Here are 3 drawings I made earlier this month of an ornamental gourd I bought in the countryside. I love the wild shapes of the gourds of autumn. This one is yellow-orange and dark green, but I’ve focused on the shape and sketched it in black on white. I believe that when I was a child my mother lacquered ornamental gourds to preserve them longer at Halloween time.
There’s a young oak tree on one of the streets in my neighbourhood. I’ve brought home 2 sprigs of leaves that I’ve found on the sidewalk on my walks. I love oak leaves! And I’ve done a few drawings of them.
The first two are of a small bunch of leaves that I drew first with a bold pen and, the next day, with a finer line one. I did this to see what changing the tool would do to the rendition. A very different look and feel appeared.
This third sketch is of a larger sprig of leaves.
I’ve been experimenting with drawing more cartoons. That process led me to a small drawing continuing with the theme of dreams that I began in my first cartoon. After having done a number of works that felt too controlled, I made a loose unplanned sketch that felt freer to me. Afterwards, I added colour to the line drawing with pigment markers and some water soluble crayons. I think I’ll work on this theme further. I hear my unfinished linocut on Leonard Cohen’s Sisters of Mercy calling me. Why have you left me and when will you return? I haven’t answered yet, but, meanwhile, here’s the 2 recent drawings.
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Here’s another, and quite different, ink drawing I found in a sketchbook last week as I was reviewing my art work. It’s from 1988, signed under my birth name that I later changed. It looks to me like a science fiction image, with an emphasis on environmental degradation. Also, I was exploring body image and different parts of the self which I have done throughout my life.
These days I seem even more engaged than before in reviewing my art work. I believe this is a life review of sorts since the work spans decades. This week I had a look at my old sketch books. The drawing in this post is a recent one from around 2011. I’m guessing that’s the date because of other sketches I dated in the same book. Again, I had forgotten it was there and am glad to reclaim it. It’s part of a story I was writing that I considered also illustrating, but did not. I’ve been thinking of returning to the story and seeing if I can resurrect it and reshape it more to my liking. Meanwhile, here’s the sketch for you. I made it mostly with Faber-Castell Pitt markers which I find very enjoyable to work with.
I came upon these two sketch/paintings I made in 1987. They’re in watercolour with ink lines. I enjoyed making and, now, viewing these paintings because I made them with a certain amount of freedom. I didn’t sketch the images first, but applied the watercolour and ink directly to the paper. The images turned out less constrained this way and feel, to me, more lively.
A note about my names: you may be able to see that the signatures on my earlier work do not read Lily S. May. Instead, as in these paintings, I signed them with my birth name, Susan Barsel, or initials. Some of my early prints are signed the same way or with two versions of my former married name: Susan Herman and Susan Barsel-Herman. I didn’t formally change my name to Lily S. May until the mid ’90s. So, all these names refer to me, just at different times in my life.