2. Words AND picts >> scroll down and read until you fall over in boredom.
"A Natural Pearl In My Careless Hand." (2012)
Artwork progress report.
Update: (re-framed) April 18, 2013.
Artist précis: this pencil drawing has been MADDENING. This is the least fun AND the MOST exhilarating pencil drawing that I have EVER drawn. Why? The @#$!! gradient that expands outward from the apple. Most of the time I just seem to be pencilling in ultra thin layers of graphite trying to sync the radiating waves up to each other (drawing something most people will probably never really notice). Sometimes it feels like I'm JUST coloring in the drawing...not drawing it. LOL.
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The artwork blog (+ picts).
The girls, the apple and the guy.
I found the photo of the two girls shopping the closing of a Barnes and Nobles store. This image (of the girls) came from a really cheesy calendar that I bought for $1. I don't know why I bought it, but that's what I do: I collect pictures. I don't judge them, I collect them. It's a COLLECTive subconscious thing. (What's that? Ask Jung.) LOL.
Anyway. The girls, the apple and the guy started this particular pencil drawing. I liked the guy for lots of reasons (symbolically speaking). There's the business suit, the not-so-normal behavior of dancing AND the box. It might be somewhat coincidental but I just finished a drawing featuring boxes. Hmmm and Go Figure. I like to carry symbols throughout the collection. It is hard enough following what I am doing (art-wise)...without forcing everyone to start COMPLETELY fresh (on the symbol side) each and every time. Anyway. Onwards. The apple. A favorite symbol of mine. I really like the symbols that have MANY layers of meanings and this particular one crosses from the B.C. to the new millennium. Wow. Talk about LAYERS. At this point in the collage, I felt a need for something medieval (on the right side of the drawing). Death works well there. Death/change, etc. Another potent symbol. Especially when it is noted that both Death/change and the business man are in similar positions and both are dancing. Hmmmm. I am NOT going to think about it at this stage. Right now it is JUST about capturing the Art wave and riding it through. I'm letting the pencils do the thinking baby, cause real thinking is for later. The guy and the apple came from the local newspaper. Death/change came from the internet. You would not believe how many times this image popped up. VERY popular. Ironically, also VERY medieval. PLUS: (apparently) VERY collective subconscious indeedy. ALL of THAT pretty much SCREAMED "use me!" LOL. The tree is from my neighborhood. These trees have wonderful lines. I noted this and hoped for a tree need to pop up. Well, it did and I have a camera so that worked out well. Now that the collage is done, the graphite can get underway.
Experimenting with the pencil lines.
About 20 copies of the collage were printed out so I could draw hair and ropes around the girls. I wanted to experiment with the pencil lines a bit. The problem was: interesting patterns would crop up but I wouldn't like the ENTIRE effort. In theory, the plan was to copy bits and pieces, ...merge the best of each and then take THAT to the paper. Instead, I would get carried away (over and over again) and loose focus somewhere along the line. This made for many, many sketches (and a LOT of man hours). Me and a cup of coffee, pencil and hardcopy would hit the chair. The fingers tried to work through the problem-o. It was fun at first. FINALLY, the idea of minimalizing the curves down to just ONE line each occurred. Simple lines were drawn for directional and design purposes. Details could be filled in later AND the final design would be MUCH easier to translate to the drawing paper. Too cool. It worked like a charm. Now I was READY to start penciling in the BIG picture...but... as for the drawing paper ... (awkward silence) ...
PAPER??? This is just blowing my mind.
If you've read many of these artist blogs, you KNOW that I've (recently) had PROBLEMS with my drawing paper. TOO much pencil and the drawing paper warps. Too much kneaded eraser and ditto again. Trying to mat a drawing with a pre-cut white mat made me realize that my paper was NOT REALLY white (as advertised). During the course of this ongoing argument (!@#$!!) with my drawing paper, sketch pad after sketch pad was purchased at the local art supermarket/franchise store (each featuring heavier and supposedly whiter paper). STILL NOT HAPPY and READY to draw, I hit the internet. Luckily for me, I found a local art store and a wonderful man who talked me off the ledge. He was a fount of information about artist drawing paper and this store carried a lot of choices. Who knew? I know this sounds stupid but I never thought about drawing paper until the last couple of years. I was MUCH more concerned with the act of drawing Art. THAT was my focus. I have to say, this new professional grade art paper (Canson) is WONDERFUL. It's more white than anything previously purchased AND because it is 100 lb. weight, it seems to really take the punishment. The right paper REALLY does make a world of difference and I am SO HAPPY. It's a luxurious experience. Yes, really. This is just blowing my mind. It's just PAPER and I feel like I bought myself a mink coat. You should have SEEN the smile on my face as I bought it home. Jeez. We're talking Paper here. Who frickin' knew it could make SUCH a difference? Only an artist could get SO EXCITED about drawing paper. I'm sure a teacher somewhere somehow talked about artist's drawing paper and I'm SURE I zoned it out ...'cause that was a BORING detail and I wanted to DRAW. LOL. Anyway. I paid for my paper and I am NOT getting paid to say this: if you live in St. Petersburg (FL)... check out the Central Art Supply Company on Central Avenue. Support the ARTS baby!
It was just for a minute, ...passing through, from here to there.
