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I'm Keeping' on the Sunny Side

Good Morning! I was thinking about posting a reprise of an old post about PINK, to keep the Barbie vibe going; I understand that in London they've painted all the red telephone booths pink and the great Ferris wheel has pink lights in honor of Her Plasticness but I had a better idea--you could say the Sun came up!

You know I have a granddaughter named Sunny, right? I wanted to do a drawing for her and what else could I start with?

Preliminary drawing of The Sun

The Sun and sunflowers--not very original but she's two and a half--to her everything's new and it's her name!

preliminary unfinished drawing of the sun and sunflowers

Filling in the sky I see that it looks like the way I draw water, but that's OK. I added Batchelor Buttons beneath the Sunflowers and I like the way the blue makes the yellow pop. I'm not sure how to handle the transition from flowers to sky so I won't think about it. Remember Mickey Rivers; "I don't worry about what I can control because if I can control it why worry?" And I'm in control!

Sun, sunflowers, blue sky

I used some poetic license with the Batchelor Button leaves; in reality they're kind of spiky so I gave them compound leaves like my beloved Honey Locust and painted them light green or vert clair to stand out against the darker grasses. I asked Sam, Sunny's Dad, what are her favorite animals so I could add a friend, and he said, "Anything that flies!" I thought he'd say fish, because of this shot of her at the Chicago Zoo. I hear she stood looking for an hour.

A little girl looking at fish in an aquarium

But a fish in the sky might be confusing so I started on my personal favorite, the Pelican and just to keep it all in the family, I used this beautiful shot by my brother Rob as a model. I never heard of Pelicans in Vermont but the camera doesn't lie.

photograph of a white Pelican in flight

It was all going along nicely when disaster struck. I had been filling in around the sunflowers with dots of Process Cyan, as a transition to the sky, using a pen with a large tip that carries a lot of ink that sits precariously on the paper until it dries. the best thing to do is just go away and don't touch it until it dries hours later. But no, I was eager and I smeared it. Did I just say I was in control? I'm happy to say this almost never happens, rather I almost never make this mistake but here it is. Did I cry? Not quite.

Sun, Sunflowers, Pelican

I fretted and thought about a cover-up with ink but haven't I heard that the cover-up is worse than the crime? I made new Sunflowers and so declare this drawing a collage.

a work table with sunflowers

All better and almost finished! I just have to write Sunny Mari in the banner.

I was hesitant in starting the Pelican but I'm happy with him; in the photo his wing is solid black but I thought that would be too strong for the whole piece so I used a very fine point pen with both black and gray ink.

pen & Ink Drawing of a pelican

So that's been my week. I'll probably keep picking at this, filling in more sky and greenery. It's now Thursday morning--if I finish before tonight, I'll add it so you can see it. But I'm going to be careful with the ink.

I'm eager to frame it and send it off to Sunny, but I also like to put a piece away and look at it with fresh eyes after a while. Once it's framed I'll find all sorts of mistakes and things that need attention if not fixing. I once heard someone say, "the secret to getting good art out of kids is knowing when to take it away from them." that goes for all of us.

I repeated that to the playwright John Guare and later heard it in his play, Six Degrees of Separation. When your writer friends get a faraway look in the middle of a conversation and you later read your own words in their work it's the muse telling you to get to work.

completed sun and sunflowers

I thought this would be the final version but now I think I need to give the banner a background tone so it doesn't fight with the Pelican. There's always something.

I haven't finished with Barbie and tonight (Thursday) we're going to see Oppenheimer so next week I may have something to say about Barbenheimer!

August 17, 2023

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