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Antares Rising: Drawing Seasons

Published on: 23 February, 2008


Self-Portrait with Night XI: Graphite, first state of drawing as it looked on 26 March 2007.
Graphite on Fabriano paper, sheet size: 5 5/8 x 12″

My studio hours begin well before sunrise. While sitting at my window in late winter, I can see Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, rise ahead of the sun. Deep red in color, its procession toward the zenith means that spring is coming. When Antares becomes centered in my morning window and finally obscured by foliage I put away my current group of drawings and I won’t pick them up again until the leafless landscape reappears in late November. Self-Portrait with Night XI: Graphite (link shows second state of drawing as it looked on 24 January 2008) is among my current investigations. The drawing was begun in December 2006, was put away for the summer of 2007 and returned to my focus last fall. The images seen above and below represent stages of the drawing almost a year apart. I’m content with slow growth. In this drawing I am learning how to use graphite as a tonal medium rather than as an outline for watercolor as I have used it in the past. Building graphite in layers using a eraser coated in graphite to smear and burnish is unlike anything I have done before. I may finish the work this season or I could put it away for another year. Drawing in cycles asks me to lose something and forget all of the things I was thinking about it. When I rediscover winter drawings after six months of summer I return with new experience. Seeing a drawing after an extended break is a real spark. Like the surprise of finding Antares in the window once again.


Self-Portrait with Night XI: Graphite, third state of drawing as it looked on 22 February 2008. Graphite on Fabriano paper, sheet size: 5 5/8 x 12″

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