Tuesday, 29 July 2008

"The drawing that is fast,...

... direct and right at first time with an economy of effort or line, is either beginner's luck (and no less a blessing) or, more likely, achieved as a result of the accumulated legwork that has already been put in over the years. Rather than a sudden flash of inspiration, it is a release of controlled energy that crackles with its own spontaneous life.
The knowledge of drawing packed solidly behind it, so a line conveys simultaneously form, weight and authority.

Another morning coffee
Another morning coffee, pen and ink in Moleskine, 13x21cm

The speedy slick line is only that: all shallow effect, no form, no substance - a fast lick of Brylcreem on a very thin thatch.
Drawing is unquestionably difficult, clumsy at times, sometimes longwinded and slow. It will show every thought, every change of mind, every unsure probe and rethink."
(Pamela Kay, A personal view: Gouache, p. 47)

Ohne M
Ohne M, pen and ink in Moleskine, 13x21cm

I had taken Pamela Kay's fantastic book about gouache with me to Eigg - along with the gouaches themselves, which I ended up not using at all. But I managed to read quite a bit in her book. In particular her chapter on drawing was fascinating, and the above quote stuck.
Part of my previous hesitation about using ink was that I felt it to be too solid, too definite. The searching for lines, patterns and marks seemed so restricted. On the other hand are the minimal lessenings I've been doing for a while: short, sparse, definite hints at something, with the something usually being landscapes.
Her quote is, I feel, about both these issues. And about much more. Towards the end of the week on the island I had firmly gotten to like the ink pen: its strong marks which would still remain searching and open.
So my sketches in metropolitan and summery Berlin continue along the same lines (sorry!), and yet are so different from only a week ago. Places and people, I suppose.


Thi N said...

I've been enjoying myself recently with a modern updating of a very old combo that I read about - a fountain pen with red/brown ink, and a blue watercolor brush. Draw in red, and wash in blue - pure paper is the highlight, washed red is your warm, blue is your cool, and the mix is like ultramarine and burnt sienna - beautiful greys.

Gesa said...

Cheers for this tip, thi n - I just had a look at your blog: yes, that sounds like a good combination. I will try and post. I've been using neo ii for colour washes, but something even sparser as the red/blue combo sounds intriguing. Thank you!

Thi N said...

Oh God! That's embarassing. I completely forgot that somebody could track back my comment to that blog. That was intended only for three of us who were learning to draw to exchange criticisms. I've only been drawing and painting for about 6 months or so... a rank beginner. I never intended that that actual, you know, *artists* see it. Too late now, I guess.

Anyway - if you found the red ink/blue watercolor drawings, I was using Noodler's Red-Brown ink, which seems to work magically well with ultramarine watercolors - it's the ink closest to burnt sienna, I think. My travelling kit is: one fountain pen, one altoids tin with some colors, but a lot of blue, squeezed out in it and dried, and one Japanese waterbrush, done.