We recently had our place painted. It involved packing up all our stuff, giving some of it away and moving it and furniture to the centre of rooms so the painters could get to the walls. During that time I drew boxes and disorder. Now that that’s over, it’s enjoyable to sit down and draw a simple paper/papier maché bowl I made many years ago.
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.