Unnamed #440

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#440 Unnamed
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A dozen images follow that I will leave “Unnamed” for now, I might name some or others might find a name somehow.

I am interested in naming. Sometimes I do it more in the sense of “working titles”, to save the file & make it easier to find. Not that is not the same as giving it a name, and I will have no compunction about retrospectively naming images. Not ones that are already in an edition though.


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Click to go to larger Bill image

#437 Bill
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Another in my series from the Kill Bill movie.

It seems fun to do images from movies, I was tempted to do some from “Taxi Driver” which I saw for the first time & quite enjoyed, but wanted to return to the Kill Bill series for sake of fullness & completion (loaded words I notice as I write this … as will be evident in a post still to come – see image #450)

As I post this, but days after I sketched this sketch, I am reading Matthew Collings “This is Modern Art”, an entry about Elizabeth Peyton. She paints images of “The Stars” she says:

I like people who are glamorous because they’re wilful & talented & they can make beautiful things. I think that is what gives them a very special beauty.”

In so far as I do “stars” both from the movies & artists (as does Elizabeth Peyton) there is some agreement with her, but for me it is more about “Truth” than beauty. By the time the image reaches Thousand Sketches it has been in the hands of all the people you see on the credits of the movie, it is a social collaboration, and then I take a picture, and then I select an image from the 100s I take, and then I sketch & delete & select again. I think this is a form of mythologising, of distilling, of searching for the archetypal.


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Thumbnails for March 2007

I have updated the Thumbnails link on the right – they are now all there in bunches of 100. Have look: Thumbnails 000 – 099 and each page has links to the others.

And what follows are the sketches I did in March, I’ll post up this months when the month is done. I am pleased with the months efforts! At that rate I will not complete in one year, but I have the sabbatical coming up!

yBas, Stuckist, Remodern, amodern, Tracey Emin

Remodernist Manifesto

Good stuff, but I still don’t relate.


Early on in this blog a friend thought this project was ‘amodern’, I prefer that to remodern, post modern, stuckist…


At the origin of Stuckism (in that it is a reaction to her art & calling her ex stuck) is Tracey Emin who is famous for stuff like the unmade bed. Ok, sounds like bullshit, but I can see it in the larger context of her art which takes autobiographical art, (“naked blogging” as I do here to a very mild degree) to the ultimate edge. She exhibits her life, her bed mates names, her underwear, her contraception coil. I think she has some guts, and she does follow through on a concept.

Images, links follow.

Continue reading “yBas, Stuckist, Remodern, amodern, Tracey Emin”

Pastel Figures

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#434 Pastel Figures
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Pastel because I clicked on the pastels. Colour black. You can see the way pastel shows up on different “paper”, yes bits are on different paper, virtually possible.

I think the influence here is listening to Bob Dylan’s Theme Hour XMRario show.

It is the last sentence that qualifies this as a sketchblog post.


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Pelican in Flight

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#427 Pelican in Flight
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The abstract emergence is interrupted by a sketchblog item. This is from the time in Australia, by the beach in Narrabeen travelling with Josh & Amy. More from that time coming up. A journal and a blog about our trip, frustratingly delayed. And even as I write there are sketches of the mountain brewing. Mt. Lyford is glowing outside as I write I I want to capture those moods.

I have added the Sketchblog Category, and will update the whole blog retrospectively. There, done, I now have a sketchblog for 2006-7 year of the sketch. What qualifies posts for this category? They reflect my life as I sketch it, outer life & inner life. Hmmm, they all do that… perhaps it is to do with my purpose, these are a journal of travels, even in my own circles.


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Hidden, and notes about process & digital sketching

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#423 Hidden
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I have been reluctant to post these, scary.

I began the abstract sketches in the next bunch while exploring settings in Corel Painter X, so they come somewhat unbidden, yet I am more interested in what comes than the techniques I am using. I do learn, and will soon have a few more favourite “brushes” and “papers” and “media”. I want to honour what simply emerges.

Digital art can have such high production values, focussed on technique and rendering and illustration, especially of scifi & fantasy that the format has a look that Kate called stilted, that was the word I was looking for but found it hard to find as technique and skill are often high, and admirable. I’ll post up some explorations of digital art by others that I like, that’d be good!

For now here are my scratchy sketches. Sketches are a slight, light step to something else, their life is seen in the context of their journey.


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Lantana – sketchblogging, inner stirrings, paint & inspiration

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#416 Lantana
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I think that is what is is called, it is among these that the body is found in the movie Lantana (Great Movie)

This is the last one from the Sydney trip in this batch, we now move on to horses a week later in New Zealand – that is the trouble with mt journalling here – I can’t just post up as I go, just too busy. So the journal is all out of chronological order.

