Friday, November 21, 2008

W. David Shaw: Two Brush Drawings... and A Cover.

Three years to the month after the article we've been looking at this week, American Artist magazine revisited W. David Shaw, this time even giving him the cover.

Inside, Shaw's work and accompanying narrative is featured in a brief 2-page article...

"The drawings reproduced here were made last spring on a short, relaxed sketching trip in the Cotswolds in England and along the Rhine. I traveled by plane from New York to london, rented a small car, and drove directly to the Cotswold hills. A little later I flew from London to cologne, then drove in a rented car down the east bank of the Rhine to Heidelberg, back along the west bank through the wine country to Cologne - and then returned to New York by plane."

"I traveled light - one medium-sized suitcase with the usual clothing plus a leather handbag that held all my sketching materials. Included were three books of 20-sheet Bristol paper, 11 x 14; one sable brush, series 7, #3; a bottle of jet-black ink; a plastic cosmetic jar for water to rinse the brush; a folding stool (canvas and aluminum); a package of facial tissues; and an aluminum sign-painter's mahlstick with a suction cup on one end and a rubber pad on the other (it was in three sections which could be put together easily)."

"When I saw a subject that I wanted to draw I stopped the car, assembled my few materials, sat down, opened the ink and put it on the ground to my right, fitted the mahlstick together, put the suction cup to the back of the drawing pad, took up the brush, and looked long and hard at the subject. Then I started drawing directly with the brush and ink. I put in everything that interested or amused me, ignoring the rest. In every case the result was something that I could not possibly have invented. Working within these limitations (I did not take a camera on this trip) I was at times forced to improvise - to think of some way to make this one tool do the many things I required of it. Since this trip was purely for relaxation - a sort of busman's holiday - I found it successful in every respect. Altogether, I managed to make sixty drawings." - W.D.S.

* My W. David Shaw Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous5:24 AM

    He "looked long and hard at the subject" before setting out with his brush.
    The freedom he gained by this procedure reflects on those drawings, it seems to me.

    Dunno what's more attractive here, reading the text or looking at the pictures.
    Quite inspiring, both...

  2. Fascinating-thanks!

  3. Leif. You deserve an award for the most consistantly fascinating and rewarding blog out there.
    Shaw's work is remarkable for its ease and verve.
    I'de love to have a look at the other fifty seven sketches.

  4. your blog is a true gem, a great source of inspiration!

  5. Anonymous2:58 AM

    Shaw does fantastic things with line width. Reminds me a little of some things DSM would do, though it's a little more tame...

    The blue of the American Artist cover creates a nice effect.

  6. Great article. Couldn’t write much better!