June 28th, 2016
Now that the wild asparagus season is over and I've eaten or given away everything that I picked, I'm mulling over the casualties of this asparagus season which was an odd one. A lot of the thin, young stalks in shallow soil on a southern exposure or a warm microclimate, popped up early only to be hit with a late killing frost. And the freak snow/hail storm in May didn't help. The really big, thick, old stalks, which are mostly planted deep, came up unusually late this year even after some exceptionally hot, sunny days. The medium asparagus halfway between the two extremes were victims of deer browse much more often than usual, which is maddening, but they're hungry for something fresh and green, just like me. Deer usally prefer to eat the tops of asparagus plants already gone to seed, but this year, they ate young stalks, too...
June 15th, 2016
The first time I went picking wild asparagus with my brother-in-law forty years ago, I couldn't see any, while he seemed to find asparagus everywhere he looked. "You're looking with city eyes," he said. He was right. I had just arrived from downtown Philadelphia and all that green hurt my eyes. Gradually I lost my city eyes and I could see the wild asparagus, too. Every spring, I bathe my eyes in the soothing, calming, nourishing green that is everywhere. There are so many colors of green...
June 7th, 2016
Not all drawing materials are created equal. For two color chalk drawings, I use Gioconda sanguine chalk and Gioconda black graphite. These are also called "5.6 mm. leads" and they're used in a lead holder. For highlights, I prefer white Conté pencil to any other white.
I loathe charcoal. I have always detested the texture, the scratchy sound, the light weight of it in my hand, the abrasive feel of it on paper. I actually started out drawing with chunks of dried red clay on newsprint, so red chalk is a logical drawing material for me. Chalk is very forgiving; it can be erased and worked over again and again as long as you have a good eraser like a Staedler. Light, sparing touches of white chalk for highlights are the best possible treat of the whole day. The deep quality of chalk smudged with a stump feel generous and rich, but I don't smudge very often.
May 31st, 2016
Besides chalk, my favorite drawing material is pen and ink which I use for quick sketching. I draw freehand without preliminary pencil construction lines; I measure by eye alone. I try to ignore the details and just draw the big shapes. The looser and more relaxed my hand is, the faster I can draw. Leaving the tip of the pen on the paper produces loops and squiggles, but saves crucial time trying to capture life’s ephemeral moments. Moving people, expressions, gestures, postures may only be visible for a few minutes or seconds so I have to work fast. The absolute black of ink provides maximum contrast with the paper's absolute white, accentuating expressive line. There is no substitute for the immediacy and vitality of drawing from life. You can't get that exuberance and spontaneity any other way. I love to draw people wherever I go, especially in planes, airports, subways and trains.
May 24th, 2016
Some sculpture packing and loading operations go better than others. A couple of weeks ago, I loaded two sculptures on their way to a show in a museum more than an hour away. First sculpture, a fragile terra-cotta, went into the car fine. The second, not so much. The second sculpture is epoxy and bronze, which is pretty indestructible. Unfortunately, I forgot that since the last time I'd loaded this sculpture into a car, I'd switched cars and my new one has much less cargo space. So when I shoved the sculpture into the back seat, I jammed it so badly that the arm cracked. Horrified, I got it unwedged from the door, opened the hatch and slid it into the back, jamming it once again, this time against the ceiling, which is lower than my old car. Finally, I managed to get it into position, which I had previously measured to make sure it would fit. I took a deep breath.
May 10th, 2016
I've been agonizing over a sequence of questions for so long that I'm starting to feel like I need some help. I'm confused about what shows to enter, and what to exhibit, and where, and why. What I need is a Magic 8 Ball for Artists, to answer questions like, "Should I enter the Blah Blah Blah show?" or "Should I apply to the "Yada Yada Yada?" No matter who is asking these questions and what it's all about, there are actually only two answers, although the Magic 8 Ball would have to have ten times as many #1 answers as #2:
May 3rd, 2016
Last summer, I was cleaning out my studio and hauled out an old sculpture from the closet it had been parked in for more than 20 years. The sculpture is a student work - the first sculpture I ever cast in plaster, in fact. I'd kept it all these years because I really like some things about it. But from one angle it kinda looks like a deoderant check. And there are technical problems. So, I decided to throw it out. As I put it in the trash can, I wondered, "Is there anything I can do with this besides throw it out?" I remembered an old idea and ideas don't have expiration dates...
April 19th, 2016
Like everyone else on earth, I have a website (deborahdendler.com). I am amused and amazed on a daily basis by how many visitors do or do not visit my site. For a long time, I've been mystified by two things: What's up with Russia? And, what's the problem with Greenland and Iceland? I get why there wouldn't be a lot of internet traffic to an obscure North American sculpture website from the Congo, Paraguay or Mongolia. Not sure that high speed internet connections are top priorities in those areas. But Greenland and Iceland? They're European and more highly developed than the US. So what's the problem?
April 12th, 2016
I'm so excited! I finally did some drawings of a baby that don't look like Winston Churchill! They also don't look exactly like my grandson, but hey - you can't have everything. At least he doesn't look like he needs a cigar.
April 5th, 2016
I have to confess that I don't get photo realism or hyperealism. The whole pointing of creation is to make something new that didn't exist before. But in photo realism and hyperealism, the image already exists as a photograph. Why recreate it as a painting or drawing? What I especially don't understand is the laborious, exact copying of a photo of a celebrity that the copyist doesn't have permission to use. Not only is it asking for trouble, but it's dumb. Celebrities are the ones with the money and the lawyers. Who do you think would win a copyright battle - celebrity or clueless artist? And that goes for the photographer of a celebrity, too, who is undoubtedly a pro and not doing this for fun. Copyright infringement is a big deal.