Friday, December 28, 2012

Agrippa after Gerome and Bargue

This is the Model from the Charles Bargue drawing set. 

The first step is to block in the schema.  The vertical plum line gives distance right and left, the horizontal plumb lines mark high points top to bottom.  I measure with a knitting needle.
Continues to scrutinize the model and check the copy.  Turn it upside down to see abstract shapes.  
When an accurate copy of the schema is produced, take down the Bargue sketch and replace it with the fully rendered drawing.  It is important to trace the reference lines onto the model.

 Now put in the lines that accurately contain the "dark side" of the drawing. 
Place the edges of the "dark" as  identical as possible.
Once an "exact" copy, in two tones,  has been produced, transfer the edges to the "good paper". 

Now begin to fill in the shadow shapes - once again produce a two tone, light/dark image first.

Keep pushing the edges until they match as exactly as possible.

Once the two tone drawing has been produced one begins to model the darks, reproducing cast and contained shadows.  Turning the image upside-down will make it possible to see errors.  One can work on the various edges, but don't start on values in the light side yet. The lines on the drawing are stretched strings.  That way, once the drawing is finished there will be no marks from the lines.

Carefully measure and push to perfection the forms within the shadows.  The tip of Agrippa's nose was especially fun. Once the darks are finished it is time to move on to the "lights".

Carefully measure and model the tones in the light of the figure.  This adds the three dimensionality of the form.  There is no end to the adjustments and refinements necessary to "copy" the model.

 The "finished" copy.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

More Than I Can Bear

Last summer I made a trip with the Loll Staff to Jackson Hole.  I always try to visit all the galleries I can, and in one I saw a wonderful picture.  It was of a bear standing beside an untended fire.  There was a canoe overturned to one side and three cubs up a tree.  As I looked at the picture, I thought to myself, this is my life.

Let me explain.  All summer I worry about bears and forest fires.  The picture seemed to capture all my worries in a single frame. 

I could not get the picture out of my mind.  I made a sketch of it in my pocketbook, and then in my journal.  As the next Saturday approached, I began to wonder how much that wonderful picture was, and if I might not buy it.  Bryan was taking the crew to town so I gave him careful instructions as to where the gallery was, and what the picture looked like.  I told him to call me with the price.  Sure enough, around noon he called.  He told me that he had found the picture.  I was thinking if it was $3k or less I would buy it, somehow.  Bryan told me he had bad news.  The picture was there, as wonderful as I had said it would be, but it had been sold.  "But," he said, "I would not feel too bad - it sold for $30,000.

Janice told me it was up to me to paint the picture myself.  I determined to make my own version of the painting.  What follows is a more or less step by step progress through to the final watercolor, well final for now.

This is the first sketch in my pocketbook, when I was still dreaming of buying the original.

Here is the effort from my journal.  I have added a tent, instead of a canoe, and a food crate.  As I walk the camp, I bristle every time I see an unattended food crate.  We beg the troops to put everything in their bear box and lock it up. 

Once back in school, I began doodling my dream in my notebooks.

A cub up the tree.
Three cubs and some perspective and value study.

My first effort in watercolor.

I like this one better - Janice told me I had to give it to her.
More bear studies in my day plan book, doodled while I lectured.
I start to add mommy.
 Food box and fire, and the cubs all in place.

A more finished sketch of mom.

First fully developed sketch, about 8" by 11", ready to transfer to the Watercolor paper.  Note, I've added another "pet peeve", the tent is now tied to a living tree.

 Finished first draft in color.  I am experimenting with the washes as well as the composition.
Second try in color.  I've moved the the food box closer to the tent and added an ax, out of the yard!

 Here is the full sized pencil drawing, I have added a fire barrel, tipped over and empty and the garbage it disgorged.  This is also all too common, and a painful sight about camp.
 The back of the drawing is covered with 2B pencil, ready for the transfer to the 300 lb. watercolor paper.

The drawing is transferred, then the lines are retraced in 3H led to make them darker.  Note, I have added an open bear box, complete with styrofoam cooler.  I have masked those highlights I want to remain white. 
Then I began to add the color in washes.  First yellow then blues and greens.   The sky is flooded with blue, purple, red and orange.

 The final work.  Not worth much, but it carries the message I wanted.  I imagine it above the fireplace in the Jed Stringham Memorial Hall.  I will reference it as I go over the rules for ax, bear, and fire precautions. There is so much to worry about at Camp.  It is my life.
 Here is the final framing.  I have surrounded the painting in the patches issued over the last twelve years.  The last twelve Janice and I have spent there since our return from Catalina.  During that time there were also seven "Loll" shoulder patches.  The shoulder patches are, from left to right, top then bottom: 05, 06, 07, 08, 09,  2010 , 2011.  The pocket patches are posted clockwise from 01 - 12.

