Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Few More Inks

Two more pen and ink drawings. The first one is from a photo I found online then edited significantly, cropped, and used as a reference. It's just houses on a hillside, but represented a significant challenge, owing to the detail, etc. The second is a local landmark, the Salisbury House. It's on the National Register of Historic Places and was constructed by a manufacturing executive about 80 years ago using pieces of manor houses from England and elsewhere. As you can see, this one involved heavy used of ink and brush as well as a dip pen. (Both of these are available. They're about 8x10 on illustration board, by the way. Click the image for a larger version.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pen and Ink

Also these past weeks, I've been indulging in an orgy of pen and ink drawings. This is one of my first loves--I orginally worked in ink in the 1960s--but I hadn't done as much these last years. Anyway, I began doing some landmarks and scenes pertaining to Iowa, and these are some of the best of the lot. The first is the local courthouse, listed as a National Historic Building. The second is simply a group of signs that interested me. As you can see, the second involved work with both dip pen and brush. Time permitting in the next few days I'll probably post a few more of these. Working
without color can be very liberating, not to say fun. It's too bad that this medium is used so infrequently these days, compared to the golden years of illustration a century ago.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Year

A new year, and as this year rolls in, like each new year this century, I'm mildly surprised to have lasted this long. Since September I've delivered several portrait commissions and completed three of an ongoing series of portraits of department chairs at my university. This one is 16x12 on panel, done from life over a period of several months.

In the same period I've been working on several other projects, including a group of works dealing with world hunger. Here are a couple of them, each only 8x6 on gessoed panel. I did these as two-value studies, an idea I filched from James Gurney (see his blog, Gurney Journey online at ). These were done using ivory black and titanium white over a ground toned with raw umber to around value 5. These kinds of studies are teaching me a great deal about how to render form without being "picky"--that is, without using tentative, small strokes instead of thinking about form and about value. Painters who can master that kind of idea--economy coupled with bravura brushwork--are the most appealing to my eye. These days painting is (or should be) more about the paint and often less about faithful rendering. Sub ject is important, but if one seeks photographic accuracy, take a photograph. A painting is much much more. The tone of the panels was actually overlaid onto old sketchwork--hence the varied look of the backgrounds. (As always, you can click on the small image to view a larger version.)