The Leaves are on the ground in Eastern Pennsylvania as we begin to turn our thoughts to Winter and our interiors.
To Autumn by William Blake
O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.
'The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.
'The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.
Inspired by a trip to the New York Botanical Gardens Orchid show, and Julie's amazing photos, I began drawing orchids on pieces of Birch bark that I'd peeled off trees a few weeks ago. An unlikely medium, though bark after all is a cousin to processed paper and provides a natural texture that makes every drawing look good.
This variety of Orchid is called a Slipper Orchid for it's distinctive pouch that resembles a slipper.
As is the nature of topical work, often assignments for the same subject flood in at once. Here are three different quickie illos on the same theme. Apologies to all the inhabitants of Drawgerland for my MIA. Good to be back.
Along with my son, Dylan, and his girlfriend, Sam, we traversed four state lines to spend the Fourth of July with Randy & Leann Enos at their home/studio/horse farm in Connecticut.
Here, Randy is proudly displaying the catch of the day. It's not uncommon for Randy to follow a horse, bucket outstretched , as it relieves itself... in an effort to catch poop midair before it spoils the immaculately kept arena. Meanwhile, Dylan & Sam get acquainted with various parts of a horse's anatomy.
After a few quick lessons by consummate riding instructor, Leann, Sam was galloping off on her own.
All creatures great and small, are welcomed at the Enos ranch.
Randy & Bri (Musey) strut arm & arm to the house to prepare a sumptuous lunch, followed by a visit to Randy's subteranean studio. The walls are a visual feast and everywhere there is evidence of the rich life Randy lives through his art, family, friends, various collections and momentos from his long, successful career.
THE BLOCK WALL: The wall leading to the studio is lined with Randy's lino blocks. Many of these are discarded and never make to the wall, which i suggested to Randy ...might be considered a crime by most of us. I managed to wrestle this gorgeous original block from Randy, somewhere in between the flat file and the trash bin. I am mesmerized by the mandala like quality of it.
After frolicking on the Westport beach for awhile, we enjoyed each other's conversation over dinner at a local Enos haunt. There is no fireworks display that can compare with the colorful, charismatic, gracious qualities of Randy and Leann Enos.
There's been little time to blog lately because the backdrop time of year has rolled around again. My daughter is the lead in this year's high school production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie". So i get to do the scenery. This year, I followed the ideas & drawings of my friend (and muralist) James Gloria. Together with a third friend, we finished and hung the first of a series of curtains and props. Sorry...gotta go. There's another 48 foot curtain to paint tonight.
Painting on the floor presents a number of challenges. We held our breath when the curtain was hung for fear that the perspective was skewed.
Every Christmas Eve, we host a dinner for friends and family. I create place settings with a theme. These are always cut-outs with everyone in attendance photoshoped into the image. This year, the theme is "The Gothard Circus". I used a 1920's Diixie Cup Circus propmotional set that we picked up years ago, for the basis of the circus. It's a 30 piece set with extraordinary illustrations (artist unknown). Here are the results. Of course, I am the ringleader.
My son, Dylan, always ends up lookin good.
Daughter, Anna, riding some duck - ostrich hybrid.
A while back, there was a flurry of Drawgers posting pics of their studios. I missed that boat, but am taking the time now to give the tour.
My studio is located about 100ft. diagonally behind our house. It has a long unlikely history in it's 100 years of existence. First it was built as a chicken coup and later converted into an auto fixit shop. Then in the 60's, it was a wood shop. When we took over, I gutted it and put the 2 large windows and skylight in for light. The only regret is that I did not install the windows on the pool side. It's a comfortable, functioning environment.
A view of the house from the studio.
View of studio's entrance and brooklyn traffic light.
Summer view from the hill, of pool, corner of studio and house beyond.
A short clip from the studio, prepared for a St. John's Univ. podcast can be viewed at: http://www.drawger.com/dgart/gothardwebclip.mov
I learned just how anticipated are artists' holiday cards one year, when instead of creating a new image, I sent a standard card around. The reaction was strong and acrimonious. There's something about this season that allows for a chance to do something expressive and emotive. I started a new show on this theme here at drawger link and hope you will all make contributions to it.
As per the excellent suggestions...the flopped reindeer.
