January 27, 2011

I’m putting four black and white drawings on this blog to show how I sometimes use 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper without color.  These images are made with black ink which is lightfast and waterproof.  I’ve made quite a few drawings this way over the last decade and usually put a wash of watercolor over them and then color the image with prismacolor pencils to end up with the typical full-color drawings I exclusively display.

On the other hand, many black and white drawings are stacked up in a big pile here at home in the event I’ll get around to coloring them in.  I sometimes go through the stack and decide which ones will be colored in in any given week of work.

These figures on patterned background are fodder for my recent figure in landscape format which I made five of last summer.  I need to keep working a type of image to see what I can wring out of it that is worth working larger and with more effort.  These images, in other words, can be looked on as studies.

I’ve done many frontal faces attached to bodies over the last twenty years which when intensely staring and implying anger have been called “hellions.”  That name was given to these faces by David Thomas Roberts, who has collaborated with me in the past and for thirty years commented on my developing style.  I think my staring faces are sometimes “hellions” and sometimes they are staring faces.  On other occasions they look elsewhere and are in more of a 3/4 pose.

Without figurative works by David Thomas Roberts, Karl Wirsum, Martin Ramirez, Adolf Wolflii, I don’t know if I could ever have arrived at what I’m doing in this regard and what has to be considered my version of “human” figures.  I have another organic figure dependent on curves and amorphous contour lines which sometimes blends with the angles and straight lines of works such as these four, and sometimes is treated separately in separate works.  My organic line drawings of figures refer to Egyptian poses–profile of head, frontal shoulders, side view of hips and legs.    And, sometimes, these figures can actually appear to be reasonably accurate human bodies.  As much as I wish to be anything other than accurate, it can be satisfying to get the lines of the buttocks to thigh to knee accurate enough to suggest to an informed viewer I’m using models in studio while in reality I’m intuitively feeling my way toward accurate form.  

It is imperative to my art-making that all comes from the head and imagination rather than the “real” or “objective” world.  I’m at my weakest when I’m copying from nature.

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