Alfonse Mucha was famous for drawing beautifully patterned hair on graceful female figures. Very art deco/art nouveau. Very beautiful lines. I saw something by Mucha, or an imitator of his art, early on in life. I barely remember the moment but the impact was HUGE. I saw... a drawing (or painting) of a woman with beautiful hair flowing ALL OVER the place. It was the line that drew me. The art deco line. I saw this image on a mirror (...?), in passing. It was just for a minute, ...passing through, from here to there. This glimpse of something ELSE became fundamental to my (early) style. Later on I discovered Mucha and KNEW that I had found IT (the ghost in my machinery). Add this to living in Japan (outside Tokyo) during a few formative years AND the resultant HEAVY exposure to anime at a tender age ...and you can SEE some of the fundamental influences running wildly through the artwork. BIGtime.
Following the pencil across the paper.
This pencil? This drawing? One or both is VERY bossy and demanding right now. Usually I draw from left to right, up to down (to keep from smudging the graphite as I draw). This drawing is REFUSING to let me work thataways. FIRST I had to flesh out the hair lines, now I HAVE to set the tonality of the background. A sort of sound wave action is coming off of the apple. The amount of fade out is dictated by this action. Add to this the variable of the darkness of the tree contrasted to the darkness of the night sky AND the fact that the skeleton is the whitest point in the drawing (which SHOULD be in the DARK)... and you have deep TROUBLE brewing. This is really heavy man and waaay complicated. The big doubts are creeping into my mind once again. LOL. Am I doing the right thing? Is this TOO intellectualized? How can it be? I'm not thinking about it. I'm following the little voice that comes direct from the gut. I am following the pencil across the paper. That's what you do. Right??? Ugh.
These are ALL (mostly) useless.
Here are some of the more successful rope sketches. LOL. The REALLY funny thing about these??? I redirected the way the hands are working, and decided NOT to incorporate the lines from the photographed bikini's ...and that changed THE ENTIRE PENCIL DRAWING. These are ALL (mostly) useless.... Oh well. Pencil to the ready and onwards...
The drawing can begin (again).
I am JUST going for it. So, step #1 is to set the background colors. Pencils have been picked, gradients chosen ...it's go time. The drawing can begin (again). NOTE: this photo is pretty DARK ...so YOU can see the lightly penciled lines.
Differing shades of graphite.
It's funny...but I feel like I am JUST coloring in everything (there seems to be no creativity involved AT ALL, it's just a LOT of technical stuff going down). UGH-O. There are, a minimum of three layers on EACH sketched in bit o' paper above. Some of the areas have seven layers, each comes from a different pencil :) It's very tedious. You COULD call it relaxing if you were DETERMINEDLY optimistic. LOL. If I rush ANY of it, it shows. Soooo, little bitty, thick coats of graphite ...one-at-a-time ....it's onwards with patience at the fore... I'm glad Gary is making musical things happen on the other side of the house. I can hear it ALL and it is calming my turbulent beast. DOWN baby DOWN. Draw pencil draw. Don't ask questions. LOL.
Pencil combination experiments.
Part of the NEED to lay the background down first is getting from point A to point B. The DARKEST point (the layer nearest to the apple) needs to be a DARK shadow... but there are going to be things in front of IT that will (also) be dark. Anything in FRONT of THAT darkness... would need to be DARKER... which means: the bottom wave of the tree must be REALLY dark ...but not TOO DARK. Ditto with the reverse: the lightest point (the right side of the drawing) ...which holds the skeleton (the whitest point of the drawing). PLUS: if the right side of the drawing is TOO light, the viewer's eye will skid right OFF the drawing. The eye MUST be re-directed back INTO the drawing... Soooo, pencil combination experiments ensued: how to get from here to there. Sheesh. This is becoming a REALLY complicated drawing for such a simple layout. Ugh. Any-friggin-way...
THIS is how IT happens.
This is terrible. I KNEW that it had been quite a while since the website had been updated. I KNEW it, but tried NOT to think about it. I KNEW that making ART had become a VERY sporadic and somewhat tenuous thing (recently)... but I ignored that fact until this very moment. ARGH. THIS is how IT happens. One-step-at-a-time, you walk away (but REALLY mean to turn back any second). Before you know it you are MILES away from where you temporarily stopped. One step here, one there. $#@!!! BULLshit. Anyway. A LOT of Life happened between then and NOW. Stuff like... discovering that the NEW paper for my new pencil drawing was SO nice and thick. And, this GREAT paper took to pencil SO well that I started adding even MORE layers of pencil to the mix. Guess what happened. I started (accidentally) BURNISHING the paper. This doesn't sound like a BIG deal but glare had accumulated... My eyes hurt. I had too much light in the wrong places, like...EVERYWHERE (the glass under the drawing, the location of my lights, etc. etc.). I knew that things had become somewhat uncomfortable when I realized that my enthusiasm was sub-par. I put this down to the seemingly over redundant layering. Yeah right. I was ....uncomfortable ...drawing? (NOT layering. Drawing.) Are you kidding? This was SO WRONG! Sooooo... I decided to completely rearrange the drawing room. Completely. This involved several trips to the local home improvement warehouse to get Plexiglas sized to sit my drawings on (cutting glare down but also putting a working surface OVER the beautiful wood grain of my drawing table). Colored Plexiglas would have been BETTER, but more expensive. I'm just GLAD to get the glare down to a reasonable level. The temporary east side studio (aka dining room) has become The Permanent Art Studio. A very good thang, but unfortunately this = time spent not drawing. This was followed with Halloween costume making, setting up computers and figuring out the MANY side issues of music software, etc. etc.. I kept trying to draw a little bit here and there, but....neither Gary nor I have made much Art in the last couple of months. UGH. We are both OVER reality'd and super dooper ready for the annual artist retreat. BIGtime. Soooo, bear with me, I am trying to think back and reconstruct some of this drawing time line and put it in perspective (while beating myself over the head with this lesson re-learning bit). This is just awful. Between August and December only BITs and pieces of drawing. Teeny, itty bitty tidbits. Step. Step. Baby step. Back to the beginning. Start over. Do not pass go. Jeeeez.
