Una Esquina

Una Esquina – Watercolor – 9 x 12 inches.

El Barrio del Carmen is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Valencia. Until recently, it was also one of the most decrepit. Like many other neighborhoods in many other cities, it underwent a period of gentrification in which families were evicted, buildings demolished and new structures built. New homes emerged out of the ruins, but often the new buildings were too expensive for the former inhabitants of the neighborhood to live in.

What hasn’t changed is that young girls still care for their younger siblings, even though no one can protect either of them from “urban renewal.”

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Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne – Watercolor – 8 x 11 inches.

Although I’m normally not attracted to “picturesque” subjects, like brilliant sunsets or cozy hamlets cradled in mountain valleys, this sight in Scotland of clouds and sheep and acres of blues and greens was irresistible.

The body of water is Loch Fyne, about 80 kilometers west of Glasgow. The clouds and shadow-shapes were moving so fast that I had to invent and improvise somewhat, but sheep move slowly so they were easier to render. If the sketch looks like it was fun to paint, that is true, because during the hour it took to complete it, I was humming J.S. Bach’s Cantata No. 28: “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

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Instagram Post: January 15, 2019 at 11:36AM

Fallen Willow – Watercolor – 8 x 12 inches

Unlike many artists, I consider sketchbooks to be indispensable. True, a smartphone will give you a fairly accurate image of something — as accurate as a machine with no brain and only one eye can get. But actually drawing something, no matter how innocuous it may seem, is important because drawing requires that we slow down, stop, relax, and spend some time getting acquainted with some wonders of the world.

The willow was attractive because we usually encounter trees standing straight up, not collapsed into a lake. The shapes were complicated and the reflections needed to be addressed: a complex subject. But if it’s not a challenge, what’s the point?
Sometimes I feel that I really don’t know much about anything unless I can draw it. After spending a couple of hours drawing the willow, I can’t say that I understood it. But it was a wonderful teacher, because it made me pay attention.

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