I’m still here, working through the exercises in my expressive drawing course. Overall I’m still really enjoying it. The exercises are confirming my love for working in mixed media on paper, so much so that it might be another month or two before I go back to oil painting.
These first two images are experiments in creating narrative scenes. Using imagery from a variety of photographs, sketches, and previous exercises, I combined unrelated pictorial elements to make these scenes. I started with no particular themes or ideas, but as the images came together I found myself spontaneously thinking up narratives to go with them. I really liked this, and would like to incorporate it into future work. How delightful is the idea of a piece that inspires stories to be written in the viewer’s mind? Sounds like something to strive for in my art.
Below are six partial faces. I am so bad at knowing when to stop, and it’s twice as hard when the goal is to create an image that is incomplete. There’s something I like about each one of them, but they could all probably use another pass. Perhaps I’ll come back to them later.
All of these pieces are primarily ink and ink wash.
A work in progress for you today, the very last day of Art Every Day Month. Today my expressive drawing course is tackling architecture, which is a different challenge than we’ve had so far. Mostly we’ve been looking at organic shapes until now. How to maintain expressiveness while communicating straight lines and right angles?
I ran out of daylight on this one, so I’ll have to come back to it tomorrow and hope that the light conditions are similar. It’s the view out my studio window, a view I never get tired of. I’d like to build up more layers on top of what I have now, and create some areas of detail and others of lost edges and haziness.
Thank you so much to all of you who have been visiting and commenting here during Art Every Day Month. It has been a lot of fun, and I feel so much warm, fuzzy appreciation for all of the kind support you’ve offered me. I plan to continue to post about my progress with expressive drawing and everything else I get up to in the studio, just not quite as often as we head into December.
The end of the month is sneaking up on us, I fear. Today I took an unsuccessful piece from earlier in the month and worked a portrait on top of it. I enjoyed the process but I think I took it a little too far – it was more interesting when more of the earlier image showed through. Plus I was a little too aggressive with my mark-making, shredding the paper in places (like around her cheek). We’ll just call it another learning experience, shall we? I could have avoided the tears if I had just put it aside and worked on something else in between some of the wet layers. Always good to have several pieces going at once, isn’t it?
Today’s assignment was to draw a series of Muybridge poses using layers of gesso and marks-all pencil. I tried it twice, but I’m still disappointed with the results. Both would have been better if I had overlapped the figures more, been more forceful with the pencil marks, and been more expressive with my mark-making. Probably if I spent more time with them, I could bring them to a more satisfying place, but I’m not sure whether it’s worth the time. Perhaps I should just move on to the next exercise.
I think I’m disappointed with these in part because I was so happy with the portrait exercises from earlier in the week. I feel like I’m going backwards somehow. Perhaps it just means that I need to work on my figure drawing skills more. It’s always good to look for opportunities to develop as an artist.
OK, I don’t really know what’s going on here. There are bits I like, here and there, so overall I’m going to consider it a successful experiment with a new technique. This week my online course is all about pushing things further by building up layers. This piece has many layers of inks and ink washes. It might be worth re-attacking at a later date with different materials, or maybe it’s just going in the recycle bin. Time will tell.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I baked a pumpkin pie this morning and now the whole house smells like pie and I’m wondering how I’m going to keep myself from eating the pie before dinner tonight.
This was an exercise in discipline, in a way. The idea was to build up the image using only ink wash lines with a small brush.
This was an exercise in adding and taking away using pencils, graphite powder, and erasers, leaving a history of mark-making on the page. I think I could have pushed it further, but I started to run out of daylight. I’ve found that I can work comfortably after dark with bolder materials such as ink and even charcoal, but for materials such as oil paint or (as it turns out) graphite, my studio lighting seems insufficient for me to see as much nuance as I want to. With the short days in Scotland these days, I’m going to have to either shift all my studio time back to the mornings, or figure out more lighting.
For this one I used the exact same reference photos in the same configuration as my piece from two days ago. I almost ever do this, but I figure there’s probably a lot to be learned from repeating an exercise so closely. For this one I wasn’t happy with how faint the white ink was, so I augmented it with some other white materials – first a water-soluble wax pastel, and then a big stick of white charcoal.
More experimenting with my new white ink today. As suspected, it’s not as obvious on white paper, even when layered into dark areas. It does add some nice subtle tonal variations in some spots, however. I should try it on a flat surface, where it will have the chance to pool instead of just dripping down the page.
I woke up to find I had sold a painting on Etsy overnight. I love waking up to messages like that. One of my last Munich Christmas market paintings is off to Australia today.