Better Photography is a Must! • January 4, 2015
I must take better photographs of my drawings for you! Though I’m not sure how to capture the intense surface alteration and texture that is becoming so prevalent (thus far my photos flatten out or largely negate it’s character), one immediate improvement is to both match the warm tone of the paper I’m using, and to accurately record the range of temperature my grays now have. I had better explain this last, yes?
The India ink I use is the same I started with as a youngster almost a half century ago (geez). It’s Higgins Waterproof Black, which when diluted, yields grays with an appealing warm tone. Recently, I’ve stumbled upon something odd. I’ve discovered that when pressed deep into a sheet, my ink shifts from from a warm to a decidedly cool cast. Stranger still, straight black ink pressed in turns a surprising gray! Let me show you what I mean: below is another of the loose, expressive night time drawings of Mt. Haynes that I’ve been working on. Believe it or not, the dark sky and the battleship gray of the mountain are exactly the same ink, done at exactly the same time! Here was my method: I rapidly laid down large strokes of clear water where the sky and mountain are, then slashed in ragged strokes of pure black. You can see in the sky where it spread and ran in the wetted area, and also where it speckled and diluted when I hit it with a splatter of water from my spray bottle (especially noticeable in the upper left). My very next move was to place a piece of very thin, flexible plastic right on top of the area of the mountain, after which I simply pressed and swiped the side of my hand across it. The ink underneath was driven more than halfway through the sheet, and immediately turned a much lighter, almost bluish gray, that as it dried, gained a decidedly chalky appearance. I don’t exactly understand why my black so dramatically shifts its appearance, but it sure is startling and effective!
I’m going to finish this post with one more picture, a new shot of the same drawing I showed you in my last entry. Compare this much better photo with the earlier one (scroll down just a bit to see it), and you will get a clear sense of how rich my drawings really are in appearance. With the tone and temperature shifts in my grays and the creamy color of the paper, it’s almost as if, just barely, I am working in color!
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