Ellen Cornett

I'm lumping these all together because I think you'll be tired of seeing the stages of rendering the goat, and Marylou, and so many of the repetitive characters again.

 

Here is Mama's gonna' buy you a meadowlark finished. The very last, and very scary part was adding the string from Marylou's wrist to the the meadowlark's neck. I used a 6B pencil and it makes a very dark, not erasable line. 




Two days worth of drawing. I started the last drawing on Friday,May 19, and this is what I'd finished by the end of Monday, May 22. I changed Freddie's expression once again. I wanted everyone but the meadowlark facing the viewer in this last drawing. 

 


And done! The last piece of this, again, was the string. I asked friends to weigh in on whether the string was broken or untied to release the meadowlark. The explanations for the votes were wonderful, and the untied string won.



Because I am thinking now this ought to be a book, I did a final (9th!) drawing of Marylou all by herself. Finished it today back in my studio.



I think she'll be the cover art and the first page of the lullaby.

 

So what have I learned. Oh my gosh--so much. I re-affirmed that, though I am a solitary person, I do love chatting with people for five or ten minutes. Several friends stopped by during the seven weeks I was at Montpelier. I got to know some of the resident artists and found people I want to keep as friends after I move out. Only once did I have to ask someone to move away from the unframed drawings lest she smear the pencil. And I only found a couple of smudges that might have been someone absolutely unable to resist the impulse to figure out if they were looking at a print or an original drawing. Easily fixed with a kneaded eraser, though I wish folks would not touch artwork. 

 

To my amazement, I enjoyed drawing Marylou the 9th time about as much as I did the first. And I think I was able to treat it as a new challenge each time.

 

If I decide to illustrate another cumulative story, I will plan to move and change things more from panel to panel. Where I did that in this series, I think the drawings became livlier and more fun.

 

And finally, this of course, was a series. And working in the series, to paraphrase Susan Rothenberg, is the best. You flow from one day to the next without any of the doubt and hesitation that attends normal art making. For me at any rate.

 

I am so grateful to Montpelier Art Center and all the folks there for their warm welcome and enthusiasm for my work. What a lovely way to bridge the time from spring into summer.


Five years ago, Jane had to give up her cat who was then known as Kitty or KFC. I had just put my last cat to sleep and though this ginger thug was not the cat I wanted, he was the cat I got. I decided he needed a proper name, and Tommy seemed Irish and appropriate, so Tommy he was. 

 

It took a few months for Tommy to settle. He had been a rescue when Jane got him, and I think it was difficult for him to feel safe and comfortable. But my house is quiet and in time, he got used to it. And to me. 

 

Tommy made up games, loved playing with Miz Ratty, Miss Mousy and his tail. He'd chase me around the house grabbing my ankles if he thought I wasn't paying him enough attention. And twice, I'm sorry to say, he took me out at the bottom of stairs, thundering past me and catching me off balance.

 

He also pooped on the basement floor. 

 

But when I'd come home from class and settle on the couch for an hour of tv before bed, Tommy was on my chest, looking into my face and purring. He followed me around the house from sunroom and morning paper, to the studio where he had his own chair, and into my office and his Labatt's blue box with orange towel by the printer. When he couldn't find me, I would hear him crying plaintively--I could almost make out the words, "where are you?"

 

I think we knew it was his last night, and for the first and only time, Tommy slept, not on the bed at my feet but on the pillow next to my head. I didn't sleep much, but petted him and listened to him purr.

 

Tommy went into the afterlife, wrapped in his orange towel attended by Miz Ratty stuffed with fresh catnip. I sure do miss him.

 





It was a longer than usual day, but I really wanted to finish. Rover's eyes are dark and that pushed me to darken other elements in the drawing as well--Marylou's dress, the goat's face, and some of the shadows in the cart and the bull. I think it adds to the slightly claustraphobic feel of the drawing. When I pinned it up for a review, I realized that the composition is inspired by Maurice Sendak. The figures are over-sized and crowd the edges of the page. 





And here's Rover! Actually the dog of a friend, and his name is Freddie, not Rover. He died very recently--we're all mourning. I've used him in several pieces. Freddie has beautiful eyes and you gotta' love those ears! Another set of texture challenges. I'm happy with the ears, but still considering Freddie's dog hair.

 





Very excited to start on the next drawing which will include the dog named Rover. 

 





A big push today, and the Cart and Bull is done! It was very interesting working on two different kinds of shaggy fur--the silky goat and the rougher bull. Actually Marylou's hair is not unlike those textures. 



A lot of running around this morning--to the Hill to pick up work from a show and then to Rockville to look at space for another exhibit. But finally got to Montpelier for a couple hours of drawing. 






 


Summer is here. It's hot and very humid, and today is the annual Montpelier festival and tea. I got out there at 10 and stayed until 2 working on the cart and bull drawing. Lots of folks came through the library gallery. Many kids, including one 7 year old who spent a very long time studying the drawings. His mom says he loves drawing and I think he as working out how I did things. From 1 to 2 there was a piano concert in the main gallery. Quite nice. I still have at least another day on this drawing. Maybe two. 

 

And I confirmed today that my knees hurt from sitting in a chair for long hours without getting up and moving around. I'm going to take my stool out with me on Monday!

 

Glad to be home for a while now, and then off to Artomatic's meet the artist night in a bit.

 





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