William Eggleston – The Peculiar Photographer

“Life, today.” – William Eggleston

That’s the answer William Eggleston has been able to come up with when people ask him what he’s photographing. I’ve also been asked that same question many times because I take the same kind of pictures he does. Sounds like a pretty good answer to me.

The oven photo on the left is Eggleston’s, and my oven photo is on the right. I took that picture in my very first photo class in college. I wasn’t even aware of him yet. 

His photos are all of the banal everyday ordinary subjects that most people look at as boring. He can point his camera at some trash in the road and come out with something interesting.

eggleston trash

William Eggleston

As a Southern aristocrat from Memphis Tennessee, many of his photos were taken in the South, in and around Memphis, and they serve as an authentic documentation of his time. I just love that and I also do that with my photography.

The image on the left is Eggleston’s, and the one on the right is mine. I took that in a small town called, Looneyville in my area. It’s down the road from Loco Valley 😂.

It may have taken a long time for people to appreciate his unique view of such “boring and ugly” subjects but eventually he became one of the best and most influential modern photographers. He was a pioneer in elevating both color photography and banal photography in the world of photographic art, and he has a giant collection of compelling images worth looking at. 

Let’s take a look at three of my favorites: The Grill, The Tricycle, and The Red Ceiling.

The Grill

Grill

William Eggleston Memphis c. 1972

From the first time I saw this photo I liked it and I was reminded of so many times when I was standing around a grill with family and friends.

“You must not take anything for granted when you’re looking at a picture. Every single little tiny space on that page works and counts.” – his wife Rosa Eggleston

Every single part of this image works and counts. The lighting, the composition, the fire in the grill, the car, and the bike seem like a boring scene, but it’s full of so many interesting parts of humanity and everyday life. This is a great example of how he elevates the banal to fine art.

The Tricycle

tricycle

William Eggleston Memphis c. 1969

William Eggleston rarely names his photos. Most of them are untitled as far as I’m aware. However, his photos have sparked so much conversation and interest that people have just made names for them.

It can be hard to capture a bike in an interesting way but that wasn’t a problem for Eggleston. He positioned the camera at a low angle so that it makes the bike fill the frame, which makes it bigger and more important than you might originally think. To the kid who rode that bike, I’m sure it was very important.

The Red Ceiling

Red ceiling

William Eggleston, Untitled, c. 1973

I found an interesting article called Perfectly Boring, written by Will Stephenson, that’s worth the read. The section below is directly from the article and it’s from William Eggleston about The Red Ceiling.

“Brenda and T.C. and I were the three people who were lying in bed when I took that picture,” he said. So he did remember that day? “Of course,” he said. “Yes. We were just having a nice time, talking about this and that, talking about nonsense. The three of us lying there in bed—it was a big bed. And I remember one split second I looked up. I thought, that’s a great picture. And then I took the picture. After that, I don’t know what happened.” He closed the book and gave it back to me. “I don’t think anything much happened.”

That’s exactly what happens to me. I’m just hanging out doing normal, “boring” things, and then I see something and think, “That’s a great picture.”

The quotes from Eggleston and his wife were from a five part documentary I watched that you might also enjoy. It showed his large collection of photos as well as a very interesting look at the photographer. William Eggleston – Imagine Documentary Part 1.

William-Eggleston-by-Kevin-Scanlon

William Eggleston – Now

In my next post I’ll share some banal photos I took of a grill, a bike, and a ceiling.

References and Articles Worth Reading

Banality and Cliché in Photography

https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/1442-perfectly-boring

William Eggleston – Imagine Documentary

 

Sketchbook Drawings – Icicles, Dreamcatcher, and Teddy Bear

Hello everyone, I’ve been drawing quite a bit at my new drawing desk. I should have gotten it sooner, I don’t know what took me so long. These drawings are all done on the blank side of my Interior Design sketchbook assignment. Let’s just jump right in . . . I’ll show the furniture side first and then the blank side.