Never mind. Even if the chronology is messy there is are journeys running through this year of the sketch:

  • Lots in New Zealand & Christchurch
  • Some trips to Wellington
  • Christmas I did a real sketch trip to Aoraki – Mt. Cook, this was a good warmup to more travel sketching
  • Then Napier, but just did not manage to sketch much at all – too much NZAP Conference work.
  • Australia for a week, late March 2007, beaches, bush, cityscapes, flowers & wildlife – more to catch up on.


The sketchblogging is important to me, I like it & will keep going with it post TS.

The recent line & wash suits that – a sort of sketchbook style.

It will stand me in good stead as I go to San Francisco and New York in July, August.


I feel something new coming up though. More focus on something within combined with more explorations of paint, digital paint.

What follows are a few samples of the sort of painting by others I am enjoying . Inspiration – other people’s work follows:

Continue reading “Lantana – sketchblogging, inner stirrings, paint & inspiration”

Tent, Tablet PC, and a project!

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#409 Tent
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It is not really that comfortable or that easy to sketch on a Tablet while camping. But I did a bit! What I did have is power to the site, wireless access and shade so I could see the screen (almost adequately).

However I need a desk! One of the hardest things to find on the go is a good desk.

I did find a nice little gazebo with a good table in it, but no power, and too bright.


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Hibiscus – and a note on Journaling

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#406 Hibiscus
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It is almost a week since we were in Narrabeen on the coast just above Sydney when I began this sketch & the next few. Which is a pity as I feel like Journaling the trip, but it is too late, I am back in New Zealand and back at work.

I have wondered what will become of my interest in sketching & art once the 1000 are done. Well here is one thing that is almost certain, I will start a Sketchblog, a sketch journal. It has begun here in a way, but it will have a different life outside of this project.


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Opera House & travel notes

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#404 Opera House
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A hot hazy day with little colour on the harbour or in the sky but the sails of the Opera house stood out. I love this building. I watched it being built in the ’60s, a real ’50s building, everything had fins & looked ‘futuristic’. On my last night in Sydney, before I moved to New Zealand, group of us hopped over the fence one moonlit night & climbed to the top of the main sail, A night to remember.


Alas, sketched three days ago! Too busy living life to sketch. I am getting further behind, but have plenty of inspiration. We had a good day on the beaches yesterday & today we are with a friend in the Blue Mountains. Stopped in Lane Cove national park on the way. lots of photos of bush, birds & lizards.


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All over the place

I have not posted sketches for a while. I have some stored up, not all that pleased with them, but I have been learning a lot. Learning to use Corel Painter X, it is quite hard but I love mastering little things one step at a time.

But that is not the main thing I am getting from this pause. I am looking at what I am doing.

I am all over the place.

On the one hand that is a challenge; get focussed, narrow down, build on what I have, sort, select and deepen themes.

On the other hand it is just right. I am all over the place. Not really a Kiwi, not really an Australian, not really Dutch. And I have just given up a psychological writing focus (that was a bit messy but needed attention) for this art project. Thousand Sketches is throwing everything I am doing into turmoil. On many levels I am all over the place. I am going all over the place too: Sydney, San Francisco, New York. That means there is congruity and authenticity and the project is working as a mirror. Just as it should.

Simply keep sketching. All over the place. No judgment, no criticism, just keep going. Don’t worry. Trust.

Diversity, eclecticism and surprises are OK.

Next step: Post up the doodles etc from the last week or two. Then I’ll write some more.

I also have some podcasts from Lenswork Publishing I want to link to, they have been quite inspiring.

Forming, becoming & docking slowly into the landing site

Here is a quote from “Tarzan Presley” by Nigel Cox – enjoying it right now. Page 54:

Edgar Rice Burroughs once remarked, with reference to Tarzan, that a new thought was like rain – you can sense it’s on the way.

I’ve wondered about this. I think I know what he meant.
You grasp something, and your whole head lights up, it’s like your brain being born again. But then, if you reflect, you see that you had been aware of this possibility, this new arrangement of the facts of the world, and had cleared a space for it in your thinking. Like a mighty space craft, dewy from its long voyage across the dark, it docks slowly – shudders a little as it fits perfectly nto the landing site. As you study it you see that it’s been a long time oming.

I thought of of this project of course. The image of the spaceship fits. I like “long voyage across the dark”. It is taking me places and it is a big thing with its own momentum and monumentum!

