"Fierce Winds" finished ink drawing.

“Fierce Winds” finished ink drawing.

In looking for a piece to write about this week I picked something that could be a finished piece or might not be finished. I’m not sure. I’m not sure because as of yet it has no color. Usually my finished pieces have color in them but not all the time. Sometimes black and white is the end of things. But with some pieces I’m not aware of how they’ll end up. I’ve been making a lot of pieces that involve paints, markers, and watercolors rather than computer coloring these last few months. That’s been my preference lately. I’ve even been doing some finished black and white work but that has consisted of the large 22×28 inch marker drawing that I’ve done. But usually I finish with color.

This piece, entitled “Fierce Winds”, falls into the category of a drawing for one of my 10×15 inch prints that I color and finish on the computer. It’s a drawing that I had lying around for a while before I inked it. I don’t put much stock in sitting around and waiting for inspiration to hit so I like to just keep going even if things might seem pointless at the time. That’s why I keep multiple drawings around in various states of finish all the time. That way when I don’t have the energy for the whole process from start to finish I can pick a drawing and work on whatever part of the process I have energy for at that moment. Even if I can’t wrap my brain around the big picture at least I can work on part of the picture. This is one of the drawings that got done that way.

"Fierce Winds" 9x12" pencil drawing.

“Fierce Winds” 9×12″ pencil drawing.

I’m pretty sure that “Fierce Winds” started with a group of drawings. Often how I work when I don’t have the energy for the big picture is to pick a handful of little drawings that interest me out of my ink-book. I take that handful of ink drawings and work them up into 6×9 inch pencil drawings. Then I scan those in and print them out in blue line at 9×12 inches. Then they sit around like that for a while. When, once again, I’m looking for something to work on I’ll grab one of these blue line drawings and refine and redraw it until I get what I like. After that I scan the 9×12 drawing in and print it out at 10×15 inches in blue line for inking. Often I have a few of these sitting on top of my scanner (it’s got a place to hold 11×17 inch paper) waiting for me to ink them.

This piece has a finish date on it of February 19, 2014. That’s about a month ago as I write this but I don’t have a strong memory of doing it. I must have done it on a day when I really couldn’t see the big picture. First of all it’s inked mostly with French curves and a pen. There is a bit of brush in there too but not as much as I usually use. On days when I don’t have a lot of energy fro making art I often like to use French curves and pens. There is not a lot of thinking invoked in the process and a lot of reacting. It’s easy to disappear into the work. It’s a matter of picking through my various French curves, which are sort of like curved rulers if you can imagine that, until I find the right one that matches the curve of the pencil line I drew and then drawing a line in ink along the edge of the curve.

French curves are one of those drawing instruments that are slowly going away. They weren’t ever the most common thing around but they could usually be found in most art stores. With more and more people drawing digitally these days there are less uses for the French curves. They don’t make them so well these days either. I found that out about ten years ago when I had to replace mine. My French curves were a decade or two old and pretty well battered so I went to the art store to buy new ones. When I got them home and used them I discovered that they were terrible. The edges of the curves weren’t smooth so the curves were all bumpy. I though it was just my set but when I returned them to the art store I discovered all the sets were terrible. I haven’t found a good new set since. I’m still using my battered set plus a few new ones that were okay but far from perfect.

"Fierce Winds" 6x9" pencil drawing.

“Fierce Winds” 6×9″ pencil drawing.

“Fierce Winds” uses a composition that I come back to often. A close up on a face with a body in the background. In this case it’s a full body made possible by the fact that it’s upside down and in the air. This composition is also loaded with asymmetrical symmetry. Starting with the body in the background giving the illusion of symmetry while actually being asymmetrical and twisting in space. It took me a long time to figure out the body position when I was drawing it. It looks simple now but it wasn’t.

But what I like most about this piece is the face on the figure on the right. I find it a bit haunting. It’s been hanging around on top of my scanner for a few weeks now. Sometimes it’s been covered up and when I uncover it the face startles me a little. Partly it’s the impassive stare the face has but it’s also because I don’t have a strong memory of making this drawing. I make a lot of drawings and I mostly remember them but not always. Things can take on a life of their own after they are made and this one has for me. That’s always an interesting phenomenon.

I said I’m not sure if this one is finished and that’s because I don’t feel like coloring it on the computer right now. That’s the way things have gone with me and computer coloring lately. I haven’t been into it. But I’ve done a lot of it before and probably will again but for now this piece will continue to live on top of my scanner.