Monday, August 12, 2013

Entry for Aug 2, 2013

Friday night was a materials exploration night over at Artists 25. On the Thursday night, I was sitting beside Leonard, who was using a Pentel Brushpen. In his hands it yielded a very fine and varied set of crisp black marks. I've tried Sakura brushpens in the past, but the felt tip they have frays very quickly for me. The Pentel pen uses a (permanent) pigment ink and has synthetic parallel bristles which I'm told can take quite a lot of punishment and hold their point. And they take refills, which is cheaper in the long run. I also thought it might be a way into still smaller drawings.
When a big studio is available, drawing large feels great, and is more dramatic to look at. But in terms of storage and for working in more cramped settings, achieving an intimate small scale would be nice.

It was Polina at artists 25 as well, doing a 2.5 hour sitting, as they do on the Fridays. I was working on 11" x 15" sheets of Canson XL series Watercolour paper. 11 x 15 is hardly tiny, but for me, it feels  like a postage stamp. (on the upside, after this 18 x 24 paper starts to seem generously sized, and 22 x 30 is huge... it's all relative. Like some materials sheepdog I keep nudging myself into ever smaller picture fields of late. But a really small image can be like a jewel or a secret, if done right, and maybe sensible in an era of compressed living spaces.)
These studies are neither jewel-like or holding much in the way of secrets. The first 1-hour study was an exploration of contour and rendering through contour hatching. The marks are informative but somewhat mechanical. I have been looking at Andrew Loomis's work of late, and this may have been a  bit of a response or maybe exorcising of that. Also, Polina's head was initially a little over 10% too big for her body; I photoshopped that to scale.
The second 50-minute one used a range of Copic warm gray markers, more strategic brushpen and some after-the fact india ink spatter. The markers do provide more subtle information about surfaces at the expense of a brightness in the image. Black lines can be an expressive tool in their own right.
But used in conjunction with lighter value shading, black marks tend to jump out very easily. Ideally for my tastes they would dance and play among the other tones, like having just the right amount of a strong spice in a recipe. Used too much or too overall, I feel it's easy for black lines to nail down the last of the life from a figurative image. (I've photoshopped the original head in this study only 8 - 10% smaller - it was a too-big head night for me, maybe owing to the smaller picture field- usually it goes the other direction.)

The mix of Copic and black brushpen also clarifies some of Polina's anatomical structure. You can learn more about ulnas, brachioradialis and hand extensors, femurs and the common point of insertion of inner hamstrings and sartorius muscles all week from Aug 19-23. (I'm just sayin'...)
You can enroll for all that here.

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