Monday, January 23, 2017

New Year, New Resolve

Ingres is reported to have said that "drawing is the probity of art". My interpretation is that he meant that drawing is truth, and without it a work of art lacks a solid foundation. Whenever I start to feel as if I'm running in place, not advancing as far in my work as I would like, I know that I can go back to the source, drawing, and work my way from there. It's such a simple and basic process, yet profoundly engaging, and often frustrating. My academic training has gotten me away from the "contour line", one shot method, that was emphasized in high school and college, and more towards something fluid; like shaping clay for a sculpture. The nebulous quality of my initial straight line block-in pencil marks, gradually become more refined, and my analytical thought processes undergo a similar refinement. In this way each drawing becomes a new adventure, a self discovery that never seems rote or repetitive.
       With the advent of the new year I've decided to push myself a bit harder on the drawing front. I feel like I haven't fully made use of all that drawing has to offer in terms of advancing my art and so I'm determined to increase my focus. Normally I start a painting by making an actual size drawing, sometimes called a "cartoon", and then transferring it to my canvas. This is done on white sketchpad paper. I do spend quite a bit of time on the drawing, and I keep pushing it until I feel it's "canvas ready". I use a mirror often to check for mistakes, and I do a lot of measuring, and cross measuring. So, what else could I do, one might ask? Usually my painting concept is based on a small thumbnail sketch. I'm going to start making larger, slightly more refined sketches, maybe on toned paper, that include a value study as well. I want to use the drawing as a way of working out several possibilities in each arrangement that I set up, so as to arrive at the best solution. I also want to make individual studies of elements in the setup in order to better understand their individual specifics before encompassing them in the harmony of the overall design.
This is the "cartoon" for a painting that I'm currently about to start. At this point I've transferred it to a canvas, but I haven't started to paint it yet. If I were following my new years resolutions, I would not have made this drawing full size and transferred it without having first made some drawing studies and even some painted studies. It's not that I'm not happy with the drawing, I am, and I'm excited to paint it, it's really just a feeling I have that I need to push myself a little harder to not just come up with an idea but to come up with the best version of that idea. I did however make two miniature transfers on 5 x 7 inch panels on which I'll do a black and white and a color poster study. It's not completely what I resolved to do but it's not a total "cheat" on my "New Years Resolutions", so I'll take it and try to do more on the next one (isn't that what resolutions are all about?).

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