Friday, February 19, 2010

Just enough

A while back I posted about learning restraint in the drawing. I practiced on this animal and so far I'm pleased. I'll avoid touching this any further (hopefully) until all the others reach this stage of completion. Then I'll decide if any more detail will be required.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coming together bit by bit

Now that all of the animals are drawn in things are beginning to be more cohesive. I'm better able to see relationships between the separate elements and now I'm moving equally among each one touching here and there. Soon I'll start on the water and reflections and that will pull it all together.

This is the point where I really start getting into the flow of the work. I easily lose track of time and am in a state of 'no mind', no thoughts occur what-so-ever, just pure consciousness.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Smoothing out the rough

The texture of the drawing board is so extreme in some places that help is needed to distribute the charcoal more evenly. Applying powder as mentioned before is only a beginning. After the smudging is done then I use a larger stiff brush to poke down onto the surface. This pushes particles down into the crevices therefore smoothing it out. Dragging a charcoal stick across the panel catches just the peaks of the texture, this brush process forces it done into the valleys.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vague image

This close up shows how loose this stage of the work can be.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

and still more...

Now that the last few bison are roughed in I can start detailing each one only as much as necessary. I let the rough image dictate how much is needed in order to maintain that spontaneous look.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Herd Expansion

The ghost images of more animals accomplished in todays few minutes. To acheive this I start with a large chunk of charcoal and a stiff bristle paintbrush and simply scrub off powder onto the area of the animal outline. Next I smudge and repeat until each one is roughed in.

Friday, February 5, 2010

20 Years from now? 30?

I wonder what my son is going to think of me. What I tried to do, what I accomplished and what I squandered. His name is Kane, he's 8. Wonderful, bright kid, the light of my life. These efforts I make, these smudges. Will they prevail over time? Will he smile at the thought or shake his head? His old man, working away making picture frames for who knows who. Mundane work compared to his dreams. In between, he makes some scratches and scribbles. Dreaming.

Will he feel sorry, proud, inspired? Will he look at my work and wonder what my thoughts and feelings were? What my vision was? Will he be able to connect with the intention, the inspiration, what drove me? I think these things as he sleeps innocently, peacefully. My hope is that he will understand. He will be able to know... somehow what I was trying to acheive, to express, to say with lines and textures. My deepest desire is that he'll think to himself... yeah Dad, I get what you were about. I get who you were. I'm proud.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Planned Spontaneity

I haven't touched this drawing since my last posting but have been looking it over carefully. This particular bison intrigues me a great deal. What has happened is precisely what I've been striving for for a long time. After a minimal degree of smudging and only a few strokes of vine charcoal I was left with this. Now I'm trying to avoid the temptation to fuss with it. That was the lesson I tried to learn with the elk piece I recently completed.

I think instead of barging right in I'll contemplate this awhile. I'm learning that to maintain a minimalist approach takes a great amount of forethought and planning. Is there such a thing as effortless effort? Can spontaneity be carefully planned and if so is it still spontaneous? I think too much me thinks.

Monday, February 1, 2010


This full shot gives an idea of the size of the drawing, it measure 48"x 24". That has become rather standard for me. Actually the next two planned after this will be that same size. I love working large and being able to appreciate the work from across the room instead of just feet away. The small print is the new arrangement made from the study done back in 2002.

Once the remaining bison are roughed in I'll work on the river and grass. The reflection and smoothness of the waters surface will pose a particular challenge to achieve on the texture. The final touch will be adding the main subject of the work. So far so good.