Monday, November 26, 2012

More Pre-Socratics

(All quotes are from Early Greek Philosophy, by Jonathan Barnes) My introductory commentary is contained in brackets [] before each quote. The quote is followed by a page # from Barnes’ book and the name of the source which Barnes sites given in parentheses (). If the quote is a paraphrase contained in the source it is referenced to as “by” and the name of the source author, if it is a direct quote of the original philosopher it is given as “from” and the authors name.


[Darwin foreshadowed] Further, he says that originally men were born from animals of different kind, because the other animals can soon look after themselves while men alone require a long period of nursing; that is why if they had been like this originally they would hot have survived. Pg. 20 (by Plutarch)

[On the infinite] . . . what is limited is always limited by something, so that there cannot be an [ultimate] limit if one thing must always be limited by another. Pg. 22 (by Aristotle)

[On the infinite] Hence if mass is anywhere, it is everywhere. At the same time, if empty space and place are limitless, body too must be limitless – for with eternal things there is no difference between being possible and being actual. Pg. 23 (by Aristotle)


[Man defined] Alcmaeon first determines the difference between men and animals: he says that men differ from the other animals because they alone understand, whereas the others perceive but do not understand. Pg. 38 (by Theophrastus)


[Nature of truth] And the clear truth no man has seen nor will anyone know concerning the gods and about all the things of which I speak; for even if he should actually manage to say what is the case, nevertheless he himself does not know it; but belief is found over all. Pg. 41 (from Sextus Empiricus)

[Nature of truth] Let these things be believed as similar to truth, Pg. 41 (from Plutarch)

[What is relative] If god had not made yellow honey, they would say that figs are far sweeter. Pg. 41 (from Herodian)

[On learning] Not at first did the gods reveal all things to mortals, but in time, by inquiring, they make better discoveries. Pgs. 41-42 (from Stobaeus)


[On War] War is father of all, king of all: some it has shown as gods, some as men; some it has made slaves, some free. Pg. 50 (from Hippolytus)

[On learning] Much learning does not teach thought. Pg. 53 (from Diogenes Laertius)

[On politics] When they [the citizens of Emphasis] asked him [Heraclitus] to write laws for them, he refused on the grounds that the city had already been mastered by a wicked constitution. He retired into the temple of Artemis and played dice with the children. When the Ephesians stood round him, he said: Why are you staring, you wretches? Isn’t it better to do this than to play politics with you?” pg. 53 (by Diogenes Laertius)

[Infinite abilities of the mind/soul] You will not find the limits of the soul although you travel all the path – so deep is its account. Pg. 54 (from Diogenes Laertius)

[On what makes us human] Thinking is common to all. Pg. 57 (from Stobaeus)

[We do not know] Most do not understand the things they meet with – not even when they have learned them do they know them; but they seem to themselves to do so. Pg. 57 (from Clement)

[On man’s universal ability to recognize Justice] They would not know the name of justice if these things did not exist. Pg. 64 (from Clement)

[On heroes slain in battle] Gods and men honor those slain in battle. Pg. 65 (from Clement)

[On finding the good] . . . those who search for gold, dig over much earth and find a little. Pg. 68 (from Clement)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Presocratic Philosophy

Thales of Miletus –Founder of Natural Philosophy – born 625 BC

Quoted from Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius, as presented in Jonathan Barnes’ Early Greek Philosophy, Penguin Putnan Inc., New York, 2001, pgs.15-17,

The following aphorisms are ascribed to him [Thales].

1. Of existing things, god is the oldest – for he is ungenerated.

2. The world is the most beautiful – for it is god’s making.

3. Space is the greatest – for it includes everything.

4. Mind is the swiftest – for it runs through everything.

5. Necessity is the strongest – for it controls everything.

6. Time is the wisest – for it discovers everything.

7. He said that death is no different from life.  “Then why don’t you die?” someone asked him.  ‘Because death is no different,’ he replied.

8. When someone asked him which came first, night or day, he answered, ‘Night came first – by a day.’

9. When someone asked him whether a man can escape the notice of the gods if he does wrong, he replied: ‘Not even if he thinks of doing wrong.’ 

10. An adulterer asked him if he should swear that he had not committed adultery: he replied, ‘Perjury is no worse than adultery.’