Table

2. (4) Table:Icicles

This was sketch #4 of a table. It’s ok. The perspective is correct. My lines are a bit wobbly. No shading, no life, just a plain table.

Space Table

2. (4) Space Table:Icicles

The perspective made me think it belonged in outer space. So, I made it into some kind of space ship. I used graphite pencils and charcoal. Any Friends fans out there? I used to be a major fan, I over watched every season ’till I couldn’t stand them anymore. I have this scene running through my head right now:

friends space doody

It’s not just a table, it’s a space table.

Icicles

2. (4) Icicles:Table

My wacky boyfriend has a brain full of random stuff, so I got him to suggest some things for me to draw. He came up with so many great ideas, but then he said, “Icicles.”

Normally, I’d just say, “No, that’s too hard.”

But since I’m just drawing for fun with no pressure, I decided to just do it. They weren’t that hard, and I didn’t work to get them perfect. But they look pretty great for some fun sketching. I used graphite pencils.

Chair

3. (6) Chair:Dreamcatcher

Sketch #6. I didn’t do anything to it, I decided to share my professor’s notes. If anyone is trying to draw chairs and you’re struggling, then I hope this page can be helpful to you. They’re probably pretty common mistakes beginners make.

Dreamcatcher

3. (6) Dreamcatcher:Chair

Another one suggested by my boyfriend. He’s part Indian and his aunt has a dreamcatcher that this one is inspired by. I decided to use Polychromos colored pencils and let me tell you why that was a bad idea.

It’s a slow medium that requires a lot of layers. And since these are just sketches, I’m not willing to put in the work or waste the pencils.

So, I should have done graphite or chosen a different way to color it. That’s one thing sketchbook work is for, to help me make fewer mistakes.

dreamcatcher pencil

It definitely would have looked better if I did the whole thing in graphite.

Arm Chair

4. (17) Chair

Sketch #17. Another one that’s not too bad . . . some messy lines, but overall it’s a good chair sketch.

Zebra Print Arm Chair

4. (17) Chair zebra:Teddy Bear

Ew, it looks kind of gross here 😝. It’s because I drew the zebra stripes with 6B and 8B pencils and the graphite smeared. Also, the green I added sorta looks like a sickly covid 19 – green.

I wanted to use my Crayola crayons in the neat the little case. I figured they’d be faster and I really like the colors. And Omg, the crayon box is at the very bottom of the Leaning Tower of Pisa boxes. See that box on the bottom left with the blue lid . . . sigh.

zebra chair-1

Here’s the sketch before I added crayons. I probably should’ve just used graphite pencils, cuz that looks pretty good.

Ok, my drawing isn’t anywhere near as scary and complete as Francis Bacon’s on the right, but mine reminded me of this painting. I might go ahead and work some more on it . . . but the question is, who should I put to sit in the chair? If you have any ideas, just let me know in the comments.

Honey Joe Bear

4. (17) Teddy Bear:Chair zebra

I have an idea for a drawing I’d like to do that has a teddy bear in it, so I’ll need lot’s of practice drawing them. As you can see, I stuck with graphite on this one. His eyes look a bit sinister but it’s a pretty good sketch. I get a little impatient with things like fur, so that’s definitely an area I need to learn to be more patient with.

teddy bear-1

I got this bear when I was 1. We were living in California and my grandparents came all the way from Texas to see me and give me this bear, and another bear that’s identical. I guess they’re twins. We even have a cool home video recorded on VHS 😊.

That’s All the Sketches for Today

I hope you enjoyed them and maybe even got some inspiration for your own work. Just remember that sketchbooks are the perfect place to experiment with different supplies and it’s ok to make some mistakes, like smearing the graphite or using sickly covid 19 – green. Just have fun and draw.

Next Thursday, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite artists who is a  big inspiration for my photography.

I was looking for a little motivation for the teddy bear so I watched this video by Yong Chen. If you’re in the mood to see someone draw a teddy bear in graphite, go check it out.