The idea of “monumental” is strong in the writing & work of Louis Kahn, architect, whose book I was reading at the start of Thousand Sketches. I would love to see some of his buildings & may do so. I have been looking on the Net & sketching from a photo I did not take, breaking my rule. Monumental for Kahn means that it clearly speaks of what it is, a school is a worthy addition to the many schools that make up our notion of school, it is a strong statement in that conversation. These are my words to say how I think of monumental, but I think I get Kahn when he speaks.

My desire is that this project speaks like that in some way. My fear is that it does not. I would like it to slowly, but fully “dock”.


My quote from Cox also applies to any one sketch.

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Where do sketches come from?

I have a batch to post up, will do that soon.


It is a strange thing letting sketches flow out each day, where do they come from? I am a bit conflicted about my landscapes and sketches from nature & even representations of dreams and so on. Today I want spontaneity flow, splash, colour, texture, but I don’t want to “shout”. One seems just right, #304 Place 4, it will be here soon. It is the last one did & I often like the last one best. #290 Night Shadows is another that just flowed out, too easy!

I feel pressured to do more like Boardroom Café, doing those would develop skill.

Skill is one thing but I have all the skill I need for the more abstract ones like #304 and #297 they feel as if anyone could do them. Yet there are plenty that I delete and there is something to develop here too, not skill but something deeper, assurance, drive, love.

I printed “#304 Place 4” without borders, and so it would need to be framed with a mat around it, not over it, and I will need to sign it on the image. I like all that, there is development.

I already feel the resolution to my conflict – do it all.

Conversations with Edward

I spent a pleasant day with Edward Coughlan and we did some art, walked, drank coffee & talked a lot.

Art: “Just as You are” – the words of Zuiken my digital version is in the next post, Edward’s lino cut print is also in the next post.

Here is the Podcast: The topics covered include ideas about art, and how thinking about it impacts on our work.

Download mp3

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What follows is a mindmap of the podcast & some of Edward’s pictures we talked about.

Continue reading “Conversations with Edward”

Following the flame – Jung’s Dream

Posting a sketch here by L Laughy from Nithwave for inspiration.

I had a walk & talk with Kate yesterday and we were musing over our projects – her horse treks & my sketches. She told me the story of Jung’s dream with the candle. I found it really useful to keep me focussed here & today has been a busy Thousand Sketches day! No sketches, but podcasts & posts and a few good emails have come & gone.

Then as luck would have it when googling for Jung’s dream I found the words accompanying a beautiful moleskine sketch, I’ll post the words and then the sketch.

“I had a dream which both frightened and encouraged me. It was night in some unknown place, and I was making slow and painful headway against a mighty wind. Dense fog was flying along everywhere. I had my hands cupped around a tiny light which threatened to go out at any moment. Everything depended on my keeping the little light alive. Suddenly I had the feeling that something was coming up behind me. I looked back, and saw a gigantic black figure following me. But at the same moment I was conscious in spite of my terror, that I must keep my little light going through night and wind, regardless of the dangers. When I awoke I realized at once that the figure was my own shadow on the swirling mists, brought into being by the little light I was carrying. I knew too that this little light was my consciousness, the only light I have. Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light, my only light.”

From: C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams and Reflections.

Continue reading “Following the flame – Jung’s Dream”


I am, after four months, still captured by this whirl of art enthusiasm. I have been watching videos on art & reading books. I look at galleries online and offline. I look at art blogs & websites. I am immersed and enjoying the process. I am catching up on a lifetime of not doing this. I was searching for a word, suppressing, avoiding doing this art thing? Not really. I think it was incubating, biding its time.

A long post reflecting on process follows.

Continue reading “Process”


I am thinking about the desire of the project & the desire of the line (to quote Matisse). Something in the marks that is essential, that has a life of its own. What is that? We want to get a glimpse of the real thing beyond the shadows in Plato’s cave. We are channels for a deeper truth if we can just get out of the way. It is something we can’t attain, but it keeps calling or pulling.

And there is something else.

The marks express unique personal identity. If I can get out of my own way I will come through. Unexpectedly I like my #184 Stuff on my Desk because it has me in it & I was hardly there, just doodling as an afterthought. It has my emerging signature – I don’t mean my name, but something that resonates with my inner fingerprint.

I had a conversation with Kate recently about signature, how as teenagers we “practice our signature”, a paradox totally suited to adolescence. Is that signature being invented, or discovered? The latter I think. Which then had me reflecting on that crucial teen-age time in my life, late 50s. I was drawing and painting a bit, though never with formal instruction, except in technical drawing. I really craved to belong to the art class but would not let myself feel that… and that was not all that was suppressed. I suppressed my signature.

Right now I am wanting to find that scrawl, which will shine, because it is gets closer & closer to …

And here is the point that is motivating this post…

… to the personal essence that is also there, in the same place beyond the shadows in the cave.
The subject & artist share one true nature.