Ok. Details. Drawing the background to this pencil Art has been a real pain in the tush man. Trying to get the graphite gradients even steven has seen incremental additions of complete craziness. Sometimes this involves going over a section with the lightest pencil (from the current arsenal) and using the very lightest of strokes ...only to realize THAT wasn't quite dark enough... and... re-going over the entire section in an extremely light way ...ONCE AGAIN. And THEN..., having to re-darken all sorts of other bits too (i.e. stars, etc.). I am going to be a stark raving looney before this is all done. I really think there are thirteen to twenty layers on some bits of this paper (MORE on other bits). Jeeeeeeez. It's my fault. I'm the one with the vision. I could fix this. I won't. I refuse. I'm NOT COMPROMISING. So there. (I hope the muse gives me credit for this one. LOL.) It is ALL GOING TO BE WORTH IT. Right?
This pencil drawing is correctly named, "A Natural Pearl In My Careless Hand." Holy cow I need to be careful and re-effort my energies at keeping life in perspective and ART at the forefront. I appear to have gotten complacent. You CANNOT believe how ironic that statement is. Gary and I are ALWAYS effort-ing ART. ALWAYS. And still...there is NOT enough time in the day. Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket. Of course, then I'd have to remember to check the numbers (as IF). LOL
Yes, I worry about it CONSTANTLY and YES, I keep on doing it regardless.
Look carefully and you can see one of the many re-layerings of pencil going down on the drawing (check out the 6th layer out from the apple). The background is slooooowly getting darker and darker. I worry that it will be too dark here and there and not dark enough elsewhere... Yes, I worry about it CONSTANTLY and YES, I keep on doing it regardless. LOL. Why? What. How. Fill the head with facts (symbols, mythologies, etc.), fill the heart with soulFULL thangs, and let the gut/muse interpret. Follow THAT blindly across the drawing with your handy dandy pencil baby and... BELIEVE.
If I draw this correctly, it won't REALLY be noticed.
Still penciling in the background of my slowly growing drawing. The funny thing? It's just like the boxes in the LAST drawing ("Just Passing Through... "). If I draw this correctly, it won't REALLY be noticed by most people.... It's ONLY when you do it WRONG, that EVERYONE notices "it". LOL.
Take a good look at the skeleton.
Ok. Technically the background is "done" (at least as of this moment). LOL. Take a good look at the skeleton. I have been playing with putting a shadow around him. The shadow has come, gone and taken a few different shapes. NOW, it is quite DEFinite. Which is the REAL one? The skeleton? Or, the graphite shadow of the man that the skeleton is inside? I don't know right now. I'll KNOW later, when I have the time to actually do some DEEP thinking on the subject and actually LOOK at the drawing. Right now, I just know that it FITS just right.
THIS is NOT about being clever.
Interesting things are happening to the part of the drawing holding the business man. His box has become battered. A QUICK, preliminary thought on the battered box: Yes. That symbol works on many layers.* I can feel meanings accumulating in this drawing (probably as deeply layered as the pencils). Symbols feel right when I can "think" of a couple of different interpretations (without diving too deeply into the pool so to speak). Interpretations with elbow room... THAT means the symbol can work in this work of art. MORE layers of thought/meaning will come later. AND, even MORE will come when I hear what YOU think. LOL. It's amazing baby what I hear. You guys think of things I NEVER thought of, but that's all cool beanies. It means that the pencil is doing the job RIGHT. The Artwork must be strong enough to carry the layers AND open enough that all thoughts aren't forced down a one way street. There IS a story and there IS a reason THESE symbols have been put in place...BUT, it's not about what I want it to be ...it's about what is being brought back from that other place (where the muse lives and the subconscious reigns supreme). It's ultra cool when layers of meaning are created by combining symbols. Argh. This is SO HARD to explain. I don't think I've gotten that right yet but my fingers are tired of typing and I've got too much to do. I'll try again another time... One dimensional art is NOT what I'm trying to create here. LOL. THIS is NOT about being clever. THAT is too easy. This is about ART.
The pencils: bringing the drawing out of the darkness.
It feels SO GOOD to see the pencil bringing the drawing out of the darkness. VERY interesting things are coming slowly to mind (re: words, letters and how I mean to color in his business suit). Sometimes I think that the very fact that I am SO BUSY and SO FRUSTRATED at my efforts to GET to my ART... adds an intensity to my pencil that might otherwise be lacking (if I were complacently being even happier than I am now). LOL. I don't know. That's what I tell myself. Maybe I would be thinking even deeper if I could do ART all of the time. A very academic question. Anyway. This drawing is about to get VERY interesting (if I can pull this off). I am VERY worried about it getting to be too clever. UGH.
NOW I can let the artwork bring it on.
