I am posting tree twenty-one not only because I just finished it, but just in case that is it for the drawing tonight. Not sure. Do I have nine more drawings in me? Yes. Can I finish them by tomorrow? Possibly. One thing that I have noticed is that these last few have taken more time, so it has been a little slower going than the first fifteen or so. Then again, I am doing more pre-drawing and the figurative elements take more time. Also slowing me down a bit- I am going back to the first five drawings and referencing the shape of the tree, patterns/motifs used, etc. in attempt to relate the last ten works in the series to the first drawings. Again, posting this one just in case I don’t get anything else done tonight but you never know…
Above (Left) Scooter has found a new napping spot. (Right) Tree Twenty-one, pleased to meet ya!
So after a pretty productive day/night of drawing, I am taking some time today to look for more images/organize and to write a little about my process.
On ORGANIZATION….I have created a visual filing process, which helps me when I am trying to draw my figurative elements and also gives me inspiration. When I am reading magazines and I am always looking for faces and bodies. I never really have anything in mind, just whatever catches my attention. Sometimes it is a particular pose, sometimes the angle of the head of the gaze of the eyes. I rip the images sorting them according to face vs. full body. Then I sub categorize the images into full-on view, three-quarter view, profile, looking up vs. looking down, seated figures, etc. I even have another category for patterns, which I sometimes find in textiles, jewelry design and other fashion-based sources. I have another category for hair, when I pictures that showcase hair, usually really wavy or wind-swept. (LEFT: just some pics of the mess I created this morning as I was pulling and sorting images. Notice I do have a studio assistant, he isn't very helpful though) Funny thing is, no tree pictures on file. Just thought of that. I guess I am not as concerned with the tree; it is more of a vessel for the figure and patterns.
Side note… I have had formal training in drawing from life. Did the whole standing for three hours, looking at the nude figure and trying to recreate it in conte crayon or charcoal. Loved it. I have done self portraits, set up mirrors in different settings to learn my own face and how to articulate it in paint and other media. I love drawing from life. But sometimes you want to start and stop a drawing, or you can’t get the model to stand still so my go-to source for ‘models’ for my work is the images I see in magazines. So for the tree series I am working mostly from photos, however that could be a whole other series…something to keep in mind. That would definitely be more gestural drawing, perhaps with charcoal or India ink and a long handled brush…
Now on to PROCESS….When it’s time to draw, at least for this series, I have started one of three ways. The first way of working on this series is to start with the tree outline first, then fill the shape with pattern and figurative work if it ‘fits’ with the image. Sometimes I will draw the face(s) first and then add the tree later; there really is no set formula I just decide when I sit down. I sometimes start by tracing a large circle on the page in pencil; I like the idea of the circle as a metaphor for showing something that is sacred…mandalas, halos, Byzantine iconography… the circle is just something that is aesthetically appealing to me.
In the first half of the series I sat down and just started to draw with a Sharpie. No pre-drawing. Somewhere around tree fifteen…I started doing more pre-drawing in pencil and not just sitting down and going straight for the pen, which allows me to make changes as I draw. For the most part each drawing have been completed in one sitting (the 18x24 drawings); time spent on each drawing ranges from twenty minutes to two hours. And I am not sure how other artists feel on this, but I just about always listen to music when I work.
So that is how I organize and my explanation of my process for this specific series. After finishing the twentieth drawing last night, working on the slide show and then organizing some of my images this morning I just felt like taking a minute to record and to reflect. That is really the whole reason I started this blog, to write what I am doing, how, why… and to really keep myself motivated to keep working.
Now, back to work! Gotta try to finish these trees so I can treat myself to some canvases tomorrow!
Please note: I edited the slideshow on 7-9-11 to show all of the drawings that I have been working on, not just the last three.
…drawing number twenty- DONE. *Here’s a slide show showing some of my day (and night) of drawing…and by the way, no more Sharpie, the ink looks blue-black.
...one change I forgot to make note of…I am still using the Faber Castell pen. The first seventeen drawings were Sharpie fine point, and I guess I switched to the new pen without even thinking about it. (compare one of the first drawings to the last one, on the right) Looking back through the other drawings, I do like the thick Sharpie line; there is something very strong about those heavy black lines, like they don’t mess around. Those lines mean business. The new pen…the line has more feeling, more intuition. This line might cry if you yelled at it. When I look at those lines I can see little wobbles, where I was deciding which way to go, took a breath, little pauses.
Another change in the last few drawings…I have started doing some light sketching with pencil before jumping in with the pen. Mostly on the figurative parts, but the last drawing I also gave myself some pre-drawing for the tree. It seems like in the first drawings I was really exploring pattern and motif I love in Klimt’s work, and gradually worked towards adding figurative elements; exploring ‘Le Style Mucha’… his ‘macaroni’ hair and use of the female form . I know that part of this is because I have been drawing so many of these trees, but also probably because I have created them on different days, with different influences inspiring me on any given day.
So, back to drawing utensils… I like both, but I think that there might be too big of a difference, so I may consider using both pens. My worry is that the ink won’t match…guess I will just see what happens. Oh, by the way- tree number nineteen is complete (below). Now on to tree twenty!
…admittedly, that was a cheesy title for the blog, but I couldn’t resist. I am, in fact, sitting back at the proverbially drawing table, just finished the eighteenth tree drawing in the series. I guess it could be considered the twenty-eighth three drawing if you count the ten small ones, or even the thirtieth tree drawing if you count the two from the trip to the west coast…no? I agree, it is the eighteenth, in the series of thirty 18x24 drawings. I hope to have the thirty drawings completed by Sunday. I spotted some canvas packs in Michaels, and with the trusty coupon (that you always have to wait to use, I hate that) I was thinking about going in on Sunday and purchasing some canvases and maybe do some paintin’.
So…where was I? Oh yeah, tree number eighteen is completed, now back to the drawing board. (insert goofy laugh)
..still out here on the West Coast and just loving life. I didn’t really sit down and do any drawing in San Diego, but take a minute this morning and draw a little something, working within a circle format. I think I may do five more of these, I like the confines of a circle, like it is containing the drawing- a little visual tension. And I think we all know I will be breaking out of the circle in later drawings, but for now it is nice to have a boundary for the drawing to ‘live’ in. Today, heading out to the Sawdust Arts Festival in Laguna Beach…ready for some inspiration from the local artists....special thanks to Lauren and Ryan for being such awesome hosts, and planning this amazing day!
Somewhere up in the sky I did manage to make a little art, at least one drawing. Whew- talk about cramped working conditions! Thankfully, I am left-handed so the only person I bothered was John, and he was willing to endure the occasional elbow jab in the name of art.
I added some watercolor to today’s drawing, so this was new. For the CA trip I also scaled down the size of the work, leaving my 18x24 watercolor pad at home on the table in favor of a smaller Bristol Board pad, I think it is 9x12? Too lazy to go check in my bag right now (still getting used to the time difference, 3:25 back home= 12:25 here in San Diego) Back to the paper…I really do like working on Bristol board, or a smooth watercolor. I like to feel like I have the option to switch from drawing media to painting/collage and the paper can take it. So this lil’ pad of Bristol should help me to capture some of the inspiration I feel when we come out to the west coast.
...just a gal trying to get this art out of my soul to share with the world on a DAILY basis...no big deal...check out my ramblings!-JLG