Monday, March 20, 2017

Audacity Isn't So Hard To Find

Audacity can be seen everyday on CNN.   As American history unfolds tweet by tweet,  I  continue to sketch, listen and watch fascinated to see how my great country is going to fare under the leadership of the new guy and his gang.  They claimed they'd make America great again.  Instead, I think they shoved it into  a dark, murky, dirty Game of Thrones power struggle that the next gal will have to put to rest.   This homeland turmoil is not conducive to painting, but sketching goes on with a major difference:  my subjects come from news  sources or from what's going on at our house:  my honey's recuperation from a lobectomy.  He, unlike the government, is doing just great.

This week I moved away from my General 314 and Berol pencils and tried a new pencil:  a Derwent Inktense pencil.  It's like a charcoal pencil, but can be wetted  and marks becomes ink.  I used it for the first three sketches below, which were done on Strathmore drawing paper.  The Inktense did not erase well with a knead eraser, but may pick up better with a colored pencil eraser on this paper?   A learning curve is to be expected when using new materials.  To thin down lines and correct the drawing, I used a piece of white pastel--but was dissatisfied.  The white was too blue (as you would expect from a Titanium white if I had thought about it).  A cream more in tune with the paper would be better. While I don't think the fluid line that ink and  pen with changeable nibs can give is achievable with these pencils, I do like the gestural freedom they offer fast, daily sketching.

Migrants Marooned in Belgrade, Serbia from a reference photo by Srdjan Stevanovic, Getty Images for Time Magazine.
Inktense pencil on 6" x 8" Strathmore Drawing Pad.

The Women, Inktense pencil, white pastel and coffee on Strathmore Drawing Pad,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, An Impressive World Leader, Inktense pencil and water on
Strathmore Drawing Pad 6" x 8"

If Looks Could Kill,  Charcoal pencil on 8" x 6" Strathmore Drawing Pad.

Off The Top of My Head, General 314 pencil on Strathmore Drawing Pad 8" x 6".  Sometimes I draw from memory.

In The Waiting Room, General 314 pencil on Strathmore Drawing Pad 6" x 8".

Monday, March 6, 2017

Seeking Audacity

Ernie, The Waiting Room Series,  graphite stick, knead eraser, 6B pencil on drawing paper,  6" x 8" 

Depth was added to this sketch by using a graphite stick to tone the paper, then drawing in, using a knead eraser, the figure emphasizing the light areas..  The results were okay, but the sketch wasn't loose enough.  --And my black still wasn't black enough.

I attempted to get Ernie's beady eyes and collar black with a soft charcoal pencil.  That didn't work. The charcoal didn't sit well when laid over the graphite.  The rough texture of the charcoal couldn't grab onto  the slick texture of the 6B  layer. Darkening the black areas by pressing down harder with the graphite wasn't an answer either. The graphite took on a high polish shine. 

So I got out my charcoal pencils after years of using graphite pencils for morning sketching; and sketching got a lot easier--even if I must fix the sketch before flipping the sheet and going on to the next.

The Gaming Generation, Soft charcoal pencil in Strathmore sketchpad, 6" x 8"

Before my epiphany:

The Rabbi, The Waiting Room Series, graphite " 6x 8"

Long Road Back, ( The Convalescent),  Graphite pencil on drawing paper, 6" x 8"

Dave, The Waiting Room Series, Graphite pencil on drawing paper, 8" x 6"


I was beginning to think, I'd never get back there.  I owe my revived spirit to Celeste Bergin whose daily paintings were impressive and stimulating,  President George W. Bush who turned me on to Winston Churchill's Essay Painting As A Passtime and Churchill's  words:

'Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely.  light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day'.

And this advice I'd forgotten while losing myself in the intensity of portraitures and the Venetian method:

'We must not be too ambitious.  We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box.  And for this, Audacity is the only ticket'.

Audacity!  Yes!  Painting unfettered by expectations. Painting Alla Prima intuitively.   I laid out a limited palette and jumped into a couple of hours on another plane where worries and responsibilities are nonexistent.

The Gamer Generation, oils on canvas board. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Waiting in Waiting Room Sketches

Waiting rooms are a bore especially if you're not waiting for your appointment, but have brought someone  to the doctor for theirs.   A chauffeur these last two weeks, I waited with a sketch pad, a few pencils of assorted leads, a knead eraser and my iPad camera, for future reference. I prefer the iPad's larger format over the Smartphone, which does take sharper pictures, but one device is enough. I am not that interested in accuracy as much as I am in capturing the expression, the body language, the mood.  My favorite graphite sketching pencil is the General 314 used as if it were a piece of vine charcoal.  My sketching style is both additive and subtractive. a soft lead and the knead are my main tools.  A bridge is handy too if you work all over the composition as I do and dislike palm drag.

This sketch became a drawing when I went back into it to better render the man's clothing.
I loved the way the light hit the folds of his clothing.

This guy could be Steve Bannon, but he's just a guy filling out his health forms.

My grandmother would describe this man in Yiddish as a langalux, a long noodle.  I didn't get
that effect as well as I would like,. I tried it again and was a bit more successful, but
a third time is definitely in order.  He would make a nice tall, narrow painting.

Taking Dad to the Urologist.  Daughter and elderly father caught my eye.  At last I saw a guy who was older
than us.  Actually, the place was filled with old guys whose prostrates were adversely affecting their urinary flow--or needed Viagra?  It was uplifting. We were only on a one time only post-op trip, but seeing the bustling waiting room, I might want to return for more sketch-able subject matter--but I don't think so.

This man must be really familiar with the waiting room at the Hospital Imaging Center.  He was nestled down into his parka sound asleep.  Was he waiting for someone and didn't bring his sketching materials?  Or was he so used to this place, he was catching a cat nap before his CAT scan?