Ok. It's time to get REAL baby. There won't be anymore updates until after the new year starts and this doggone pencil drawing should take one MIGHTY leap forwards! I feel the lure growing because NOW I can let the artwork bring it on (like I CAN'T when I'm more anchored into the "real" world). However, don't get me wrong. This is no fantasy la la land of happiness with friggin' blue birds buzzing around contentedly and idiots skipping around blindly. It's NOT Disney on this end. There ARE cusswords during the hard moments. And if you are doing it right and pushing the envelope (rather than sitting on laurels)... then there are going to be LOTS of hard moments and colorful phrases. It's a confrontational thing: if drawing REAListically wuz EASY ...people would be doing it right and left, eh? It's not EASY. It's do-able.
Anyway. Here's one for you right now: notice the upper right hand corner of the drawing. The pencil stroke has been turned into a blurry region (as in a fog, etc.). Things are blurring there. Disintegrating. As in, the farther one gets from the core/the truth, the blurry/foggier/more unreal. I REALLY hope that this is all pure goodness direct from the subconscious/muse/gut and NOT pure intellectual cleverness. There's a difference. And I'm NOT a big fan of super-dooper-in-it-just-for-the-cleverness-and-ego-gratification of THAT kind of Art. What? You say? There's a difference? I hope so. Plain ol' cleverness has no soul baby. Anyway. Merry, merry, happy, happy, happy, happy.
Letters were running across my imagination.
This photo was actually taken DURING the artist retreat. YES, the computer was on JUST long enough to work my way through an artistic issue. AND, that was IT. The computer went right off for the rest of the retreat. BIGtime. LOL. No temptation (because YES I also ENJOY webwork too). Right brain. Left brain. Even Steven shit on this end. THAT's the problem. Anyway. Back to the ART >>> I had taken the photo (BELOW) and blown up the dude on the apple. Letters were running across my imagination and I really wanted to let my fingers work their way through the possibilities... so multiple copies were printed and the pencil went to work, drawing :) Two sketches evolved (background and foreground letters). Ok. THAT done, it was time to move all of this theoretical shit onto the drawing board (so to speak). Well... before THAT could happen, I really needed to lay in the gradient that went with the suit. This process started with the lightest part and worked on down to the darkest layer. Seventeen re-workings and constant re-finessing (via the thinnest possible layer of graphite)... and the board is SO soaked in graphite that REALLY fine detail work looked to be somewhat out the window. Jeez. You should have SEEN the complex pattern that had been laid out. It was INTENSE. My apologies, but there is NO way I am taking the time to add THAT to this timeline too. LOL. Sorry Charlie. So anyway (AGAIN)... I started drawing in the big "M" that was supposed to be in the BACKGROUND of the suit jacket. Damn but it looked fine all by itself (without the intentioned "XYZ" on top). I was stuck. Go ahead with the original plans? Or VASTLY simplify everything (which looked to potentially be the probable BEST solution)... ???? Damnit. I needed to turn the computer on so my imagination could play around with the suit. Ok. So THIS photo (ABOVE) was taken right in the middle of the artistic dilemma >> the incredibly lovely moment when indecision was running amuck amuck amuck. As of the above second...MOSTLY background letters had been added as well as some of the super dooper favored frontline letters. Absolutely a-muck-up.
Graphite gradient complications.
The computer effort-ing confirmed that a vastly simplified combo was the BEST way to go. Five more letters were added and the "M" darkened (a couple of times until the perfect hue was achieved). LOL. This graphite gradient has a HUGE purpose but BOY is it a pain in the tush. My pencils and my head are TIRED of graphite gradient complications. LOL. And, you know what I'm going to say.... if it's done right ...how many people are not EVEN going to see it??? How do you miss THAT you say? It's a "seeing" thing (there's a LOT going on here)... hehehehe. Anyway. I'LL SEE IT. Here's another thing that will probably be missed for a bit... the font faces in the suit. Yes, there is also a REASON for those choices. I did not KNOW how cool this particular symbol was going to become. Really awesome. SO many layers of meaning so simply represented (at least from my perspective). LOL. An example? Ok. Here's just ONE of his layers: he changes his words as simply and quickly as he changes his clothes. AND, btw... the dollar symbol is not JUST/solely representing "greed". THAT would be too SIMPLE baby (and simple is simply too easy). Money is something that touches everyone and it touches in SO MANY different ways. There are LAYERS to the dollar symbol. There are LAYERS to everything. EVERYthing. The Drawing. The Pencils. The Symbols. Etc. Anyway. The artist retreat was FABULOUS. Gary laid out fourteen new songs. It took TWO WHOLE DAYS to draw the apple (and knife). That would have been FOREVER in "real" world time. We both had a BLAST. It was quite UN-real and super FANTASTIC. I am STILL relaxed. Every bone. I think that even my pencils are happy. AND, this was a good place to leave the drawing. I need to let my subconscious "think" on a few things. There are some BIG potential problems looming and I REALLY want to get the focus BACK onto the apple :) Anyway. Happy New Year!
A LOT of graphite groundwork was laid.
The New Year. A time to cleanse and scrape off accumulated crap and bad ideas. LOL. I can DO that :) That being said, onto a SHOCKING note: a LOT of drawing was done this last weekend. Ha. Ha. Ha. Artist note: the drawing is DEFinitely at an awkward stage but that is ok. I'm only slightly worried at the moment, give me a day or two to get more so. Anyway. A LOT of graphite groundwork was laid and yes, there was (also) tons of re-finessing. More shocking stuff. I DO know that next weekend the focus is going to be on the girls. There are a LOT of decisions that can't really be made until those girls are in focus. Right now it looks like an anime cell, NOT a serious work of surrealness ...and that is distracting. Once the girls are surREAL, THEN I'll KNOW how to tally-ho onwards. Maybe.
