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.