2022 MoonBlog

This isn't really about the moon, I call it a moonblog because a new homepage image appears twice a month on the new and full moon. The home page shows a featured image —sometimes freshly minted, sometimes seasonal, sometimes from years past— along with improvised ruminations, something like a leisurely blog. Previous years’ entries are here for your perusal; see the links, above. The sharp-eyed visitor will notice that the year 2020 is entirely missing. I'll let you guess possible reasons for that. This year's will fill out as the moons go by. Meanwhile, let's get back to it.

Atom & Eave

Robert Spellman ink line drawings of faces in motion.

This is a diptych assembled for the occasion of this moment. It's part of an experiment to draw people in motion in real time. One of the pleasures of teaching drawing classes at Naropa was the various experiments of drawing each other. A class full of people drawing one another has another gratifying effect: we actually see others in a way that becomes reflexively sympathetic. The drawings here are done “on the fly”: look at a nose and draw it; look at an eyebrown and draw it; look at a lip and draw it – all without being overly concerned with its relative location. This does require suspending any kind of judgement about how its going. Try this some time, it's a lot of fun.

Music of the Moment

I'm calling this one Calypso Blanco, sort of an aging white man's digital interpretation of Afro-Caribbean sounds.

I add one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of this musical work in progress. Go here for a listen.

New Moon ~ April Fools Day, 2022

Greenish Dreamscape

Robert Spellman watercolor of a greenish dream seascape.

I dusted off my watercolor box this week. It's been lying fallow for way too long. To get myself started I cooked up some imaginary seascapes. I suppose these reside somewhere in my memories of Ireland. Some of them may even be genetic memories, who knows?

While I'm writing this the country of Ukraine is under bombardment and seige directed by a ruthless neighbor guided by his own delusions of grandeur. The name Putin could be a shortened form of Rasputin, the infamous Russian “monk” from the early twentieth century whose own delusions of grandeur and skills of manipulation in the halls of power brought about havoc until he was finally assassinated. This green seascape was painted while witnessing in real time the terrible mechanized destruction in Ukraine meeting the riveting display of bravery and resistance of the Ukrainian people. It's a strange dissonance that I'm moving pools of colored water in a peaceful mountain valley while half a world away a whole country is thrown into mayhem and destruction.

Music of the Moment

Here's another sketch. It has a kind of urban, slinky dreamy quality to it. For now it's called McPhee just because I happened to be reading a piece in The New Yorker by the writer John McPhee. This composition has no connection to Mr. McPhee other than the coincidence of my having read his writing the day I put this together.

I add one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of this musical work in progress. Go here for a listen.

New Moon ~ March 2nd, 2022

ChanceOps #430

Robert Spellman chance operation gelli print.

This one came out during a printing blast a year or so ago. ChanceOps is short for chance operations, a mode of working that might be described as a form of play; you set up some conditions and then let the materials do what they will. This batch is full of surprises for me. I sometimes see specific imagery, sometimes not. The color scheme reminds me of etchings from many centuries ago in Europe. But etchings of what? It's a relief not to know for sure.

Music of the Moment

This one might be part of something longer but for now let's call it Minta. Minta Doyle is a young woman in the circle of Mrs. Ramsay in the book To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, which I'm lately reading. I'm always on the lookout for song names and I liked the name “Minta”.

I add one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of this musical work in progress. Go here for a listen.

Full Moon ~ February 16th, 2022

Grid Portrait Copy

Robert Spellman brush drawing of a face in a grid.

I've been intriqued by the use of a grid for many years. I've mentioned elsewhere that an art teacher visited our fifth grade class and showed us how to use grids to make copies of any image. The method amazed me then and it still amazes me more than sixty years later. The image you see here combines the grid idea with another practice: working very quickly. The original image is from one of the many hundreds of art books we have at Mountain Water. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know the source drawing or who did it. Oh, well. At the time I did this, which would have been several years ago while teaching a class; I was trying to complete many drawings in one session of about two hours. Each drawing took about two minutes. It was an awful lot of fun in spite of the fairly high failure rate. Looking at these again today gives me a needed prod to get back into the studio more.

Music of the Moment

I put this one together today during a welcome snow storm. It's called Imbolc. Imbolc is the Celtic festival celebrating the cross quarter day - half way between the winter and summer solstice. Americans call it Ground Hog's Day. I'm writing this on the day, which also happens in abbreviation to be 2/2/22.

I add one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of this musical work in progress. Go here for a listen.

New Moon ~ February 1st, 2022

Dragonfly Book mockup

Robert Spellman mockup of a dragonfly book.

I ran across this image recently in a sketchbook from a few years ago. It's a mockup that I photo-collaged in preparation for a painting. I like the series of paintings from that time - five or six years ago - and I'm only now giving any appreciation for the mockups. The tattered book page is an actual canvas made to look like a book that had seem some history. And quite a large book, I might add; it's 36 x 53 in.

Music of the Moment

This one goes back four years to 2018. That would be from the grooveyard of mouldy oldies. It still seems to hold up. For some reason I called this sketch Mercury. And I don't know if I was thinking of the metal or the planet.

I add one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of this musical work in progress. Go here for a listen.

Full Moon ~ January 17th, 2022

Wing Tracks (photo)

Robert Spellman photograph of wing beats in fresh snow.

This is a photograph of fresh snow with the wing tracks of a small bird taking off. Coming upon things like this is one of the benefits of living in a remote place where the subtle workings of things aren't immediately trampled and shouted down by the din of human folly. Oh I suppose birds have their follies, too. And they can make quite a din when they see fit. I have noticed that crows seem to be unable to leave each other alone while flying. They dive-bomb, chase and harrass each other in what seems to be great, naughty fun. Probably unfair to call that folly. We did get a nice snow last night, the best in a while. We could use a lot more.

Music of the Moment

A composition for various instruments. It's called Mrs. Dalloway, after the central character in Virginia Woolf's novel by the same name. The music isn't really intended to go with the story, but it's what's been going through my head as I read it.

I've started adding one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of these compositions in progress. Go here for a listen.

New Moon ~ January 2nd, 2022

B-25 In Progress (detail)

Robert Spellman acrylic painting study detail of a large B-25 Bomber.

This is an early stage development of a large, multi-panel painting of a B-25 Bomber. This detail shows two out of nine panels. The finish will look nothing like this but I was intrigued by the naturally occurring color scheme of the canvas scraps on a previously painted and hurriedly gessoed surface. The panels that make up this painting have a long history by now. They have been in use since before the turn of this century. X-ray imaging would reveal several decades of false starts, indecision, bad ideas, and ordinary duds. This is often how paintings happen. It builds a surface quality resembling the lined visage of someone who has been around the block a few times.

Music of the Moment

A composition for various instruments. It's called Rosaline, it's the name of a stone, I believe.

I've started adding one of these compositional sketches with each Moonblog entry on the new and full moon. I also have a page with more of these compositions in progress. Go here for a listen.

Full Moon ~ December 18th, 2021