As this surreal work of Art steps out from the background, the blacks must get darker... which means I needed to dig out MORE pencils from the box. The newest additions to the current crop of pencils are: a 2 HB Mirado Woodtones 177-2, a 6B Design Drawing 3800 (Faber Castell) and a little yellow stub from the NightHawk Restaurant (?). I have no clue where that restaurant is located (I travelled a lot at one time) and I collect pencils from EVERYwhere. Too funny.
I am curious to know IF I can pull this off.
Can you believe that the face is actually a LOT easier right now ...than the hair? With this friggin' gradient going through the ENTIRE drawing...it is making life a LOT more complicated than normal. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeez. But, hey. It's kinda interesting too. I am curious to know IF I can pull this off. LOL. Go figure. The way NOT to be bored and/or repetitious is to make life real DIFFICULT for yourself. Too friggin' funny baby. BTW: I do NOT believe that I am going to get this drawing done in time for the naked/nude art show coming up (in Tampa). Entry forms needed to be done/turned in sometime in January (I "think"). Oh well. Maybe next year. ROFLMAO. As for right now? My drawings and artwork are pretty much a private thing between you and me babe. I am just TOO BUSY to find a space to show. And, "yes" I DO know that THAT is kinda important. I'm working it (just not right now). ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Over the hump and things are looking AWESOME...
*There's a four month difference between these two entries. The BIG, fully detailed explanation can be found in the News section, additional details are located in the doodle blog.
Ok. This is what happened that weekend (when I FINALLY re-started drawing THIS ONE). Gary and I had decided to take four days OFF. Boy did we need it. I NEEDED to work on this drawing and just friggin' GET OVER THE HUMP. I WANT TO WORK ON MY DRAWING. DAMNIT. Sooo.... day one, I'm sitting there...fixing something on the doodle. LOL. Of course. THEN, I sat down in front of the drawing and my head started HURTING. The girl on the left, her body crosses five different gradients alone. Jeez. My head was pounding pretty hard. Soooo..., I picked up my pencil and started working on her face and then her hair. The pencil went to work on the letters binding the girls ...and that was it. ...Awesome. Sometimes you just have to stop thinking about it and DO IT. I am SO OVER the hump.... and this baby is looking mighty awesome. Excitement is zinging in the air. If you listen hard you can probably hear a VERY BIG sigh of relief coming from a VERY happy artist. I am beginning to realize that I REALLY set myself QUITE the challenge with this drawing (and THAT's a double FACT JACK). Now I'm the one rolling my eyes. LOL. Anyway. Tomorrow morning: pencils at the ready freddy.
Focusing on the... breast?
I spent a lot of time penciling, erasing and re-penciling the breast of the girl on the left. Too funny. BECAUSE you KNOW... (say it with me), that if I draw it CORRECTLY it will barely be noticed. AND IT'S NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO BE NOTICED. So many things are only noticed (in Life as in Art)... if they AREN'T done right. Go figure. Anyway. This breast was not quite right. It looked fat and flabby. Ugh. This was coming from my imagination, so I needed to fix it or it would (eventually) start to BUG THE SHIT OUT OF ME. As for how to fix the drawing? I did NOT want to erase and re-start ...but there you go. It had to be done. The bikini sun tan lines were actually added to the drawing to give a definite shape to the breast. AND, the nipple was lowered (Gary pointed out, in passing, that it was a tad high). LOL. He was right. The really funny thing is that the penciled sun tan lines on the girl add a new symbolic dimension to the drawing that I really like. It works on MANY, many levels. Yeah. You know, screw ups are NOT always a bad thing. It's absolutely amazing how many times putting the extra time in (to fix something) ....leads to something even better. Something you NEVER would have thought of if you had let the original idea slide. Crazy but true baby. Don't be fooled by this happy talk. I was NOT HAPPY at the re-do. BUT, I am REALLY happy I did. LOL. Anyway. I was a tad worried that the original idea of leaving her panties ON in one (or two) of the gradients would get lost with this sun tan lines idea... but it's all cool beanies baby. The pencil and I still have a LOT of work ahead... but I am SO GLAD that I got past the headache.
Jeez.... this particular entry in the pencil drawing saga... does NOT sound like art talk, it sounds more like porn talk. Panties. Breasts. Nipples. Sheesh. ROFLMAO. Irony rocks baby. Especially when you realize that all of THESE might be the titillating details somewhere else, but in THIS pencil drawing... these are completely SYMBOLIC tidbits. I'm not making excuses, I'm laughing my tushy off. I R O N Y is a beautiful thang. THIS is all about the Art ...and art is about life, etc. etc. etc. La La La Di Dahhhhh.
A little bit of this and that...
