January 19, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

3 Lines: Gregory Johnson




Gregory Johnson may have had the quote of the year on a recent Newshour interview with Margaret Warner. Listen closely. He tells her that in 2009 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula consisted of a couple hundred fighters. Now, after Obama’s drone killing campaign there are thousands. Why? We are killing innocents, families. These make people angry. Not a difficult concept really. But one we are deaf to. And one that makes this a self licking ice cream cone. And leaves them and us in a state of perpetually being f*cked.


Watch see it here: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/terrorism/july-dec13/yemen2_08-06.html

Gregory Johnson



  1. ALEX MCCRAE says:

    Hi Steve,

    “3 Lines”, indeed!

    Delightful little spare drawing there.

    May have even gotten away with 2 continuous lines, but that last(?) little descending eyebrow ‘swoosh’ (the shortish third line) does add to your capturing the essence of Johnson’s simply caricatured visage.

    This drawing approach so reminds me of one of Nicolaides’s (“The Natural Way to Draw”) then-innovative methods of solely looking at the human figure from a contour drawing perspective, starting from point “A” to point “B” while studying (and slowly drawing) the contours of the model, whilst never actually looking down at the paper. In a sense, aligning both seeing and touching (hand-to-pencil-to-paper) in one continuous exploratory exercise.

    At art school back in the early ’70s, one of my best drawing instructors, Hugh McKenzie, swore by the Nicolaides ‘method’, and used it faithfully in class. I particularly liked this not-looking-down-at-the-paper approach. OK…. I confess, I did peek on occasion. (Apparently, so did Bennett Cerf —from behind the requisite blindfold— on the popular TV game show, “What’s My Line?” . Hmm… I’m dating myself there. HA!)

    Always got a kick out of the end results of this contour drawing method… sometimes extremely wacky, other times, surprisingly, pretty satisfying… not just wild scribbles on the page.

    Important point was, we were attempting to hone our visual acuity in the service of hopefully improving our fledgling draughtsmanship skills… not trying to create the ‘perfect’ picture to frame and then put up on some wall.

    Your drawing also reminds me a bit of those marvelous, magical, twisted-wire sculptures by Alex Calder, his “Circus” tableau being, for me, his most memorable. His strongman lifting the set of barbells was a beaut. Little Sandy Calder was such a protean creative force, descending from a long lineage of creative Calders… two other Alexes, to boot. But I digress.

    Most folks know Calder for his monumental painted stabiles and fanciful, yet elegant hanging mobiles. But I found his modest-sized, playful little wire sculptures just as engaging and moving. It was essentially drawing in space, creating almost a gestalt illusionary gestural dynamic between two and three dimension, both working in unison. Quite a feat… if you can convincingly pull it off.

    Thanks for indulging me here, Steve, on this ‘arty’ tangent from the more serious tone, and substance of your thoughtful and important commentary.

    P.S.: —-I’ve had an abiding high regard for the work of both Margaret Warner and Gwen Efel (sp. ?) at PBS. Bill Moyers ain’t no slouch, either.