January 26, 2015

A Buckle in Beemerville

My most recently revised drawing came from a sketch made several years ago in Beemerville, New Jersey. The man in the sketch is Leland Bell. I sketched him first at an outdoor picnic table,leaning over a radio/tape player. He was listening to a piece of jazz music, tapping out the beats with his right hand.

After listening to his music, Leland rested by the side of a small outbuilding. I drew him again in that spot, recording the two poses on the same page - dual aspects of Leland Bell. Leland was very ill at the time and it was impressive that he made the trip out to New Jersey to be with his graduate art students.

In order to finish this composition, I darkened the foreground and extended lines throughout to tie the elements together. This tying together in the final drawing reminds me of an observation of my husband’s about certain historical works of art. He coined the word, "buckling" for the technique of unifying a composition by attaching the lines that create the spaces and forms at various junctures like a buckle on a shoe.  In two areas, Leland is the buckle.

January 24, 2015

A Lens Distorted

Once again, I am turning to old sketches to turn into new drawings. How is that for alliteration?

The drawing above was completed in charcoal and pastels over an original pencil sketch. I believe that the model’s name was Francesca and she purposely wore these long black stockings and struck and pose reminiscent of Toulouse Lautrec or Degas.

The original pencil sketch had no background so I created one that was like a view through a distorted lens. I had been reading about lens implants so this may have had a subliminal influence. I was advised to find out more about the makings of lens implants before getting one on account of my numerous chemical allergies. Thus far they look okay - mostly made of silicone and plastics.

Artificial lenses, although great for restoring eyesight, aren’t the same as the eye’s natural lens in that they only provide focus at one distance and the cataract patient is then obliged to wear glasses for close-up work and reading. What I found fascinating, however, was that in 2013 a new lens was patented that focuses in three ranges - more like a natural eye lens. This is something that might be worth asking about, although on account of my far-sightedness in my right eye that may or may not work. The new multifocal and accommodating intraocular lenses (IOLS) are patented under the trade name Cystalens and Trulign. When I call the companies about materials used I may inquire about these as well.

January 21, 2015

The Cat with TMJ

I have been working on my sculptures, musical instruments and pottery using my found purple clay. These objects will take a long time to process before they are ready to photograph and include on a blog or web site. In between drying times I am working on small charcoal drawings and illustrations - always nice to do things that give immediate results. The latest completed illustration is a pathetic little illustration for my rhyme about a cat with TMJ. I was recently diagnosed with this and can now add that to the growing list of difficult to treat conditions. Fortunately TMJ can be treated with physical therapy and a brace - it does do some good.

The Cat with TMJ is part of my new collection of rhymes, "A Book of Hapless Cats." His rhyme:

When he eats a mouse, without fail
his jaw will lock if he chews the tail
Munch the bones and he’ll have to pay
That hapless cat with TMJ

He is careful not to yawn too wide
or move his mouth from side to side
He sits slack jawed to keep pain at bay
That poor little kitty with TMJ

He would like to meow at the moon at night
But it would probably cost him a jaw locked tight
So he sits mute towards the end of the day
wishing that he was not a cat with TMJ
copyright 2014 Janet Kozachek

January 10, 2015

The Cat in Cataract

I have decided to self publish The Book of Marvelous Cats. This is my way of coming to terms with the fact that I need to move the work out there for friends, family, and the larger public if possible, and must do so by relying on professional services than my own hit or miss process. I haven’t committed to a service yet but have at least decided on a publishing method.

In the mean time, I am at work on a second volume, The Book of Hapless Cats. Thus far, these have been illustrated with quick charcoal drawings for speed and ease of execution. My second illustration in this series is for the Cat Aract. I had originally intended to make this drawing using only my blind eye but found that I am now so blind in that eye I would only be making an amorphous blob. Instead I compromised by peaking with my good right eye in order to make a cat form more discernable. But anyone viewing the Cat Aract will get the general idea of diminished vision. The blurred lettering in the background of this drawing is what even the largest "E" on an eye chart now looks like.

January 2, 2015

Allergy Cat

In recent blogs I addressed the issue of how to deal with a growing list of allergens that most likely were contributing to my woeful health. My list of chemical allergens and their alternate names/forms were overwhelming. A veritable laundry list of polysyllabic names was handed to me. I wondered if I should just slowly memorize the list as if it were an epic poem. To that end I started writing a poem about a cat with allergies, including some of the names on my long list. To illustrate the text, instead of using detailed pencil drawing as I did in my Book of Marvelous Cats", I made a sketch in charcoals and pastels in my quick and gestural style. The cat wears a dust mask and Apretec barrier socks. I suppose it is a self portrait of sorts.

The poem goes like this:

Allergy Cat

Allergy Cat’s snout swells out from fleas
But all his flea powders just make him sneeze
When he eats canned cat food he starts to wheeze
Diphenylguanidine in his catnip makes him heave

Dried cat food preserved with methylparaben
is Allergy Cat’s most volatile allergen
But the soap in his bath that he really does hate
is the one made with butyl-p-hydroxybenzoate

Allergy Cat improves in a pesticide free sweater
On a mite free cushion he does even better
His paws turn red from untreated wood
Hypoallergenic cotton booties do him some good

The sniffling kitty cannot abide
Kitty crackers with parthelinomide
When other cats come in wearing strong perfume
Allergy Cat will up and leave the room

Allergy Cat gets a rash from his collar
-the cheap used one he picked up for a dollar
So he reached into his pockets and pulled out some green
and purchased a new one made of polypropylene

His friends advise Allergy Cat not to be so neurotic
and to sit among flowers both colorful and exotic
Allergy Cat replies "I beg your pardon...
but I can’t swish my tail in a pesticide garden"

And thus begins the new "Book of Hapless Cats"