Artwork in progress, studio mishaps, and a Strange Tale

So… after months of drawing, painting, sewing, and beading, I am happy to be nearing the end of my current drawing with only a few milliliters of blood here and there (thanks to sewing needles and X-actos), and only one major mishap.  For the most part, it has come together beautifully…. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. Apparently, paper is not always as predictable as I want it to be and can have a mind of its own, so one of the last steps of my drawing fell to pieces – or, rather, it did not work as well as it should have, so I tore it to pieces – and I had to rethink on my feet.  Fortunately, my two favorite studio pastimes are 1) drawing and 2) figuring out a problem, so the mishap turned into a breakthrough.

I am really enjoying the process of finishing this piece, but I am resisting the urge to post full pictures until the piece is done (there could always be another mishap).  In the meantime, here are some snapshots of the beading and stitching throughout parts of the drawing (click to see these pictures larger):





The good thing about working with paper is that if my current solution does not work, I can always tear it apart and start again.


The False Mirror show at Artworks in Trenton continues through this Saturday, February 22. Here is a review of the show.


And, lastly, a Strange Tale that was completed in December, "Equinox" graphite on Moleskine sketch paper, 8.25 x 10.5 inches:



The higher quality jpeg is on flickr.

Well, here’s to the prospect of finishing a drawing and being very thankful that I do not work under deadlines…hopefully I will be posting the completed drawing soon.

A work in progress...

The drawing I am currently working on is in pieces and parts all over the studio: once all of the separate elements are finished, it will all be attached (by various adhesives and thread) onto a larger piece of paper. The overall dimensions will be about 60 inches high and 44 inches wide. I do not have a title yet - I just refer to it as The Dryad. Below are photographs of The Dryad in progress (click the images to enlarge) - here is the tree:


The center of the composition is rendered in gouache and it will be embellished with tiny colored glass beads:


A detail of the gouache painting:


The apples (a branch on the tree):


Background landscape:


I am still working on a couple of other drawings that will make up the rest of the imagery.  I suspect that the entire work will take another 4 to 6 weeks to complete, if not more (the beading takes a while). The challenge with this drawing is trying to visualize and resolve the separate parts so the piece works as a whole once it is put together (I like this challenge: one of the aspects of drawing that I truly enjoy is the problem solving).

My main studio distraction over the past few days has been with framing a drawing that will be in an exhibit of works on paper - more details about that show coming up in a couple of weeks.


Still drawing...a studio update

Still drawing… Generally, if I am not blogging it is because I am fully engaged with my studio work and not stepping back to process and reflect. It is a good place to be creatively, but in the virtual world, it looks like I have dropped off the planet. In fact, I think my feedburner does not even recognize me anymore.

So, in a meager attempt to nurture a virtual presence, a little studio update is in order:

For the first time in ages, I am working on four simultaneous pieces; the large 5 x 3 foot Sybil, plus three smaller pieces (around 18 x 24). I have spent most of the summer on the Sybil and have completed the figure:

This piece also involves drawing a typewriter and for a reference I am using a 1930s Remington that belonged to my great aunt Sara during her WWII typing years. Oh, typewriter, in you I have met my drawing match: mechanical objects are not my passion – I can draw fabric and veins without much effort, but the angles and planes of the typewriter are a nice new challenge:

In addition to the Sybil, I have three smaller drawings that I want to have completed by November for a show scheduled for early next year. Pragmatic thinking about the time that would be involved for finishing the Sybil made me realize that I had to put her aside for a while. I have at least 200 more hours of drawing ahead on that piece (perhaps more…I seem to be drawing slower and slower as time goes by). Oh, just as well…

The three smaller drawings are based on Strange Tales from earlier this year (one of which is still unfinished). For the most part, I consider the Strange Tales terminal pieces and not studies: these are sketch ideas that were never intended as larger drawings, rather ideas that were interesting enough to engage me so I fleshed them out into little sketchbook drawings. But, something about these three Strange Tales compelled me to make them bigger, each of them embodying a mystical southern quality that harks back to my love of narrative. Plus, I want more detail and refinement and a larger scale so I can embellish them with gold leaf and beading. The first is Leora which now has its gold leaf and is ready for beading:

The second is based on Beatrice, still in progress:

And, at some point in the next month, I will start the third…detail pictures to come as that one is underway.

Oh, and here are my beads - laid out and ready for stitching into the separate drawings (each drawing will have slightly different beadwork):

(Needless to say, I have a nice little stash of beads left over after finishing each of the beaded drawings, so I have taken up beading necklaces with the excess.)

Although I am eager to work on the large Sybil drawing, I don’t mind having a more attainable sense gratification from finishing a few smaller pieces in the span of 4 - 5 months, particularly since over half of 2011 and a fair chunk of 2012 was spent on one drawing.

As stated in my favorite out-of-context line of poetry: “art is long and time is fleeting…” (with sincere apologies to Longfellow for hijacking of original intent).

Strange Tales From My Little Black Book #35

I have several drawings underway in the studio right now and I will post images of those next week.  In the meantime, the newest Strange Tale... Graphite on Moleskine sketchbook paper, about 8.25 x 10.5 inches:

Upon reflection, Colleen realized that she preferred to be only loosely moored to reality; her dreams were far more alluring

And, as always, the flickr view has the nicer detail.


The large drawing is finally finished:  Home

Graphite pencil, India ink, cross-stitched embroidery thread, glass beads, black paper, color pencil on Arches hot press watercolor paper

4 x 6 feet / 44 x 64 inches / 112 x 154 cm

Detail pictures are on  my flickr photostream.

I will write a statement about this specific piece...later.  I am still mulling over what I want to say.