This was one of those strange weekends where this pencil drawing really didn't seem to be GETTING ANYWHERE. I KNEW that I and pencil(s) were doing things ALL DAY LONG... but I couldn't really put my finger on what exactly was accomplished. LOL. There was a whole lot of drawing going on .... but it was here and there, doing this and that. I usually can't see the progress in that sort of drawing ....until I go to update this blog and put the anime together. Too funny. You and I, we see it together baby. Anyway. The arm of the man on the apple was tightened up >> an intended highlight was missing in action (from the left arm). The ropes around the girl were drawn, erased and redrawn ...sooo many times. A brand new strand of hair, down the back, was erased and re-directed (off into the night air). AND the BIG drawing effort on the body of the nubile nymph (on the left) REALLY commenced. AND..., of course, that meant a whole LOT of re-drawing of layers to match up the gradient...so that your eye won't really notice it at all. Can you hear the semi-hysterical laughter in that regards? ha. ha. ha. It is SO TRUE. Even I, who put the damn thing in there, ...find that I don't really notice the gradient ...when it is so natural that your eye flows right over it. Golly gee willickers batman, go friggin' figure. Anyway. The pencil drew things and I critiqued, erased and redrew the things over and over and over... Maybe it will be finished in the next month. Wouldn't that be fun? :) I'm babbling. I'm shutting up. I'm an artist, not a writer. Ugh.
A matter of artist and pencil going Zen...
Something really cool happened here. Every weekend, I TRY to FOCUS on getting TO my Art... and... THIS weekend, enough momentum was built up (via recent strategic stubbornness), that quite a LOT of drawing was done... without a ton of fuss. No cussing. Really. None. AND..., working on the drawing was actually quite natural. This is so twisted. I'm an artist. Drawing should ALWAYS be a natural act, not a fight of any sort (for any reason). Period. Ugh. This would be easier if I were terribly unhappy... but I'm not. I'm NOT satisfied but I AM happy. Sooooo, I'm okay with the fight. LOL. Anyway. The girl on the right has really taken shape (pun intended). The momentum thing was HUGE and really bought the stress levels DOWN so DRAWING could happen. Everything became a matter of artist and pencil going Zen. Once that got to rocking and rolling... the subject came up, of course, of the !@#$ GRADIENT. This meant re-visiting the female on the left and re-working HER gradients to get everything in sync. Big sigh. Delicate layers of graphite were incrementally added via an assortment of ever-darkening pencils... LOTS of each. The irony? After I got ALL of the layers working together nicely... I decided that the girl on the left needed to be a tad more suntanned. Yes. Really. And that meant even more microscopic and extremely delicate layers of graphite being added to the drawing. I'm also trying to keep the female on the right PALE, so I was actually holding my breath while adding in HER "darker" layer definition. Tooooo funny baby. You know, I understand that I have a small chip on my shoulder and that tends to push me into NOT sitting on any imagined laurels while working on these pencil drawings.... BUT REALLY. Maybe I'll do another pen and ink doodle after this drawing is completed. You know, relax a little. Take it easy baby. Like that's going to happen. Maybe. We'll see....
Cursed by the "r" word.
There was a LOT of stressing yesterday. Insane amounts of tension running amuck through the studio ... and it is all MY FAULT. I got cocky and started thinking thoughts like, "I'm going to finish this drawing this week" and "I'm almost done working on this drawing." THAT kind of thinking led me to believe that maybe I might Relax sometime soon and draw something FUN.
That's when IT happened, I wuz cursed by the "r" word. DAMNIT. I have done MORE erasing, in the last few days, than I want to think of. Jeez. it makes my head hurt to think of it. For example? The rope around the girl on the left's middle 'wasn't right' so I fixed it, then realized that I had just farted it up. UGH. I had to UN-erase and then RE-draw that line. THEN I noticed that the new hair part was too similar to the rope, ...so I drew, erased and re-drew THAT part of the drawing. THEN, the final layer of the gradient (right corner) caught my attention and became the next target for erasure. That turned out to ...actually be cool... after the fifth or seventh effort. LOL. It's possible that I re-drew that TREE branch ten times Saturday. THEN... (are you ready for it) ...I decided that the face of the girl on the left wasn't quite good enough AND it needed to be more bronzed. THAT was very early Sunday morning. The rest of the day, through the evening and into the night was all about putting out fires. OMG. UN-believable. I am breathing easier right now because it is not AS bad as it BECAME and MAYBE... on the way to (actually) BEing better. I don't know at the moment. I need to get past the panic. You should have SEEN her face around mid-afternoon. My eraser has REALLY gotten a workout. I AM SO GLAD THAT I AM USING REALLY THICK AND HEAVY PAPER TO DRAW ON. A year ago I met the man who talked me off the ledge and introduced me to a thicker paper*. "Thank You So Much" is all I can think right now. My old paper would be wrinkled to hell by now and I would have wasted an ENTIRE year of working on this drawing. I need to take a deep breath. Steady down and come back from the bad place. Ha. I will get back on the face this weekend and see what happens. Or, maybe I'll be a chickenshit and leave it right where it is. LOL.
*See: "PAPER??? This is just blowing my mind."
An acceptable degree of lightness...
I did NOT chickenshit out. LOL. I went right back to That Face (blonde on the left) and finessed it gently AND repeatedly with a sweetly light pencil: Eberhard Faber 6H Microtomic. Extremely light pencil strokes were very delicately added to the drawing of the face and highlights were erased into the hair (to round the head a tad...more). It's hard to see online but if you focus on the left side of her jaw... you can see SOME of the finessing that little pencil did... Soooo anyway..., it's turning out to be quite "Ok" that an ENTIRE Sunday was spent FREAKING out baby. It was for a good cause. Her face feels more right than it has so far. It's not perfect, but it is better.
