Picture of the week 04.02.07

This wasn't intended to be an excruciatingly self-indulgent idea; that part just sort of happened.

Here's how it started. I discovered this really cool stuff called Pastelbord, manufactured
by Ampersand Art. It's 1/8" hardboard, clay and gesso coated, with a marbledust finish, and it
will stand up to just about any technique you try. It's also a little on the pricey side, so I
bought the 3-pack of 5 x 7 panels, which is only like ten bucks, and used them to experiment.

At the same time, I was cleaning some stuff out of the basement, and found a stash of -- well,
we'll call it artwork -- that I had done when I was a little kid, five or so. At first, I got a kick out
of chuckling at the ineptitude of my former self, but the more I looked at some of the pictures,
the more I began to think I was better at some things back then. For example, stupid as it is,
this piece features better composition and brushwork than half the stuff I do now:

So I got the idea, seemed like it'd be fun, to experiment with the Pastelbords by recreating
some of my child's drawings. I copied the above picture and it came out like this:

Regression Pastel, 7" x 5"

Fun, and sort of cute, but it wasn't really honest -- I was doing a take on the original picture, and
it looks like an adult with nothing better to do trying to make himself feel accomplished by doing
a heartless parody of a kid's picture. Which makes it even stupider than the original.

I tried another one, this time trying to hit the same attitude that the original had: without looking
at anything, I just started drawing a picture of a train, trying my best to make it look like what I think
a train looks like, and I got one that I kind of like:

Another Regression Pastel, 7" x 5"

I think this one works. Just so you know, it's a Union Pacific diesel heading across the
New Mexico desert. Because I decided that's what it is, that's why.

Then I tried this one. Same rules -- don't waste any time deciding what to do,
simply draw the thing from memory:

Again with the Regression Pastel, 5" x 7"

But I seem to have been remembering the present-day bottle of Ajax that sits
by the kitchen sink. I think, in this case, the original is way better. Check it out:

It's got a lot more clout. Get that backwards "J" -- very edgy material. And keeping
in mind that this was done about 1960, let me show you how ahead of my time I was:

Upside down, and at a subtle but definite angle, I had typewritten "iuytyhgfriertgyhujhy."
Robert Motherwell never saw the day. But then, for my money, Motherwell never saw much at all.
I've always thought of him as the P. Buckley Moss of abstract expressionism.

By the way, it turns out that neither of my representations of a Joy bottle were accurate.
Remember these?

At this point, I (like you right now, no doubt) was ready to conclude this little exercise,
only I stumbled across this old picture:

And I realized there was no way I could leave off here, without doing an outer space picture,
so I was obligated to amend one of my earlier attempts:

Regression with Rocket Plane Pastel, 7" x 5"

Okay, I'll leave you alone now. See you next week. In the meantime, here's a link that will
show you how you can make your very own outer space painting. From Cornell, where they
haven't yet discovered how to spell "tempera" -- but then, Cornell never did claim to be one of
your big art schools. What I found interesting, though, is the brand of detergent they specify.

Previously on Picture of the Week:

03.19.07: Regression
03.12.07: She's Ready

02.26.07: Cold as Hell
02.12.07: The Three Faces of Suzanne

02.05.07: Progress, of a Sort
01.22.07: What I Painted
01.15.07: Art Lesson

01.08.07: Mountcastle Drive
01.01.07: Resolution
12.24.06: Christmas Eve
12.18.06: Wintering
12.11.06: By Way of Apology
12.04.06: Rodney Hits the Floor
11.27.06: Gondola Car and Busy Ball
11.20.06: Sketch for The Remains
11.13.06: Work in Progress: Lawn Deer

11.06.06: Two Studies for VW

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