Painting in school quickly developed too many areas of interest: oil landscapes, figure drawing, homework, and the bamboo pen & sumi ink drawing series. I realized drawing is pushing out painting time in the first three weeks. These are all good projects but the MFA degree I am pursuing is in painting, not drawing. Adjustments must be made.
The oil landscapes are from my studio window. Titanium white was eliminated for being too cold, replaced with warm unbleached titanium. I’m trying to use it more sparingly and break the habit of adding white to every color.
ABOVE: City, oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches (20 x 25 cm), 2011
Nickel City, oil on linen, 22 x 24 inches (56 x 61 cm), 2011 in progress
I am drawing from the figure nine hours a week in three sessions with two different instructors because I love figure drawing! In the Classical class, I am using pencil, an exacting medium, to draw continuous tone. The benefit helps to see and control overall light and value structure. The second figure class emphasizes visual invention. Each week we’re presented with a new set of challenges to learn to see uniquely. The black paper and white pencil in the photo is an example. I’m supporting the figure work by copying an anatomy book in ink line.
ABOVE: Figure studies: graphite pencil, continuous tone; white general’s pencil on black acrylic paint
Anatomy sketchbook, fountain pen
The first year group of 12 MFA candidates have one class together called “Painting Seminar”. Our first homework assignment was to create a well developed drawing that was unrecognizable as our usual style and approach to art. My primary work involves direct observation of ephemeral or transient subjects. To do the opposite, I constructed an image based on photo sources with political content. The result is an image of my house from Google Earth enveloped by the shadow of a US military drone. Doing the drawing felt like recovering lost parts of myself. I had the feeling of violating prohibitions and gaining permission at the same time, in style, content, and visual vocabulary. A student crit comment: “You can really draw.” The instructor’s comment: “You’re willful.” Apparently something abstract and incoherent was expected. Below are four preliminary drawings and one final image.
ABOVE: Drone Surveillance, sumi ink and bamboo pen with wash, 40 x 24 inches ( 102 x 61 cm), 2011
Drone Surveillance development: sumi ink and bamboo pen; sumi ink and metal tip pen; with wash