Sunday, August 28, 2016

Recap: 2006 - 2011, the newsprint years

Newsprint Drawings:
The human form never ceases to fascinate me, and I have always enjoyed making images of people’s bodies.
Newsprint does not have great archival value, but I really enjoy it as a surface to draw on. In fact, I’d rate it as my favourite surface to draw on. In the mid-2000′s  I gave over a lot of time to what I think of as `direct drawing’: no under-sketching, minimal planning and no erasure. I was using 24″ x 26″ sheets of newsprint, with Conte Crayon. 
I felt at the time like it was the most honest working process, and there was an energy, a confidence and a vitality to the drawings. These are a few of them.  The big sheets of paper made for very physical drawing, and I found the `grain’ of the shading strokes worked very well for shadow on skin. 
Using any material over an extended period of time, the speed and confidence of handling ramps up. By 2010, I was able to get good strong images done in 10 - 15 minutes, and 25 minutes or up got into overworking territory. (There is no rule anywhere that drawing has to be a speed process, but fast drawing has a certain urgency embedded in it, and short time spans allow people to do a lot more with their bodies.) 
At the time, I did not feel I could ethically sell work like these due to newsprint’s rate of decay. (But I am re-thinking just how vulnerable it is, especially if mounted on a good support - for sure, it would go through colour changes) . But by the end of 2010, I resolved to find smaller, not-too-costly media that would allow for what I liked about the newsprint drawings to happen on a better-quality surface. that investigation has led through a lot of different materials and papers that I’ve tried since then.
There is a certain special quality and luminance of shading to Conte crayon on newsprint, and the nuance of it gets lost  in the translation to other papers. I look back at all these  Conte/newsprint drawings and studies as a bit of a `golden age’ for me - they were so easy and fun to do, and people enjoyed seeing them. But looking back through my archive, many weren’t that strong after all.
If you look at posts here from Oct 2012 on back,, you can judge for yourself. Out of four or five thousand studies, maybe 20% are the stronger ones, at least in hindsight.

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