11.  When asked what is difficult, he said, ‘To know yourself’;

12. what is easy, ‘To give advice to someone else’;

13. what most pleasant, ‘Success’;

14. what divine, ‘What has neither beginning nor end’.

15. When asked what was the strangest thing he had seen, he said: ‘An old tyrant.’

16. How can we bear misfortune most easily? – If we see our enemies fairing worse.

17. How can we live best and most justly? – If we do not ourselves do the things we blame others for doing. 

18. Who is happy? – One who has a healthy body, a well-stocked soul and a cultivated nature. 

19. He says that we should remember our friends both present and absent,

20. and that we should not beautify our appearance but be beautiful in our practices.

21. ‘Do not be rich by evil means,’ he says,

22. ‘and let not words set you against those who have had your trust.’

23. ‘Expect from your children the same provision you made for your parents.’

23. [His motto] – Know thyself!


Thursday, November 01, 2012

We Get to Choose

America and the world are at a cross road.  Americans are uniquely blessed and bear the heavy responsibility to choose a course for our people’s future struggle.

I do not believe four more years of President Obama will destroy America or end the world but he has taken the country in the wrong direction and four more years will only make our journey to success more difficult.

Our economy is worse than it was four years ago.  Our debt, aggravated by reckless spending, has greatly increased under Mr. Obama, and his plan is projected to double it.

More Americans are out of work than at any time since the Carter Catastrophe.  Family income is down and more Americans than ever are on food stamps.

Business is under siege, beset by over-regulation and government meddling.

Our national resources are locked up, our trade deficit soaring, and gigantic new entitlements are bankrupting our country and evaporating opportunities of generations yet unborn.

Just as great a danger is the loss of American’s standing in foreign affairs.  Our country is now seen as weak by our enemies and unreliable by our friends.

We are held hostage by Chinese money, Venezuelan Oil, Islamic terror, Iranian atomics, and Russian Ambition.

A Romney Administration is the best hope to right this slide to disaster.  Self-determination, freedom, free-enterprise, and reduced government power will increase individual opportunity and will solve the economic ills.  Mr. Romney will allow America to utilize its resources, stop wasteful spending, lower taxes for all, and strengthen business and personal prosperity and incentive.

Internationally, America can again take the lead economically, technologically, and stand again as the hope of freedom and peace.

It comes down to this.  Mr. Obama is a weak leader who has led us poorly.  Mr. Romney is a proven strong leader who will guide our American journey to a better future.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I have been back in “Civilization” for three weeks. It is as if I have arrived in George Orwell’s 1984. Last week, I listened with disbelief to the Democratic National Convention – Doublethink everywhere. There was John Kerry, who called American Marines risking their lives to liberate Iraq from a mass murder, baby killers, talking about respecting our military. Joe Biden claiming the GM is alive even as they announce they are selling cars at $49,000 loss, when they will never repay the “lone” they have stolen from the taxpayers, and have paid no taxes at all. There was Bill Clinton, a liar from the beginning, claiming that things are better in an America where unemployment has reached levels not approached since the mess created by the Carter administration and were the average pay of our citizens has shrunk $4,000 a year.

Obama’s speech is not worth mentioning.

Orwell’s protagonist, Winston Smith, finds himself in a filthy slop house trying to eat tasteless pinkish – gray stew. He tries to remember the world that once was, the world before the Party and Big Brother made it “better”. He listens as the telescreen proclaims how much improved things are than they were and Winston knows it is a lie.

“As though in confirmation of this, a trumpet call floated from the telescreen just above their heads. However, it was not the proclamation of a military victory [Osama is Dead] this time, but merely an announcement from the ministry of Plenty.”

“’Comrades!’ cried an eager youthful voice. [Bill Clinton, no doubt] ‘Attention, comrades! We have glorious news for you. We have won the battle for production! Returns now completed of the output of all classes of consumption goods show that the standard of living has risen by no less than twenty per cent over the past year. All over Occania [The convention hall and MSNBC] this morning there were irrepressible spontaneous demonstrations when workers marched out of factories and offices and paraded through the streets with banners voicing their gratitude to Big Brother [Barack Obama] for the new, happy life which his wise leadership has bestowed upon us.”

As he sits there contemplating the lies he himself has stuffed into the media relating to consumption goods the voice broadcasts his own fabrications. “It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty – four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal.

The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with the furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grams. Syme, too – in some more complex way, involving doublethink – Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?”

Back from Camp, back in the Obama Nation; I am forced to ask, am I the only one with a memory. Am I the only one who has ever read Orwell? Am I the only one who knows it is all a lie?