Wandering in Cubism with a straight edge and some jars

I came across Picasso drawings such as the 1912 head of a man shown below. I realized that all the lines could be done with a straight edge and curved objects; without any free-hand drawing. I began experimenting. Some preliminary results below. The shading, for me, has proved the greater challenge, and it will be seen that I have tried various approaches.

I have come to think that my artmaking (as well as my writing) is quite involved—in these lonely times!—with a search for people with whom to talk intimately or imaginatively—free-handledly! People who might understand me a little and wish themselves to be a little understood. (Btw: One may think similarly of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letter writing.)

From this perspective, it might be said that this post is curious to hear of others who may also be exploring Cubist techniques. And these Cubist-ish figures are among my many new friends!

A shout out to the models/artists, from I Shot Myself, ISM: Ann H, Anna and Eva M.

William Eaton. (Among my many essays on Dickinson: Dickinson’s Dying Tiger.)

Picasso, Head of a Man, MET
Picasso, Head of a man, 1912, now in the MET collection

AnalyCubeFun 1 (Anna, ISM), by William Eaton, 2021

AnalyCubeFun 4 (Eva M, ISM), by William Eaton, 2021

In these days of rage

Days of rage, watercolor by William Eaton, June 2020I like to say that drawing/painting is a dialogue with the model, and not only with her or him (or with a still life or landscape), but also with the lighting, the materials at one’s disposal, feelings pulsing in the artist’s and the model’s subconscious, the weather and politics outside, etc. The whole gestalt. (And may I underscore in these days of doctors and of fury, that the hard part about dialogue is not the talking; it’s the listening.)

These are the sorts of thing I like to say! But how often do I even come close to such ideals? Never mind in talking with a sort of partner the other evening, but . . . How often is my art work rather a series of haphazard events piled one on top of another, so that, for example, a bunch of red paint catches my eye, and then there’s a splotch on the paper I have to work around, and the coffee pot is whistling from the kitchen, a certain marker is near at hand, the paper gets too wet and tears, tears, and . . . good things (or bad) end up happening.

However, this watercolor (or perhaps gouache) of a red woman might be said to be what I’m after. The wonderful and creative model for the painting, Dominique, can indeed arch her back quite dramatically, but the buttocks and breasts here are from another realm, and the head here is headed toward a non-human one. But! Her pose (and perhaps her mood? I don’t know), and the dish of red paint that called out to me, and the politics of the previous weeks—the murder of George Floyd by the police, the video of the murder, and the subsequent (understandably!) angry protests . . . they came together on my piece of paper. What I like especially, besides all the red, is the way some Dominique doppelganger, and especially her left fist, seems trapped or encased within the black lines.

Another thing I like, and keep coming back to, is the French expression “bête comme un peintre”: dumb as a painter. It is pejorative, except I embrace it, in the sense that, unlike in writing, one can paint without thinking, and in this way say loudly what you have to say!

Initially, “cleverly,” I titled the piece in my trilingual way “Color, calor, colère”: Color, heat, anger. But then I realized the better title was “Days of rage.”

— Text and image/painting by William Eaton

New work, finally!

It’s not that during the pandemic I haven’t been making art. Quite the opposite. Painting, painting, painting! And just now finding a moment to stop, catch my breath, post a few images of the recent stuff. Some of the new I put in the “slider,” for viewing tout de suite. A few more images here below. This is hardly scratching the surface of all the work I’ve been doing. I hope to be able to post more soon. With best wishes to all, William Eaton


Turris, da Roma, I, by William Eaton, May 2020


Maria, portrait, May 2020, by William Eaton


Dominique et Bau, watercolor by William Eaton, May 2020


Amelia, watercolor by William Eaton, May 2020