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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Hopper

What skill will you grow in 2015?

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I write and I want to draw and take photos. And write.

I’ve been trying to sketch lately. My son and I started a blog called Dumb Sketch December where we try to produce one sketch a day (inspired by OneDrawingDaily). I enjoy sketching more and more and I am less and less happy with the results. Unlike writing where I have a growing sense of being able to say what I need to say, sketching seems to have plateaued at capturing very little of real life.

I’m at the point where I don’t even know what I don’t even know.

My stapler rocks. My people don’t.

My stapler rocks. My people don’t.

Other kindly sketchers and drawists chime in with encouragements like “Keep going!” and “Huh.” Of course, I’m committed to the dumb sketch approach to life, and I can find a bit of joy in a well-capture shoulder, or when I drew something very similar to that woman’s posture or her pony-tail. I am increasingly drawn to the very black carbon laid down to hint at a clear edge. I’m trying to take lessons from Edward Hopper, though I think he would have given up on me long ago:

I think we can guess what fascinated Edward Hopper.

I think we can guess what fascinated Edward Hopper.

But all this to wonder aloud at skill-building. There is something about the intentional action—committed in public—that has a way of squeezing us forward. NaNoWriMo used that force, our more successful diets use that force, weddings are a celebration of the force of intentional actions publicly committed.

What skill do you want to grow in 2015?

How will you make it public so we all can take courage from your actions?


Kirk Livingston, Edward Hopper via The Walker Art Center

Edward Hopper: How to Talk to Yourself

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Can a conversation result in art?

The answer can only be “Yes!”

Not every conversation, mind you. But some will.

Last weekend Mrs. Kirkistan and I (plus our art-student daughter) wended our way through the sketches and drawings by Edward Hopper currently on display at the Walker. As a nation we’re quite familiar with Mr. Hopper’s drawings and paintings—today they seem perfectly obvious explanations of life in America. But I was intrigued by how he got there. What was his process for producing such enduring images? How did he see what he saw?

His sketches look like conversations with himself. Look how he developed the frame for his (well-beloved, much parodied) Nighthawks at the Diner. His sketches add layer to nuance to layer. It’s almost as if he were explaining something to himself with one approximation and then another and then another. Sort of like conversations with our best friend where we allow each other to say it wrong even as we pursue saying it right.


Hopper was a man given to observation and keen on interpreting detail. With quick strokes he captured form and mood and motion. And there’s no question he had an eye for the ladies:


Hopper seemed to never stop observing and capturing. Again and again and again. He spent hours sitting at favorite locations and sketching and perhaps waiting. This quote from Mr. Hopper hints at his process:

My aim in painting is always, using nature as the medium, to try to project upon canvas my most intimate reaction to the subject as it appears when I like it most….

I’ve been a fan of sketches for some time because they give a behind-the-scenes picture into how someone’s mind works. The Hopper exhibit at the Walker does not disappoint. And I cannot help but think how sketches provide such a rich analog to our collaborative conversations.

Image credit: Kirk Livingston photos taken at Edward Hopper exhibit, Walker Art Center

Hopper Early Sketches

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Where does an idea come from?

Sketching shows the beginning of an idea.


Over at lines and colors, Charley Parker highlighted an exhibit at the Whitney that promises a look into Edward Hopper’s process.


Written by kirkistan

July 17, 2013 at 9:21 am

Posted in art and work, curiosities

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