Little Sparks

octobershellrummel2

It’s a sleepy, quiet, solitary day of painting back in my studio.  I am paying close attention to those little sparks within…I find I often come back to drawing/painting figurative works. I am drawn to faces, necks, hair and lips. I don’t always get the lines or the proportion right, but there is something familiar and pleasing just in the trying. I do often use photographs for reference but more often than not, at some point in the process I veer far off reference point and just let my hand and imagination lead the way. Always an element of organic abstraction… intricate detailing…watery colors, controlled… and yet, I do try to let watercolors just be watercolors and do their thing, too. It’s the sweetest dance between ink and water and although she doesn’t look like me, she becomes a true portrait of me at my creative happiest…

In this moment, I am fulfilled.

Original Ink and watercolor painting… ©Michelle Rummel / Shellartistree LLC  / Shellrummel.com

Stardust

shellrummelfairy

One of my fondest childhood memories brings me back to time spent getting lost in the pages of a set of old hardcover books that sat upon my grandfather’s bookshelf.

My grandfather was a serious, stoic man… hardened by the life he led…almost always gruff and slow to smile. I was often fearful of him; his voice stern and his words, sharp. Our paths crossed very little,  except when I would get up the nerve to ask permission to enter his library and look through his collections of books.

His library was sacred space. A man of little means, he deeply valued his books and he spent his lifetime amassing a formidable collection. I was drawn to the space and learned early on that this was the way to his heart…he always allowed me to enter and choose a pile of books to quietly sit and sift through.  He had one particular collection that always caught my eye…There were about 20 books. They were big, heavy, dusty…with cobalt blue hardcovers, each containing pages and pages of stardust swept stories of far off places;  fairies in patterned petaled dresses and beautiful gossamer draped forest nymphs dripping with flowers and ocean waves tumbling with starfish and and seashells covered with glitter and always, always there were the most glorious mermaids with long flowing hair, it seemed. The illustrations were simply magical and they must have struck a deep chord with me as I sometimes catch myself adding, to the art I create all these years later, intricately detailed elements, not unlike those from the pages of those magical books .

This quick sketch from yesterday began, inspired by a photograph of a dancer that floated past me in the stream. As is my way for figurative sketches, I used the photo as a quick visual reference for shape but allowed my imagination and the free flow of ink to fill in the rest of the details. In the end, there is a joyful, illustrative quality that shines through in the lines of her … It brings me back and there is just something so lovely about that, I think ~