A tornado ripped through the woods and down our road Friday night, leaving trees toppled and snapped in half, roofing torn off and sheds, trailers and barns knocked off their foundations, porches ripped frome homes, debris everywhere. We were 40 miles north of home, at our son's opening season basketball game (they defeated a heavily favored team) when we received a phone call from a friend in the fire department saying there was a report that a tornado leveled our next door neighbors house. Launched into an immediate panic, we managed to verify the report to be false. The tornado did in fact strike down the road further. For a brief while, my head swam of images of our elderly widow neighbor up in a tree, our pool filled with building material, and all our magnificent pine trees lying on their side. The following are photos we took of our road early the next morning (glorious clear aftermath). Neighbors gave us the classic description of a deafening sound of an approaching freight train and terrifying cracks of trees falling all around them. You can follow the path it took as it cleared a perfect swath through the woods. We felt it disrespectful to take pics of damaged homes, but did record some of the destruction to nature.
I balked at the fax machine when it first made the scene, but it allowed me to choose where I make my home and studio. I resisted the computer as well, but with it's introduction, I was able to juggle more than one deadline a day. In the last few years, I've known that the solution to catching jobs on the fly...is getting a blackberry. But do I wanna be one of these guys you see pacing on subway platforms, frantically sending & receiving emails, a slave to a 3 x 4" device? A "crackberry", as one drawger aptly put it.
Well folks, I'm here to testify. I've been paranoid about leaving the studio during the day, as I've missed a number of jobs in the past that land via email. Often my clients don't follow up with a cell call, probably because at the point of contact, only a few hours remain to complete the job. On to the next iller. Yesterday, I purchased the crackberry from a mall kiosk where they patiently got it up & running quickly. Exiting the mall (always a relief) my berry goes off with an incoming quick turnaround job. A job I would've missed since I'd planned to run errands afterwards. The job fee was exactly equal to the sum of a year's worth of blackberry service payments. Needless to say, I hightailed it back to the studio.
No, that's not a little person's hand. It's just a big freakin tomato!!
What has this to do with art? I dunno, but it's my creation, and it's big and beautiful, and heart shaped, and colorful, and juicy, and tasty, and it was grown with tender lovin care. And I've been waitin on this since the first frost. Every day I check the progress of the color red as it slowy transforms from green on my windowsill. Today, my lunch was ceremonial as I sliced a wedge so big, it dwarfed my burger. So if you are among those that have little interest in some other guys tomatoes, I say.....it's the simple rewards in life that make MY day.
For the record, The NYTimes is great for starting campfires (especially the biz & real estate sections). Firstly, because there is SO much of it in the Sunday edition. And then there is ALL that bad news. So I reached for it last night as we prepared for some serious marshmellow meltin. Just as the fire caught the smaller kindling, I noticed an Enos about to toast. Realizing the moral and aesthetic crime about to take place, I thrust my arm into the burning pyramid of twigs, risking third degree burns, and saved this beautiful art. Well, slight exageration, but I can only hope that someone might return the favor some day and retrieve my work from the bottom of a bird cage or litter box. Sigh.
Nice work Randy!
Confession: I've always loved the ghostly B&W quality of x-ray's. I usually manage to convince doctors to let me have them. This is an x-ray of my greyhound's pelvis, taken this morning, after she took a nasty spill (is ok now). My obsession started long before seeing "The Man with X-Ray Eyes" with Ray Milland ( remember the last line in the film?..."if thine eyes offend thee, pluck them out"). I was the kid (sucker) that sent away for the x-ray glasses from the comic book's back cover. Once on, I really believed my eyes were penetrating women's clothing...was an imaginative adolescent. The orbs of light are not the chi or energy flowing through my canine....it's the trees behind the window where the pic was taken.
I suppose I could let you discover the amazing accomplishments of fellow Drawger Jos. A. Smith on your own, but then again, I'm happy to share my best kept secrets. Generally speaking, I'm not much for the "how to" or "guide" genre of books. Mainly because I think it better to learn such things through trial and error, and...with all the great works of literature still waiting for me to discover them, I have felt it best to adhere to my reading list. But, there is an exceptional book out there researched and written by Joseph, that is certainly worth reading. I learned a great deal about materials and their applications/backgrounds, and great artists works employing them. There is a good sampling of Joe's work throughout.
I make a regular habit of walking in our gardens w/camera in hand, during the summer months. Nancy inspired me to post this lucky pic (from last summer) of a dragonfly showing off it's ability to blend with the environment, choosing to light on a plant of the same color scheme.
Haven't made rubber stamps in years and almost forgot how much fun they are. Was inspired by the discussion here...so I sent this little critter off to be etched in rubber and now he is multiplying all over my studio.