 

 

Cornhole Game Paintings

Did you know there’s an American Cornhole Association? I sure didn’t. I can see how it could be fun, but I’ve only played a handful of times . . . a beanbag handful of times 😂.

me playing corn hole

Me playing a cornhole game

Even though these two paintings are the first acrylic paintings I’ve ever done, I felt confident that I’d be able to create something good for my customer. She requested an underwater scene that would include a shark on one and an octopus on the other. The only other instruction she had for me was to just be creative.

Cornhole Progress-1

The first step was to remove the Dallas Cowboys stickers which was harder than I thought. Silly me, I thought I’d just peel them off, but the company did a good job of making sure they would stick for a long time.

steambuggy

Steam Buggy Owners Manual

I figured steam would be my best option, and I have a Steam Buggy so I got to work. It took over 9 hours to remove every bit of sticker. So, I turned on Netflix and got to steaming. Once the stickers were removed:

– I sanded the wood. It didn’t need a lot of sanding, just enough to smooth the texture.

– I also used wood filler to fill in some cracks and holes.

Once the wood was ready, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, all I knew was I’d have a shark and an octopus. So, I grabbed three cans of spray paint to get a background down for me to work on top of. I tried to consider the scene so I made sure to lay down the appropriate shades and added some wavy movement.

Cornhole Progress-2

I was a little nervous about just jumping into the deep end with the paint, so I drew the shark and the octopus on scratch paper, cut that out, taped it to the wood and traced it. Then I outlined the pencil marks with light blue acrylic.

I decided to change the top two tentacles into a more interesting pose, like he’s gonna grab the beanbag as it goes through the hole.

I struggled so much with the shark and ended up painting him 3 times. It turned out the first shark attempt on the left was actually better than my final shark. But in the moment, I thought it was bad.

It’s usually best to paint your background first and move your way to the foreground, but I didn’t do that. Acrylic paint is actually very easy to work with so it ended up being ok. Here they are halfway through the process.

Cornhole Progress-11

And here’s the border. I didn’t protect it with tape, and in many cases you’ll want to consider protecting your borders. It worked out ok for me though. Once I was finished with the paintings, I covered the surface and carefully sprayed on some Navajo Tan spray paint.

It was way too light, so I mixed the color on the right side, and used a brush and a sponge to apply it on top of the lighter color. It ended up having an aged sandy appearance that I was happy with, and it works well to ground the bright colorful colors.

Cornhole Progress-15

I also used spray paint to create the sunshine.

Cornhole Progress-16

And you can’t forget to sign your artwork. I signed my first name on the bottom of both paintings.

Cornhole Progress-17

Cornhole Progress-18

And here’s the finished product.

How Long It Took Me

– Removing the stickers : Just over 9 hours

– Drawing the Shark and Octopus: Just under an hour

– Total time painting: A little more than 2 Full months

– Finally being finished: Priceless . . . or should I say, Timeless?

Do you remember those old MasterCard commercials? They were pretty popular for a while.

shark-1

So, that’s it. If you’d like a run down on my drawing goals and painting experience, check out this page. And come back next Thursday to see some more sketchbook drawings.

octopus and dog-1

There’s my dog, Sunny. She got a little jealous while I was painting so much. She’d go lay down in the laundry room and pout. Why the laundry room? I dunno 😂.

Sketchbook Goal

mtv spankin new

Photo By MTV

Now that I have a brand SPANKIN’ NEW drawing desk to work at, I’ve decided that I need to fill up every sketchbook I have. There are a lot of blank pages, partially used pages, and probably a lot of sketches I’m going to cringe at when I see them. I’ve been bad about not drawing in my sketchbooks lately which has resulted in my drawing skills getting rusty. It’s important for artists to draw in sketchbooks regularly to develop ideas, to work on technique, and to just be creative.

sketchbooks-1

This box is full of sketchbooks I got from when I was 13 all the way up to now. The pink one is a new watercolor one I just got.

sketchbooks-2

These sketchbooks are all leftover from college and they’re a bigger size, 11×14 I think. And the water stained box they’re sitting on is jam packed with scratch paper.

sketchbooks-3

The paper is damaged but that’s ok. I’m sure I can use them up.