Now. The female on the right. It seems somewhat logical to propose that IF the hair in one piece of the gradient is darker than the tree then the hair in the next segment should be darker too. Well, that wasn't EXACTLY how it worked out. HERE, in the part of the drawing coming under focus..., the hair was LIGHTER than the tree. HOW did THAT happen? This gradient is INSANE. Ugh. Anyway. The tree trunk behind the hair took a few turns underneath a very cautious kneaded eraser, until a more acceptable degree of lightness was achieved. Sigh. Pencils were picked up and put down in search of the exact shade of gray to fit the girl's hair into this particular space in the drawing.... AND another problem was discovered. It sure looks like the "Death" symbol is picking her brains or tickling the back of her head... Time to pull the pencils out again and experiment.... Do I really WANT to push the death symbol into the background? Turn her hair into a subliminal forest-y sort of thing? Take this out of the semi-triptych mode??? Hmmmm.... I don't know. Yet.
NOT Day and Night...?
I thought for a while that, maybe..., the two girls might be Day and Night. Have not and did not think about it too much. That's not my job at the moment. LOL. RIGHT NOW my job is to put pencil to paper and DRAW. Anyway. Back to the drawing board. I noticed that the hair of the female on the right kept going back and forth from completely DARK to highlighted*. I can't help but notice as this is the very LAST big thing I have to finish drawing and it is not going QUICKLY AT ALL. Ugh. In my head, I keep seeing her as more of a redhead.... AND the black hair doesn't feel quite right ...BUT the pattern of it does. I know, I'm rambling... but it's hard to explain how I CAN't know what's going on even through I'm the one drawing it. I'm running while blindfolded.... Anyway (AGAIN). I'm rambling. Now, the hair is both: highlighted and patterned out. This part of the drawing is NOT done, I am still working on it ...BUT, apparently, the girl (on the right) has become more a wild child. I'm beginning to suspect that it's more of a Normal vs. Wild Child sort of symbolism (although the Day and Night connotations are still intact). LOL. Either and or both make sense. It's all about the layers of the symbol baby. Nowadays.... "wild child" is a thoroughly marketed image in many female magazines, etc. It's a category as thoroughly patterned out as that of "princess, "seductress", "intellectual", or etc. etc. Which the concept of the patterned hair supports.... Day and NIght work too. Hmmm... this is getting VERY interesting. I can't wait to see how it all comes out ...AND, I am NOT thinking about this any more (until I'm done with the drawing). Layers and more layers & MORE layers.... AWESOME!
*This references the pict NOT posted from LAST weekend. The hair was completely highlighted from top to bottom via my handy dandy eraser. THEN..., a LOT of time was spent darkening a lot of the very same highlights. Now, I'm erasing SOME of the darkness I JUST drew in. LOL.
How to take the soul out of ANYTHING...
Sorry. Things have been CRAZY over here in the studio... and I am a tad behind. NO WAY you say. LOL. Anyway. What was going on a month ago... Hmmm. Let me think... Some of the girls' hair was darkened, some of it lightened. Pencil and eraser took turns playing across the paper. Quite often... across the very same spot (repeatedly). You know, I REALLY do love this thicker paper. It really takes the punishment of ongoing creativity... The path was sketched in, the shadowy man shape around the skeleton was darkened incrementally AND the LAST line of letters blocked into place. All of the layering, at this point, had become SO delicate because I was afraid I would make a wrong mark and RUIN the drawing that has taken me MORE THAN A YEAR TO COMPLETE. Now THAT's a head trip you don't want to get lost in. In fact, I became SO OBSESSED with making sure EVERYTHING was PERFECT.... that I started second guessing every little pencil mark and shadow. That's a bad thing to do to your drawing. You have to know when to quit and say, "ENOUGH". It's a danger point that every artist faces. Over-producing and over-polishing ANYTHING will take the soul right out of it. Think of over-grinding a diamond until nothing is left but a speck of diamond dust... Ugh. Not on my watch.
The demon called Perfection...
Okay. So now I had come face-to-face with the demon called Perfection. I had stared that baby down and told it to go away (see above). Of course that is the exact moment that I realized that I had a BIG decision to make that could sound like I was still dallying with the so called demon. Ironic. The question in the air: to outline the right-side girl's hair or not to outline. Well, not really wether to outline...just how darkly to do it.... The hair of the girl on the left is outlined in a shadowy and delicate sort of way. Should I continue in that vein? A delicately thick penciled line? OR.., with the more REGULAR, thicker dark stroke that I have ALWAYS used? Or... I mean, the hair looked fine as it was... AND I had JUST told myself (last weekend) that I NEEDED to quit being such a perfectionist AND I NEED to finish this drawing... BUT, I have ALWAYS outlined the hair. I tried a test version of the lighter, more shadowy line and it just made everything messier. Confused the space so to speak. Ugh. You can see my dilemma. Stop now and make sure that I do NOT second guess myself to death with this drawing ...OR... Experience has taught me that the only way to really bring the pattern drawn into the hair...OUT into the open is to frame the hair with a solid, BLACK line. I don't know why. It just works thataways. Until the hair is outlined with a thick dark line... it's a confusing mess. One big rats nest with a few interesting lines here and there. Somehow..., solidifying the negative space and formalizing the pattern just works and the whole thing becomes quite Art Deco/Nouveau and... the lines are beautiful. Alfonse Mucha knew all about this OUTline... Soooo, I pulled out my darker pencils and started experimenting with line widths, etc. etc. EVENTUALLY this drawing will be done. Really. And I am NOT over-producing... . . . .