Janey’s post.

An earlier post of mine: Thousand Sketches & Signatures

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Sugar & Shadow

I don’t have a batch of sketches – and I think I need to post the one or two I have. But the process is quite laborious and much the same for 1 as for 100.

I think I’ll leave the “Gallery” for later & just do a few blog posts.

So much gets in the way of simply doing sketches. No, even when I do them, and I have done a lot this week, so much gets in the way of of posting them up. Hmmm, one thing gets in the way: I don’t like them!

I will be posting some, and not others… and I am not going to judge here in public what I like & don’t like. There are some I do like, & there are plenty I simply won’t post.


I’d like more depth. Yet I love that donut!

I wonder what that means? A sweet trivial bad for you little fun thing like a donut is OK by me, yet I want more depth. There is a lot of depth in that donut! It is a good case of the medium being the muse… and now its asks the obvious question, is my saccharine unconscious having a part in it, wanting to avoid the shadows? Of course it does.

OK, coming up is “Flax in moonlight” so there is a bit of darkness there.


Where is the miracle? I think it is not something to find in sketch 1000, the gold at the end of the alchemical rainbow. It is here now, it is in the eye of the beholder. It is all in the the “warm up”.

It is in the allowing of whatever is in me to emerge. Can I do that?


Click image to go to the Crossroads image on the Thousand Sketches site

#0115 Crossroads

Allowing abstract forms to emerge, to delete some, to let one influence another is one of my “styles” here. So accepting this doodle as a Crossroad of feeling the tension between two things is one step that led to the next few.


Available in a limited edition of 25 prints, pigment ink on archival paper.

This print is available exclusively through the Allen Gallery in Chelsea New York. If you would like to purchase a print please contact Michel Allen.


See prints from the Thousand Sketches exclusive to the Allen Gallery

Line, autobiography, links to blogs.

Some good posts & discussion on “On Painting” about line. (made a comment there)

And more here on line in Falstaff’s blog.

Discussion here on autobiography & art, and made a post – I’ll paste below.


Loved your blog, this post & great discussion. I am opting for the value of the whole story, art + artist. Art lives in it’s context. What counts is not just the thing there in front of you but how it connects. It may be that it is a radically new use of a medium. Or that it it breaks conserved custom like the PreRaphaelites did. Maybe that the artist was ridiculed for their work is part of that story. The pain would be inherent in that work.

I am thinking of alchemy. There was a time when scientists related the life force in their flasks to their own life force, after all both came from God. Maybe objectivity was needed in a while in science, but it is a bit sad IMO to transfer that to art.

As a psychotherapist I guess I am used to seeing the personal story in art & art in the personal story.

Make it OK again to be autobiographical, to be personal. These things get frowned out with phrases like “indulgent”.

I think the kitten is more interesting now that we know it was saved, I’ll clap & cheer for the swimmer too!

Blue_Red_Glow – and some Notes

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#0463 Blue Red Glow
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After doing the two sketches earlier #0058 and #0059 it struck me that there was more to them than I intended. I was in a black mood, but those images – even the darker one had a light in there. This led to a lot of reflection. I’ll give some headings here – but there may be more of these thoughts coming.

  • Lois Kahn’s idea that a building wants something – this project wants its light to come through.
  • Another Kahn idea: That once you have a “realisation” after that it is just implementation. I think I could sketch one of these light-coming-through-barrier images at will – am testing that idea so a few follow. They are not mechanical repeats.
  • The light in the project is in a relationship with the light in me – that is an old alchemical idea. “As above, so below.” The essence in the matter under investigation – when distilled is akin to the life essence in me. This is more than I bargained on.
  • Earlier sketches #6 #7 & #8 were embryonic expressions of these images. As was the post in the blog about it being OK – no matter what. And they were there in the “Bursting”. (I’ll find links later)
  • With the notion of alchemy the monetary – gold – aspect of this project makes more sense. The gold plays a part.
  • Has got me thinking this project is linked closely with the writing I did on the Archetypes of Cyberspace (go straight to the section on Hermes, God of the Net – and of trade!)


Click image to go to the Montessori image on the Thousand Sketches site

#46 Montessori

This is from a very old archive. In the early 50’s I drew these at the Montessori school I was at. Here is what I wrote a four years ago when I shared this with some people:

“I went to a Montessori school for the first three years or so of my schooling. We could choose activities. I drew circles and painted them yellow. Thousands of them. Obsessional. My mother thought they were wonderful and kept them in a box! I don’t think I did it to please her though. I loved doing it. This is what they looked like.”

Of course the word Thousands stands out for me as I read this.