Interior Design Furniture Sketchbook

This notebook is from an assignment I had in an Interior Design class I took my freshman year. I had an interest in architecture and my advisor didn’t think I was cut out for their department. She was right, but I’m glad I took them anyway, because I learned so much. She signed me up for 3 classes, one was a sophomore level class that I was not ready for.

They had us constantly observing our surroundings, everywhere we went we were told to study the interiors, the furniture, the light fixtures, the space between tables . . .everything. (I had no idea how many little details I didn’t notice before then.)

We also had to turn in over a 100 sketches of furniture.

Filling up the Furniture Notebook Pages

I decided I’ll flip each sketch over and start sketching on the blank side. I also want to try to do something with the furniture side, because my sketches are very plain. I had very little drawing experience at the time and I was overwhelmed by the assignment.

sketchbooks-5

Some aren’t so bad, like these two. They could be better but they’re not as bad as some of the others I shamelessly turned into my professor.

Chair Before

1. (11) Chair:Cupcake

This chair is the 11th sketch. (I chose it in no particular order.) It’s not too bad for a contour sketch. Everything makes sense and it’s clearly a chair.

Chair After

 

1. (11) Chair2:Cupcake

It reminded me of a chair you’d see in a 1970’s den so I added a wooden wall, a sunburst mirror, and attempted a shag carpet. A bookshelf, some lamps, and maybe a house plant would also be good additions.

Cupcake on the Back

1. (11) Cupcake:Chair

I’ve been talking about drawing cupcakes so my mom suggested I go ahead and draw one on the blank side. My boyfriend makes fun of me for always adding bursts in my background, saying it’s my signature holy Jesus background. He’s silly.

I used graphite pencils and it was really good practice. Most importantly, it was low pressure and fun, my current goal for drawing.

If you have any suggestions for something you’d like to see drawn just let me know in the comments. And if you have any empty sketchbooks go fill them up. In my next post I’ll talk about the Cornhole game paintings I just finished.

Happy 4th of July and Quick Update

Cornhole Paintings

I’m so excited to say that I have finished the paintings on the cornhole game for my customer. It started out with some Dallas Cowboy stickers and she requested an underwater scene with a shark and an octopus. The pic on the right is about halfway through the painting progress. I’m still adding a few coats of varnish and I need to photograph the finished product and deliver it on July 4th.

Everyone badgered me about the toothless shark until I finally painted in some teeth 😂.

New Drafting Table

I bought a drawing table that I am so happy with. Actually, my dad bought it for me as a 3 month early b-day present. I love it. It has surprisingly good quality for just $100. It was easy to assemble and doesn’t take up very much space at all. If you’re looking for a good drawing table, I highly recommend giving this one a try. And they delivered it only 2 days after I ordered it.

table

New Lenses

I also bought 2 new lenses, that I haven’t started using yet, because I was making the paintings my priority. My Nikon D3100 is apparently discontinued and I only ever bought one lens, and the two lenses I just purchased were very affordable. One is a Holga lens. I’m not so sure about it, I still need to use it, but it was really cheap so why not. The other is a 50 mm lens.

Happy Independence Day

I have a bunch of drawing and art ideas I’m going to be doing and I’ll go into more detail on everything as I’m working on them. I just wanted to provide a quick update. I haven’t done fireworks the last few years, so we got a lot and I can’t wait to pop ’em.

fireworks-1

These packs have a good assortment so we got one of these.

fireworks-2

Gotta’ get Black Cats . . . and some stuff he threw in for free.

fireworks-4

I chose these two because I love muscle cars and horror.

fireworks-5

fireworks-3

And the finale. There’s always one that grabs my attention when I walk in, and it was Kabuki. It looked cool to me and after he described it I decided that’s the one to get. What’s your favorite fireworks? I like ’em all! 😝 Have a Happy 4th of July!