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May 29, 2003

Ripped from the pages of Friedrich’s sketchbooks…


The other day, I was glancing at my collection of sketchbooks from the past 15 years or so. As best as I can tell, sketchbooks have two main uses: for professional artists, a collection of visual motifs they can steal for their paintings or other finished work; for amateurs with day jobs—like me—they become a sort of visual journal. When you go back and look at them later, you can remember the whole complex of thoughts and feelings that went into each drawing and sometimes see patterns that you weren’t aware of at the time.

Anyway, looking at this patient heap of paper sitting on a shelf (I have about one sketchbook per year for this period), I thought: I know, I’ll save all this effort from utter oblivion by posting some of the sketches. (There’s gotta be some advantages to being a Blowhard, after all.)

This first effort dates from the first half of the 1990s, and started out when I was looking for something to draw one Sunday afternoon. At the time, my two girls were preschoolers and they kept a pretty good collection of stuffed animals lying around. I picked up three samples and made a little composition on the sofa in front of our TV, and started noodling away. This is one of those drawings that pretty much drew itself, technically speaking; by which I mean that when I look at it closely I notice that it’s neither a strict line drawing or a strict tonal drawing, but a hybrid effort that combines both techniques in a kind of logic that I’ve probably never used before or since. The best I can do to describe it is to say that the tone is used locally to tunnel cracks and crevasses into the picture plane, but not according to any strict light-and-shadow schema.

While I had no realization of it at the time, the three stuffed animals clearly represent my older brother, my younger sister and I watching television as children some 40 years ago. My sister is the cute, attention-getting tiger; my brother is the large, self-satisfied and mischievous rabbit. I am, of course, the teddy bear, reticent in the corner and not even trying to catch the eye of the viewer. In short, the picture is a joke-y but caustic view of my situation as a middle child. (I have often found unexpected currents of what I can only describe as political satire when I make still-lives from the toys and games of children.)

You must have a few drawings stashed away yourself. Don’t hold back: we Blowhards are notorious exhibitionists.



posted by Friedrich at May 29, 2003


Funny - the Teddy Bear caught my eye, and was the figure I kept going back to. Perhaps Fried-bear is not interested in returning the viewer's gaze, or becoming engaged, but he certainly seems central to me.

Your comments were quite a surprise..

If I wanted to go analyst on your ass, then I'd note that the bear appears to have coerced the other figures into protecting - or at least shielding - him. And yet instead of being cozy, he's still cautious.

(My view of the tiger may be skewed by my hatred of all things Pooh. Just so you know.)

Posted by: j.c. on May 29, 2003 5:11 AM

Very cute drawing. Funny. I have a teddy bear collection.

Posted by: annette on May 29, 2003 6:18 AM

This comment has nothing to do with the's just something I've been wondering.

It's a question for j.c.!

I've been reading your comments, j.c., for some time and at first I assumed you were male. Then somewhere along the way, you clearly denoted yourself to be female.

But even now, I still want to turn you into a man because you sound so much like a guy. I am figuring that yes indeed you are a woman, but could you clarify this for me?

Not that it matters at all. It just keeps popping up in my mind.

Posted by: laurel on May 29, 2003 11:25 AM

Never mind the teddy bear and the tiger; check out that evil smile on the rabbit. He looks like Chucky or something.

Posted by: Aaron Haspel on May 29, 2003 6:59 PM

He does not look like Chucky!!

Posted by: annette on May 29, 2003 9:47 PM

Mr. F,

if you think I would ever subject my amateur drawings to the amazing critical analysis such as Mr. Haspel offers, you got another think coming.

Chucky....a cute little bunny?

Posted by: Deb on May 30, 2003 12:08 AM

I, on the other hand, accept your challenge to humiliate myself before God, the Void, and the Blowhard community.

I offer you... A Drawing! No Freudian connotations may be found of any description, as far as I am concerned.

Posted by: Felicity on May 30, 2003 1:28 AM

Three cheers for Felicity, who has put her own artisitic output on display, with very impressive results I might add.

Now, the rest of you slackers need to get in gear...!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on May 30, 2003 8:47 AM

very nice drawing, Felicity!

Posted by: Deb on May 30, 2003 9:59 AM

Lovely drawing, Felicity. I especially like the delicacy of the colors.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 30, 2003 1:51 PM

How come I like Friedrich's and Felicity's artwork better than much of what I see for sale anywhere? Felicity's drawing is beautiful.

Posted by: annette on May 30, 2003 2:07 PM


Did you catch the heron drawing/watercolor Felicity posted during her 100 post weekend a month or so ago? It was awesome.

Posted by: deb on May 30, 2003 2:35 PM

No---how do I get there? Through her drawing link?

Posted by: annette on May 30, 2003 5:52 PM

Alas, March has not yet been resuscitated after the crash of April. Coming back pretty soon.

Sorry Annette. And thank you very kindly for your pretty words on my "scribbles"!

Posted by: Felicity on May 30, 2003 6:13 PM

Felicity, could you post it up on your blog AGAIN. Then we can all oooh and aaahhh over it again. It really was finely done.

Posted by: Deb on May 30, 2003 8:02 PM

Good lord. I pop into to say the drawing is even more appealing on a Mac, and read this. Laurel, I am female. Heterosexual, even. (Full disclosure: am at least a week overdue for a pedicure.)

Did fix a power tool for a friend today, if that helps you with your opinion of me as guy-ish.

Have to agree with Aaron that the large rabbit has an evil vibe – all older sibling are doomed to live under the slurs of their ungrateful younger siblings. Poor rabbit. His true expression is not doubt both patient and pained.

Posted by: j.c. on June 2, 2003 12:47 AM

This artice is very interesting!!!
But I didn't understand something. So, I have no my own idea about it...

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