Saturday, January 17, 2009

Outside My Box

When I designed and produced Mardi Gras masks I would take a month off after orders were filled and devote it to developing of new masks and new techniques and trying out new materials. I called it Lab Time.

Since I have been into painting primarily I have not officially set aside such a period of time. Sure this time of year there are calls for entries for various fairs and exhibitions and some of them are based on themes and that gets one thinking a bit out of the box. But I was finding myself wanting to brave newer territory. So at the art store recently I purchased some Conte Crayons.

I have not drawn with these sticks since I was a college student. So today was a lot about playing with the shape and the shading possibilities. And to complicate matters I made myself do quick sketches. Remember them from art classes? You have two minutes to record this subject. Capture its essence.

I normally sketch with pencil and with eraser in the other hand. No line can remain if it is not in the precise position. So "scribbling" with Conte sticks was definitely loosening up for me. I began by resenting the messiness and then liking the freedom. And I began to remember the ability to put down broad shadows in one or two strokes. Concentrating on shape and mass and not line.

I am not sure where this is getting me exactly with my painting but I think I will explore the direction a bit more. I have in mind a series of landscapes using extremes of shadow and light. This may be a way to get a sketch done that will translate into a painting of more weight.

I think it is always good to go outside your box from time to time and just play or explore. I had a writing teacher that called it tithing. Said it was very important when you were selling pieces to upon ocassion write something totally unsellable. So maybe that is all my sketching with this unfamiliar medium is - tithing. Giving freely of self with no hope of return.


  1. Wanted to thank you for your beautiful comment on my blog, & to tell you I am now in possession of a wealth of acrylic paints & am making space for my Adventures in Visual Art. Your work is inspiring, & have lost of fun with those Conte Crayons. A new challenge always loosens up the Muse, doesn't it? Looking forward to your further creative ventures!

  2. LOTS of Fun, I meant, lost of fun sounds way too ambivalent, but it is rather accurate in my case. It's art or the psychiatrist for me these days, & I'd much rather put the money into paint, lol!

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head there dear friend. For me art and the expression of inner feelings through art is my hold upon sanity. I am reminded of a speech I heard by a professional writer at a conference where he told the audience of people that wanted to write that real writers HAD to write.

    And yes paints and paper and canvas are cheaper than psychiatrist fees and I think far more effective.

    I also noticed last night that my week of drawing with Conte has made my mood among people more playful and open. I even giggled once or twice.

    Do have fun! That is what it is all about you know!


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.