Worked hard and too long yesterday, so I ate too late. Didn’t want to go to bed on a tummy that was still working, so I did a little more ink slinging instead.
Late night rounds – especially when I’m really tired – can be pretty interesting. If I’m too pooped to care much about how things go, the unexpected happens. That can be good – – – or perplexing.
The first image (above) fell off my brush so fast it left me stunned. Wow – THAT was fun! The 2nd one (just below) is also pretty wonderful, though I feel it might need just a bit more? Maybe antennae or an eye? Was too pooped to risk more last night, and this morning I’m still wondering if I should just leave things be.
The last picture is weird. Started out incredibly well, but then the front end went astray. Too much so? Is it a keeper, or close but no go? Input welcomed.
Here are quick studio snapshots of a large ant(?) and two smaller studies. All were done in furious outbursts, punctuated by periods of perplexed assessment. Kinda fun, aren’t they? And kinda weird too.
Where are these coming from? They’re a lot like fossils, but also look a bit spray painty – like street art. Thats a complete surprise – about as far away from my work and sensibility as I would have thought you could get. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m certainly headed – – – on?
Done this past summer in Montana. The view has such distance out there – you can see whole storm systems trailing their rain skirts across the plains. AND in the picture below, the accidental ink drip became the PERFECT black lightening bolt!
– – – Quick snapshots of pictures underway – – – two dragonflies that look sorta fossil-like and artifacty, a Norwegian Mountain that must be finished – AND another monster ant. But I think I’ll turn my back on Mr. Monster today; he’s giving me ‘tude, trying to make me take his legs all the way to the floor. Not set up for that. Well, poop.
Just took my new studio set up for a BIG picture test drive today – IT WORKED!
Did this weirdo ant – but does it maybe have a little bit of a cow skull for a head? Hey, this is HUGE for ink – over 3′ x 5′! Oh man, the logistics and physical effort required have certainly scaled up too. Fun challenge though. I’m oddly thrilled with this picture.
HEY WAIT – I never told you about my major studio re-fit! Wow, okay, we need to chat – – –
The goal was to adapt my modest workspace so I can tackle large work, hopefully up to 8 FEET in length. To manage it, I had to identify space that was either overlooked or that could handle overlapping uses. Here’s my construction mess at the beginning of day 2:
Now, check out the photo below, of my new studio – – – isn’t my loooooooong worktable wonderful!
There’s ALWAYS plenty of unused air space in any room. That tower of shelves in the middle is on casters, so it can be easily moved around. It also has a small foot print for the great amount of paper and work it can store. The table that butts up against it is now totally free! And do you see my printing press? When in use, the bed actually rolls through and hangs over that same table. See what I mean by overlapping space?
In addition, I’ve added several new shelves, including two wide ones on which I can stack big work. There are three ways to back up in the room, so that I can look at and assess pictures underway, and the lighting is adjustable to any situation.
It’s a pretty cozy studio, but it’s also highly functional. I’m happy in it!
Recently rediscovered this fragment of a Yellowstone picture I discarded 9 years ago. So glad I kept it. I’ve come far, but I see that even then I was headed this way!
Particularly fine moves in this one!
It’s wonderful when a mark fresh off the brush has real character, and then I manage to add even more – like in the big, black, loopy petal at top. Did it with a beat up, split brush. Then, as the ink was drying, I pressed and ground into it to create gritty-gray patches.
Here’s a closer look:
I did quite a few storm cloud & rain studies this past August. Somehow, this seems like a quiet picture, yet it has an ominous undertone! I like that. Want to do more ambitious pictures of this sort – perhaps over the Winter?
I may have shown you a quick snapshot of this, but here’s a hi-res scan of one of my best Montana storm cloud paintings. Done in my motel room because, well, how can I paint with ink in the middle of the rain?
Am still in the midst of my big studio retrofit, but new ink slinging is not far off now. Gonna be showing you stuff, so keep an eye out!
These things are exploding outta me! It’s thrilling and exhausting, because it’s frantic and fast – no time to think, barely enough to keep swinging!
AND IT’S BIG WORK. The b’fly (above) is almost 5 FEET WIDE! Not set up for this ink slinging on this scale, although clearly, I better change that.
I won’t touch the one above – it’s done. Will try to finish at least the first of the moths below. The 2nd one may not make it. We’ll see.
I’m always getting better at creating the illusion of surface character. The mountain view above went a bit nuts on me – yep, it sure did. Geez, you might not even be able to tell what it is, but even so, I’m kinda thrilled by it. And all that seeming texture you see is actually painted or printed. You wouldn’t think it, but the picture’s surface is utterly smooth.
You can’t say that about the next picture though! The surface of that grainy, crumbly old mountain in the mist is horrifically beat up. I’m not certain the sheets would stay together if I hung ’em up! For the version I’m showing you, I’ve digitally mounted them on a brown, deckled edged sheet (did it in Photoshop). I’ll probably have to something like this for real to keep this picture together.
If you spend a little time looking close at my pictures, you’ll discover that their surfaces are often very complex – a world within the world I’m portraying. I like altering my paper. It’s as if my pictures end up being as much in their sheets as on them!
I’m pretty much always at work somewhere within a long line of paintings & drawings. This was the one I did right after the mountain view I showed you yesterday. You can tell it was the next step. That’s how it goes with me – one picture leads to another – and ever on. No wonder there are stacks of work all over the place up here, in various stages of completion or crisis!
I’m learning all the time. Now I know that textures/marks/movements that you can see through are beguiling. Being able to look into the stacked up layers makes a picture seem more real to me, as if I’ve got it right all the way through.
Found this drawing in a discard pile! I bet I put it there thinking it was a bit too whacked, but now? Nope! In fact, I’m getting the urge to do more nutso kitties!
I’m beginning to realize how far I’ve come with my grays. They’re frustratingly hard to use well, but what power they have when I get it right! I think this picture has even more presence than the one I showed you yesterday, without depending so much on potent darks! Actually, both pictures together are a good pairing.
I’m also very pleased with the conversation/visual balance between all of the textures – both painted and real. And it looks almost as if this picture happened on it’s own too. It didn’t, of course, but the more I get out of the way, the better my work seems to become.
Here, take a closer look at each of the sheets to see what I mean:
This seems to be a favorite among my little circle of advisors. The scan is also particularly good.
CLICK IT TO GET A REALLY GOOD LOOK!
Yep, you’ve seen a studio snapshot of this one already, but now we have a REALLY fine scan – and the picture is so lovely that you must see it as it should be seen!
There are areas in the wings that are some of the nicest, most unimpeded ink work I’ve done. Yet it all turned out EXACTLY RIGHT! What’s the lesson in this? Thinkin’ on it.
The texture/scraping in the stem at right, and the scrubbed graininess of the bloom are especially wonderful. This is a tires old Autumn bloom, past it’s glory but stubbornly holding on.
Here are enlarged views of each sheet:
Sometimes it’s just a little scrap of a cat found in a forgotten pile!
This has such presence! Why do certain pictures so claim their personality? Doesn’t seem to have much to do with me.
There’s brushwork and tricksy stuff happening in there, but also plenty of inked collage. And my method has turned very geologic = grinding, sanding, wrinkling twisting & torquing. At the end of it all, it took more time to get the picture stabilized!
Here are closer views:
A quick romp in grays = abstract + grainy + quick off my brush. There’s a lot of artifact too – and by that I mean all the marks/detritus that happened on their own along side the marks I meant to make.
I often move to fast to be neat – – – and isn’t neat pretty darned boring? It lacks surprise.