Pencil sketch (with mechanical pencil, one that’s not sold anywhere anymore, so don’t even think about taking Karen’s) on dotted cream notebook paper. 9×7 inches. Notebook cover is a muted turquoise.
It’s hotter’n hell in this Birch Coffee on Seventh Avenue between 14th and 13th, and Charles Bradley is singing “Ain’t It A Sin” over the coffeeshop mix.
“It’s hotter than hell in here,” a lady who just arrived tells her friend at the table next to me. I kid you not.
I’ve tried to be a righteous man…talk to the LORD every day, sings Bradley. If you ain’t gonna do me right [says the LORD], I might just do you in! Ain’t it a sin! Good song; bad theology.
Detail: lip of pitcher could also be crack in wall. The change of perspective is something that Karen likes playing with–a plan view becomes an elevation and then maybe a perspective.
Detail: abstracted flowers.
Detail: I like these shadows. They, too, are abstracted and even seem to have height and amplitude.
This sketch, I told Karen, reminded me of a Cezanne painting—the only one I can comment on with any intelligence, “Mont Sainte-Victoire seen from Bellevue,” so it’s kinda my go-to reference—in which the branches of a tree in the foreground appear to be also roads in the background. Likewise, Karen has a line coming from the pitcher lip that might as well be a crack in the wall behind it.
By virtue of this sketch being on dotted paper—almost a contextual insistence on structure and a Pavlovian call (at least to my analytical mind) to draw Cartesian graphs—one might think Karen would be…I don’t know…practical? Predictable? No. Her whimsy is apparent still.
Our middle son (Bennett, age 15) would approve of this, though, since it’s more “representational” than her true abstracts. What is it indeed that goes through her mind as she abstracts flowers and draws shadows that rise like bluffs overlooking the bottom edge of the page? I’m at sea.
I had a few trips like that while in college. It didn’t end well. A smashed Yamaha 6-string and me running around our group house in Ocean Beach, Fire Island, in my tightie whities.