Double damn aaaargh...
I facebooked this event about a week ago. To quote a line from the entry, "Flabbergasted and astounded were the two nicest words that came to mind." Jeez. Ok. The drawing was FINALLY DONE. I had pulled the selected frame OUT and started to put it all together...and ran into one small problem. The drawing was an inch short. NO FRIGGIN' WAY. Aaaargh. I just wanted to pound my head against the table. BIGtime. A few different solutions were considered and thrown out. Fact: this was the frame I wanted to use. Another fact: I wanted to try out a new idea. I wanted to frame this drawing as though it were a painting (aka no mat). BUT, after talking about the idea to a fellow artist, I found out that drawings are matted to protect the artwork from sticking to the glass AND from becoming corrupted through constant contact with the wood. Ok. Soooo, I talked to a professional and was advised that it might be possible to mimic the protective effects. To do so, I would need to use double-sided tape on the glass to stick very small pieces of mat to the glass and force separation between the glass and the artwork. Hmmmm... interesting. So, anyway... if THIS is what I wanted to do...then I was going to have to DRAW ANOTHER INCH ONTO THE DRAWING. Double damn aaaargh. There are SO many layers of pencil on this drawing. Each graphite layer is in a particular order to achieve a specific effect ...using a selected pencil... AND I DID NOT REMEMBER which, what, how or where... It took TWO days to draw that one inch (down the right hand side of the drawing). AND I am NOT even mentioning the effect on the compositional flow of the work...
That extra inch...
Actually... I kind of like what that extra inch did to the artwork. The girls are more centered than before. I prefer to avoid centering images because it makes the work way too static...especially given the semi-balance of the two outer figures ...BUT, it all works. The doggone gradient is actually pushing everything back to a nice off-balancedness. LOL. Go figure. The extra elbow room on the right allows the artwork to breathe a little more too. A real sweet spot to the whole thing is the new lines that were added to finish the hair that had previously run off the paper. It was an opportunity to formalize the Art Nouveau aspect of these lines, a challenge that I rather enjoyed :) Anyway. The drawing is framed and hanging on the wall as we "speak." Yeah. You want to hear a funny thing? Marilyn Monroe has been haunting my mind for the last couple of weeks. I found a photo of her and put it in my box a while back. She is on a bed... with her fingers to her lips (as though she had a secret to keep).... Anyway. This drawing is OFFICIALLY COMPLETED. Now I REALLY need to find time to find a gallery to show my Art in. I'll do that right after we shoot the video for Gary's next four videos for his new CD ....and after I finish his new CD website ...and after I get Marilyn to the drawing board....and after I get MY website redesign REALLY going ...and.... LOL. Yeah. Some day. It's going to happen. Just don't hold your breathe. I'm working on it. I mean I'm going to be working on it. Ugh.
Epilogue: Watching the mystery unravel...
Boy are there a LOT of words up there (above). More than a year's worth of words. I can't believe that I lost touch with the artwork like that. It's super duper cool that a way back was found. Anyway. I am NOT going to talk about that right now. NOW that the drawing is finished, I can FINALLY "see" it. WHAT do I mean by that? How can I not see what I am drawing??? Well...it's actually MUCH easier to make art than it is to explain HOW it was made. LOL. Up to now, it's been mostly a matter of putting out fires, solving problems and trying NOT to think about the implications of ANYthing in the drawing. The homework is done in between pencil strokes (learning about symbols, people, mythologies, art, dreams, etc. etc.). The act of drawing is more intuitive. Think of it as a reach down into the pool of the collective unconscious. One reaches down and brings up something primal. THEN the dance with the muse really begins. The thinking comes later. When the drawing is DONE... that's the time to sit back and look at what has been wrought..., watch the mystery unravel and SEE the art for what it has become. Man. I STILL can't explain it very well. Crapola. Anyway. The drawing is on the wall and I "see" it. Some of it is obvious, some of it takes time to see... even when it's right in front of my face. I'm okay with that. LOL.
Uncle. UNCLE! UNCLE!
I tried something different with this drawing... So many times, people have spontaneously referred to my art (both the pen and inks AND the graphite drawings) ... as paintings... that it ...kinda put a stupid idea in my head. Yes, NOW I can say, "Stupid!" I wanted to try and present a drawing as a painting. I thought that would be cool... being so literal. Ironic, eh? Boy was that a mistake. Cool is not my forte. Not by a long shot. LOL. First there was the whole issue of trying to keep the glass off the drawing. To take care of that issue, I cut 1/8" of an old matt and delicately two-sided taped it to the glass. This gave a very small and precarious space between the glass and the artwork. The really HARD part...was cutting the drawing down to fit within the frame. That hurt... but I was DETERMINED to DO THIS. So. I did it. Ya wanna say, "Stupid!" again? And this time we'll all say it together????? Well... we can see how THAT worked out. Argh. I'll just cut the gory details short and say that there were MANY problems that arose from my crazy idea. Eventually... reality knocked me over the head and I finally took the artwork out of the frame and cried "Uncle" (at least twice, followed by a couple of other, more choice words). LOL. Anyway. The drawing has FINALLY been framed and the questions have been put to rest (at least THOSE questions). Nowwwww... I just have to find a place to SHOW my art.... (big sigh). Time. Can we get another five hours added to the day???? Can someone take care of this??? I mean, really.... all we have to do is extend the orbit of the planet, right? Make it bigger???? Just by a ...little.