paint something you like and I will buy it. I nearly fainted – the best art patron in the world!
Painting this was smooth and logical and presented very few problems. I did have a little bit of a fuss with strawberries – I did not nail the color right away, and the texture was a challenge. It was an interesting problem to paint graphite and pen drawing in oil. I had fun with that.
The only difficulty I had was coming up with a title. Polling family members yielded several possibles, none of which had a WOW factor. I did a crowd-sourcing thing on Facebook (again), and what a great idea it was – I got a dozen excellent titles. Combining ideas from 3 or 4 different people I came up with this – What I Drew Last Summer.
And here’s the sketch that got painted in this composition. I drew this in cafe Metropolis while drinking tea and sketching with my friend Don Colley.
It is too dark to paint in the evenings… I gave up on painting in artificial light because when I look at what I painted in the morning the color temperature always needs to be corrected. So I thought of getting back into sketching during these long and dark winter evenings. I haven’t done any drawing, except drawing for a painting, since I finished The Sketchbook Project.
Just sketching – for the sake of the process – without being too attached to the result – is very satisfying. I keep my timing to an hour or less, and any piece of old junk is a perfect subject. I am trying different materials – micron pen, conte, pastels. I am thinking of getting a fountain pen, have always been curious about drawing with a fountain pen. If you have a favorite model – please share.
It is finished. Not another stage that is finished, but the entire book is completely, wholly, absolutely finished! And gone. In the mail to Art House Library, Brooklyn, NY.
Here are the front and back covers that I have just made:
And here’s my wonderful UPS man holding it:
I am exhilarated, sad and relieved. What a ride it was!
I am finishing up the book. Again. I already finished it in the last post having drawn the last portrait. Then I finished it up the second time by going over every page, cleaning up, restoring lost contrast, applying fixatif, and in some cases doing some serious revamping. Like I completely changed the original self portrait on the intro page to this one. Several other earlier portraits got changed fairly dramatically as well. Then I finished the book for the third time writing titles for each portrait, signing and dating everything. I have significantly underestimated the amount of finishing work I had to do. Besides I am a little tired of the whole thing by now – it is time to really finish it one of these days. Now the only thing left to do is the cover. I hope to have the book sent off to the Art House by the end of the week.
Meet my husband Lou!
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for my husband. There would be no project, no 40 portraits, no sketchbook. For four and a half months my husband supported me, cheers me on, left me alone, reminded me to bring my camera when we went someplace, admired my half-finished productions, and was saintly patient.
He shopped for groceries and cooked chicken korma, and I drew.
He cleaned bathrooms, and I drew.
Laundry would only get done when we literally ran out of things to wear, and I drew.
Dust-bunnies grew bigger than the cat, and I drew.
General life was postponed until after the sun-down so I could draw.
I could speak of nothing else, but references, bone structures, face modeling, expressions, skin tone, paper quality and lack of daylight – and he listened.
This was very much a team effort. He even wrote my artist’s bio for me to accompany the sketchbook. So it is only fair that his name should appear in the book. I dedicate this book to Lou, my husband. I love you!
And so, boys and girls, this is the last page, #40 of 40. The project is complete.
Oh, there are still a few things: the cover, the table of contents, cleaning smudges, restoring contrast on several pages, applying fixative… but all this is post-production.
I was making up a missed class in George’s Drawing Workshop and was there on Monday which is not my regular day. That’s when I met Tim, another student. The moment I saw the amazing planes and bone structure of his head and face, the Burne Hogarth’s drama of his posture I knew I had to draw him.
Tim kindly agreed to be photographed. As I was seating him at his drawing horse (Tim is too tall for me to photograph him standing) I heard commotion, giggles and noise behind me, and George was calling “Be careful, Alex! Be careful!” I only had about 10 minutes between classes and wasn’t going to get distracted to figure out what the ruckus was about. So I proceeded with taking pictures. Then the class started again, and I never figured out the mystery… Although I have some ideas.
#39 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
In other news…
This blog was named among the top 50 Drawing Blogs by the Guide to Art Schools – 50 Best Drawing Blogs list. Pencil Scribbles is number 3! Right after Rob Carey’s Kunst-by-Rob – Rob is an inspiration and a friend/blogger. The write-up they did on me is embarrassingly nice:
Pencil Scribbles: This self-taught artist started drawing in 2009 and is already inspiring with her realistic, detailed pencil portraits. Zonis already achieves in her work what the true expressive artist strives for: the subject in all its glory infused with a little bit of herself.
- Our favorite post! Geb 1-27-10
I am surprised and honored. How did they possibly find me in my backwater of the blogosphere? Who knows, but they did. And I can now display this badge
My father pointed out to me that I have more men than women in my book. So I set out to look for women to draw. Where can I find a diverse group of women sympathetic to my cause? In the WomanMade Gallery, of course! The WomanMade Gallery was founded by Beate Minkowsky in 1992 to promote and support women artists. Once a month the gallery hosts an art group, called aptly Her Group, where women artists can get together, show and share their art, and talk. I even facilitated this group for about a year in 2002. That’s where I headed.
Just as I expected, my sisters in art showed me great support and understanding, I got an overarching permission to shoot away as much as I wanted. The meeting yielded a lot of good references.
Henny DuBois is an art photographer. She makes photo collages surrealistic in nature and exquisite in execution. Photographing a photographer is a challenge, I could see Henny calculating my shot – note the way she looks at me. In the split second before the shutter went off she had probably assessed light conditions, angles, shutter speed, aperture and depth and found them questionable. And I agree – the light, the staging, the quality of the camera, the photographer’s skills – all of that was far from optimal. But the expression was priceless.
#38 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
Dan is Shelly’s friend and schoolmate. Dan is a third year student in Loyola University, he majors in Computer Science and plays classical violin. To put it shortly, everybody knows – Dan is brilliant. And being a sweetheart that he is, he agrees. “I has brilliance,” he stated in reply to my daughter on Facebook.
#37 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook