Posted on 09/22/2013

Photo taken on September 16, 2013

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This is a three-point perspective exercise. Among other things. Like physical exercise, cognitive ones also leave the brain a bit free to make its independent roamings.

I have had in my head for awhile trying my hand at illustrating some Seamus Heaney poems. A beautiful coming-of-age poem, “Wheels within Wheels”, is the first that started more or less coalescing more than a year ago now. But the skills lagged. Still do. One reason I jumped ahead and took a more deliberate approach to learning Brunnelleschi perspective (a long way to go) is because I knew I couldn’t realize the imagined Wheels image onto paper without it. It isn’t that I am at all interested in hyper-realism. It is a neat trick, for sure. But we do have cameras. It is just that the fling and spit of the poem, the sheer un-flatness of it, the reach, makes demands beyond a plane but isn’t about 3D either.

So I found myself working on this drawing while thoughts and images ended up getting mixed into it. One of which was the result of drawing the building itself and having Godzilla come to mind. And pausing to watch the 1998 version which very much left me feeling flat and still does. That marvelous scene in the trailer and posters of the people inside the museum and Godzilla’s enormous foot pounding down on the pavement outside, well, it just isn’t in the movie. ! Never made it to the movie. That scene, for some reason, for me, was the whole reason for the coolness of the thing. I remember taking the kids to see it and feeling like when you really want something salty and that pretzel or potato chip just doesn’t quite do it. Where’s the salt block versus where’s the beef kinda thing.

In taking that imagical trip along with a detour to abstract expressionism and minimalism and all-over drawing/painting (I think “horror vacui” is the original French term), I learned that a new Godzilla movie will be released in 2014. No matter what, I can’t wait. And, yup, I may end up with that same Where’s the Salt Block? feeling.

I had also acquired a John Muir Laws bird drawing instruction book (this guy was featured this Summer at one point in gruntleme’s Instagram photostream; Laws is sometimes mentioned as being a contemporary Audubon and while his stuff has a freshness Audubon’s doesn’t, I wouldn’t make the comparison at all). In his book he uses a drawing of a Macaw parrot to demonstrate variations in bill flexibility in birds. My Macawzilla drawing is a freehand enlargement of Laws’.

The underlying drawing was done in 3H graphite on a three-point perspective grid and is the building itself later colored with markers, ink, and colored pencil. The Macaw is graphite, markers, ink, and colored pencil. The underlying underlying image is a photograph of leaves strewn on the ground in Autumn taken at the Woodland Park Zoo in late October 2002. Obviously, this came to mind because it is getting to be Fall here in the Pacific Northwest. Dark dark this morning when walking Chloe and chilly enough to need a couple of layers. Cozy when we got back home. Components were scanned and altered in various ways via digital tablet and computer software. The four-panel extruded object at the top with a small version of the parrot pasted into one plane was suggested by an acrylic on canvas painting by Ron Davis called “Bents and Vents and Octangular” in which Davis presents an eight-panel image on a three-point perspective grid. When I was satisfied with my drawing in terms of what could be learned from doing it, I selected various layers and used computer-based chiaroscuro to enhance the sense of depth.

And now I’m ready to see about drawing a mesh sphere.

Don Conner
Don Conner
The skin texture around the Macaw eye is great. And, although ultra realism may not be what you were going for, I think you achieved it.

You may be interested in looking at the art of Joe Tomelleri at who does scientific style illustrations of (you guessed it) fish using color pencil.
4 years ago.
You must have been under the influence of Pendleton when you entered this:). Either that or you seriously are hired to be my handler. Thanks for the website. Beautiful stuff. Encouraging.
4 years ago. Edited 4 years ago.