Writer’s Block

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What happens to writers once in a while when you sit down to write and nothing happens. Nothing is there. You’ve got writer’s block.

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Life Force

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I lived out in the desert in Santa Fe, NM when I made this piece. Out there, water is life (you can’t live without it), so I named this piece Life Force.

Bridge Deck Aft

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This week Warren shares his creative vision of the island of Ibiza and one of his fellow cruise passengers. Please enjoy this fascinatingly insightful piece.

Bridge Deck Aft

By Waren Cullar

One of the delights of cruising is island hopping in the Mediterranean. We docked at the pristine island of Ibiza, east of Spain. It is renowned for its ancient port, consistent, perfect climate, crystal, white sandy beaches, and the vibes of its cosmopolitan nightlife. It’s referred to as paradise between the blue sky and sea.

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Artist, Model, and Studio

Artist, Model, Studio

This week Warren shares a sketch of himself and his wife Kitty.

Artist, Model, Studio

By Warren Cullar

This drawing is from time immemorial. Every artist at one time paints his model and studio. Picasso is probably the most famous. This is me painting, and my gorgeous model is my wife, Kitty, with her flowing hair and curvaceous body. I’ve employed a very abstract, Picassoesque, approach. Whimsy is added to this drawing with hearts on the wallpaper, flowers on the shirt, and the ever-present cat, “Pickup,” which appears in many of my drawings.

There are three paintings from which to enjoy. This is a three for one, so the eye never tires of enjoying the many facets of this sketch.

Jacob’s History Note:

Curiously, self-portraiture was not common in Europe before the renaissance. Most portraits were of clients rather than the artist himself. Even when self-portraiture started gaining popularity, the artist was often a single character in a larger scene, rather than the subject of the painting.

Self portrait has a longer history in the East, where “scholar portraits” depicting the artist painting or writing contemplatively at a desk, were a traditional genre.

Next week it’s back to travel sketches. Warren will be sharing a sketch drawn near the island of Ibiza, Spain.

 

Tangier, Morocco

Tangier, Morocco

This week we’ll look at Tangier, Morocco, a sun-stained city on the northwest tip of Africa.

Tangier, Morocco

By Warren Cullar

Tangier is a city with its own foreign mystique. By day, it’s a busy, lively city of merchants selling wares and beggars everywhere. By night, it requires visitors to be street-smart as it can be unsafe, but if you’re relaxed, it can be quite intriguing.

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Crowd the Page with Genius

Crowd the Page

The following Sketch Book entry was drawn in Barcelona, Spain in 2000.

Crowd the Page with Genius

By Warren Cullar

Half way in route up the hill to the Gaudi Museum in Barcelona, Spain, we stopped to enjoy a beer and a sandwich Spanish Style, which was “jamon” on bread with a tomato smeared quickly across the bread. We delighted in the hint of tomato and listened to rock and roll as I finished four sketches of Picasso’s work we had seen in a museum housing his early works. Then inspired by Picasso, I drew four of my own pieces. Picasso created prolifically throughout his 92 years, and from his work came rare genius.

If you create, and you create volumes, mountains of art, then every once in a while, you create a masterpiece. The point is to wake up and create.

Jacob’s History Note:

Jamon is a type of cured ham usually made in Spain.

Next week we’ll be taking a look at Tangier, Morocco.

Matisse’s Backs

Matisses Backs

This week we look at Matisse’s Backs, a series of four sculptures designed by the artist which were hosted in the Tate Museum in London at the time of drawing.

Matisse’s Backs

By Warren Cullar

Kitty and I were sitting on a black leather bench in the new Tate Museum in London listening to a tape about Matisse’s bronze sculptures, titled “Four Backs.” It was an awesome experience because I was seeing the majestic backs, drawing them, and listening to an art historian on tape. What a multi-sensory experience!

These larger than life bronze sculptures were produced first in plaster and then, 60 years later, cast in bronze. They were cast when Matisse was 80 though he started them back when he was very young. Each back is a little more abstract as he goes into his later years. As his mind matured, so did his art.

Several days later, we were in England at Stonehenge. My mind superimposed Matisse’s “Four Backs” onto the massive strong pieces of the huge monoliths. My own work in bronze is definitely inspired by these bronze relief sculptures. This is what art is all about: seeing things as they are, but interpreting them in a different way.

Matisse's "Four Backs." Created from left to right in: 1909, 1913, 1916, 1931.

Matisse’s “Four Backs.”
Created from left to right in: 1909, 1913, 1916, 1931.

Jacob’s History Notes:

Matisse was a contemporary of Pablo Picasso and another great artist of the time. He was born in 1869 as the eldest son of a prosperous grain merchant. Unsurprisingly, his father was not happy when Matisse decided to pursue a career as an artist.

Personally, I am fascinated by Matisse’s relationship during the world wars. He himself was largely apolitical and avoided controversy, but both his son and daughter fought in the French Resistance, his daughter even being captured and tortured by the Gestapo before escaping. Several of his students were also involved in the war or ended up as casualties during it. I can hardly imagine the hardship he must have gone through seeing friends and family risk their lives. German and Russian forces were not kind to any artwork they came across, and I suspect that Matisse’s silence was partially a result of trying to protect everything he created.

Next week we’ll be looking at some of Warren’s own drawings, inspired by Picasso’s own works.

Stonehenge

Stonehenge

For the next few weeks we’ll be doing a serious of Sketchbook entries while Warren focuses on being an artist. Jacob has contributed by adding his own history notes when appropriate, providing some background to the images. We hope you enjoy this series of sketches.

Stonehenge

By Warren Cullar

Stonehenge is a colossal mystery. This architectural feat was on my list to see since my freshman year in college. Inspired by Professor Sasser who showed us photos of her standing at the base of several of the wonders of the world, I dreamed of someday seeing such places. I finally saw Stonehenge in May of 2001.

Stonehenge is so awesome. It minimizes man. Around 2500 BC, 82 large, rough-hewn bluestone monoliths were moved from southwestern Wales to design an altar or calendar. It confirms the will and determination of mankind. Anything is possible. Each stone weighs about 5 tons and was placed approximately 6 feet apart. To draw Stonehenge from several angles gave me a great deal of pleasure and inspiration. It is austere, magical, mystical, and mysterious.

Stonehenge, England

Stonehenge, England

Jacob’s History Lesson:

Stonehenge is one of those mysterious sites dating so far back into the mists of time we can’t really be sure when it started. Archaeological evidence suggests it was a burial site as far back as 8000 BC, even before the monument itself was built. The henge itself is a mystery to this day. Theories about its purpose range from the practical – a place of worship, a calendar, or a monument – to the downright outrageous – an alien landing or a relic of Atlantis. We’ll probably never really know why it was built, but we can still marvel how stone-age men with nothing more than flint tools were able to quarry, cut, haul and assemble these enormous stones.

Stonehenge as it might have been at the height of its glory. The stones marked in Blue are all that remains standing today.

Stonehenge as it might have been at the height of its glory. The stones marked in Blue are all that remains standing today.

Next week we’ll be looking at Matisse’s Backs, a collection of sculptures made over Matisse’s lifetime and an inspiration for some of Warren’s sketches.

Ship, Flag, Musicians

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A band of musicians play aboard a cruise ship.

Warren and Kitty are on a two-week cruise. They are in Southhampton, England boarding the new cruise ship Quantum of the Seas for its maiden voyage. You can read about the Quantum in this article. Jacob has been hauling furniture in the depths of Vermont, where cell service is still something coveted and rare. Next week you can read about his experiences helping his grandmother move out of her home of 40 years.

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