Thursday, October 28, 2010


Pencil and charcoal on bristol paper, 11" x 14"
$125 plus $8 shipping in U.S.

This is one of a series of drawings I’ve been doing recently. They have a more dream-like quality than the realist works. I think of the space in these drawings as a flexible field, where anything can co-exist. Our recent trip to the coast has tapped memories of visits in the past, when our children were young. The fragmentary figure at the top came from a snapshot I took of our daughter Heather running on the shore, maybe 25 years ago.

Beyond the recognizable images that appear, these works also explore the movement, energy and emotional power inherent in mark-making, that most basic of activities for an artist.

And speaking of mark-making, we saw a genius practitioner last weekend. The Picasso show at the Seattle Art Museum was well worth the drive. There were about 150 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from the Musée Picasso in Paris. The Seattle curator says "The Musée Picasso’s holdings stand apart from any other collections of Picasso because they represent the artist’s personal collection—works that the highly self-aware artist kept for himself with the intent of shaping his own artistic legacy."

Picasso’s art can at once repel and fascinate, inspire and frustrate. What it doesn't allow, with its undeniable expressive power, is apathy. Artists have been coming to terms with Picasso ever since he burst on the Parisian scene as a youthful prodigy. What struck me as remarkable while viewing the show was how accessible his work was, and still is, for other artists. He opens doors of ideas. Many artists have spent their lifetimes exploring and elaborating directions and concepts first touched on by Picasso.

There’s a good online gallery of Picasso’s artworks here.


Sheila Vaughan said...

This made me smile - it's clever and interesting and in some ways rather surrealistically frightening. I have Bosch on my mind - there was a programme on UK TV recently where Matthew Collins investigated "The garden of earthly delights". What is amazing is that that was done around 1550. As to Picasso, ah yes, isn't he accessible. (Not many people know he had a dog called Lump who followed him everywhere and once ate one of his drawings.)

SamArtDog said...

This drawing is like Plato's dream on the wall of the cave. Or your dream.
Thanks for the Picasso link. So glad you (and Katherine and Celeste) got to go see the show. Worth every mile, I'm sure.

Thanks to Sheila's note about Lump, eh Winston?

Don Gray said...


I didn't know Picasso had a dog named Lump. Wonder if he found the artist's work difficult to digest.

Thanks, Sheila.

Don Gray said...

Hi Sam. Images in these drawings are often indistinct or half-formed...I guess they do have a relationship to the shadows on Plato's cave wall. Thanks for giving me a new way to think about them.

Winslow did chew on one of my watercolors once.

Sheila Vaughan said...

Don and Sam - there is a wonderful book I picked up in the bookshop quite at random last year called: "Lump, the dog who ate a Picasso". It was written by David Douglas Duncan in 2007. It was he whose dog it was but when they visited Picasso and Jacqueline in 1957 (David was a photographer and friend of Picasso)the dog Lump decided he liked the Picassos and he was staying there. David had a big jealous Afghan hound who made Lump's life a bit of a misery so he was content about it too. The book is published by Thames and Hudson and contains some wonderful black and white family and working (studio) photographs of Picasso and Jacqueline and the kids in their South of France home - and of course Lump. Sam, you would love it.

Don Gray said...

Oh that's great, Sheila. I'll have to locate a copy. I've seen another photo book of Picasso and family by Duncan, but not this one.

martha miller said...

Love this dreamy drawing! More!!

mrteague said...

I like this. Very evocative :)

Don Gray said...

Thanks Martha--your encouragement means a lot. I'll post more in this series from time to time.

Don Gray said...

Thanks a lot, Teague!