Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bad Drawing Materials?

 I jumped out of bed this morning into a peculiar, unseasonable light.  The floor was really cold under my bare feet, and little particles were spitting against the window:  snow!  On the first of November!  The autumn leaves on the trees are still clinging, only now they're looking kind of frantic, those warm colors --the apricots and rusts and mustardy yellows --under heavy clumps of snow.

I grabbed the only pen in sight, a clumsy ballpoint give-away from a local business, and the small sketchbook with the less-than-perfect paper that I've been dealing with for the past couple of weeks and hope to finish with today.  As I drew the snow-covered lawn ram outside the bedroom window, I remembered how beautifully a former student of mine drew with just such a ballpoint pen.  I remember that he not only used ratty old ballpoint pens, but he kept jars full of them classified according to the degree of almost-out-of-inkness they possessed.  He needed certain degrees for each value of the chiaroscuro effect he achieved in his drawings.  His drawings were beautiful.  I have never liked ballpoint for drawing, but I had to conclude that that was just my issue, not an inherent flaw in the pen itself.  I still don't enjoy drawing in ballpoint, but I decided to stick with it today and see what I could do with it.  (Mainly I didn't feel like walking through the cold house to find my real pen.)
 This next drawing is of some azalea leaves bearing a heavy burden of wet snow.  Many of the leaves are completely covered but the top pair are like a pair of hands holding this mound of white stuff.  They remind me of cotton bolls full of cotton.
 Still using the draggy, blobby ballpoint, I next drew the underside of the leatherleaf mahonia leaves,  pale mustard yellow under their snow blanket.  When I washed some yellow-green over the drawing of the leaves, the ballpoint ink bled a little, and I thought of my friend A who uses a Pilot Precise pen that isn't waterproof, because she likes the way a wash will turn the ink line into a part of the wash.  I've never been good at doing that and have therefore shunned those pens.  Once again, my issue, not a flaw of the pen.
 For this drawing of a part of the crepe myrtle bush in the backyard I did the minimal:  a few blobs of yellow watercolor, and a wash of Payne's grey, saving out the whites.  This bush was another case of autumn leaves under unusual snow cover.
Finally, a big fat rose hip frosted with snow.  It is reminding me of, what else?  a cake pop!  By this time I'm no longer hating the pen and the rough, unresponsive paper.  I actually like the way the paper blots up the watercolor, and I think I've achieved a decent line bleed.

1 comment:

  1. i just love these drawings! and that last one, well, it is amazing. i could eat it, it's so appealing! very good work!