Friday, March 12, 2010

More life drawing

I have many tasks on the go this month - but keeping my online venues up to date doesn't seem to be one of them. I'm coming around though - and soon will get the website updates finished and another newsletter out.

Running parallel to that I have also put several of my in-progress scratchboards to the side in favour of doing some different techniques. Loose... sketchy... painterly.. those are my guiding words for this late-winter/early spring period.

There are my life-drawing classes (here are some products of the last couple of weeks). This is a great way to force a looser, more gesturely sketching technique. Our instructor emphasizes the sketch and it is a wonderful feeling to capture that .. something. Sometimes it is the gesture, sometimes the mood, sometimes a particular beautiful angle, sometimes just the right play of contrasts. These are things that you can be in danger of losing as a painting/scratchboard/drawing gets 'finished', a reminder of what I want to preserve is tremendously helpful when I go back to my hyperdetailed, meticulous boards again!

Along the same lines I've been doing more little sketches and then also some scratchboard paintings (as I must always come back to my first love). I alluded last post to working in Charlie's technique - a more painterly approach to scratchboard than what I usually do. Now I have no real desire to paint buffalo (sorry you bison fans out there) so I started with what I do know - the boys:

Close to complete "Brothers" - 18x24" whiteboard/india ink

"Brothers" is india ink on whiteboard - scratched with a steel wool and fibreglass brush. It's not done yet - Michael's face needs work, Dufus' fat-folds need work.. but it's getting there. This photo is really terrible - on the original the contrast is better and there are some great, subtle and dare I say even borderline abstract textures in the 'solid' parts. I will post better photos when the piece is completed. This has now officially become my largest scratchboard!

And the other 'painterly' board - this one is literally just barely started. Again, using Charlie's techique but this time with colour instead of just india ink. I've been dying to do one of these, of course now that it's started I have no idea where I'm going!

Just barely started "Emma" - 16x20" whiteboard/ampersand ink

The technique is very different than my usual coloured whiteboard process of many layers of subtle, even washes alternating with scratching. The basic concept of ink/scratch/ink/scratch is the same - but I'm allowing much more of the brush strokes, bubbles, uneven layers and... well.. character of the ink to come through. I'm using wide, sweeping scratches with the steel wool and I will only put fine detail in certain areas as the piece progresses further.

So I guess I do know where I'm going... it's just a road I've not really traveled before, so I might make some wrong turns along the way. Honestly, as an artist, if you don't travel some new roads from time to time it is certain you will stagnate. And I was feeling a little stagnant over the winter which I guess is what (in hindsight) prompted these new explorations. Little Abbie, the snow leopard, Nessie's BIG board... those are all waiting for me and once I've had my fun with painting I'll get back to them. But for now... loose... painterly.. I can do it!

Thanks for stopping by!
~ Pam

(PS - And to you fellow artists out there.. yeah, I know even my 'loose and gesturely' is still tight as a steel drum. But it's all relative! :D)

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