Dear readers, I will tell you a secret: I am not 100% completely satisfied with my usual painting techniques. As I've been preparing for the continuing ed class I'm teaching (2nd class last night! I will talk more about this in other posts, because it has been SO fun and such a great experience). Where was I? Oh yes, so I've been thinking a lot about what I learned in art school. One of my favorite teachers at RISD was Ellie Hollinshead. She was truly interested in what her students were trying to say, she was passionate & inspirational, and her classes really got me fired up about narrative painting- which eventually brought me to illustration.
Anyhoo, in one class I remember her coming up beside me & saying, "You know, one of the hardest criticisms I ever received was when someone told me my drawings were a lot more alive then my paintings." And I think I said, "Wow, that is way harsh! You must have felt terrible!" It took me months- years, maybe?- to realize, "Wait. SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT ME!" Because I have felt, in recent years, that my drawings have a vitality that seems to greatly diminish in my final paintings.
So this is something I've been struggling with. I tend to think of drawing as fun and free, while doing the completed paintings is more serious and laborious. So I'd like this to change. The first thing I decided to do was to NOT transfer or trace my sketches when I'm getting ready to do the final pieces. The drawing process- the scratchy lines & the sussing out of where everything goes- is a big factor in creating some vitality in my sketches, I think. When I trace my sketches, something already looks stilted & not quite right.
So I decided to have some fun in the studio these past few days- just to experiment & to try to have as much fun painting as I have drawing. I decided to try a page from Olympig- this is the sketch in my dummy:
I just played around with different materials. Acrylics, pens, colored pencil. I also experimented on papers. I usually work on a gessoed surface, which makes the paint kind of "sit up" from the surface of the paper. I did some experimenting with un-gessoed paper, and I like how the paint "sinks in" and allows the original drawing so show through a little more.
I wasn't exactly happy with any of the results I was getting, so I moved on to just a regular ol' glamour shot of Boomer:
This last one ended up being the painting I was most pleased with. I tried using watercolors and then acrylics on un-gessoed watercolor paper, and I liked both the process and the results. It's closer to the blend of drawing & painting I was trying to achieve.
More experimentation to come!