3.5″ x 2.5″, colored pencil on canvas
I really like working that tiny. The stretched canvas make it easy to draw anywhere, without any support. A canvas and a few pencils fit into my smallest purse, and apparently a grip of a shopping cart is good enough to rest the canvas on when you stand in a long line (Costco has no equivalents of a “3 is a crowd” rule, and sometimes it can be a long wait). Drawing to the rescue.
Following up on my initial idea of trying colored pencils on a canvas, I bought a pack of 5 2.5″ x 3.5″ primed canvases in Aaron Brothers and started with the first canvas the same day. It’s a remarkable thing for me; usually it takes days, if not weeks, to progress from an idea to something material. Here is the result:
It’s doable! And I like the effect that the rough support gives to the drawing. It reminds me of heavy cold pressed watercolor paper. Just like with that paper, canvas is lead hungry. It gobbles up serious amounts of colored pencil in no time at all, and I had to sharpen pencils more often than with most types of paper. On a positive side, a canvas leaves more room for mixing colors. A few things that I didn’t like I was able to scratch off with a fingernail and cover with new layers. No ill effects of doing so; the canvas does not seem to wear out at all.
I still need to get a better grasp of the whole thing, but when i am through this pack of canvases I think I will move to a bigger size. My first ides that never came to fruition was to wrap cold pressed watercolor paper around the stretcher. I even bought the small stretcher, and that was it. Wetting the paper, stretching it, drying it, seeing if drawing on that was plausible, and dealing with a possible fail was too much trouble. I wonder why I didn’t think of the canvas back then.
Speaking of the packs: not a single one in the store had 5 more or less rectangular canvases. A common case was 2-3 arbitrary quadrangles per pack that just look bad, so ordering online is not an option. I do want to continue with these tiny drawings.
Outburst – 6″ x 9″, colored pencil on drawing paper
Well, was it a strange journey with this one or what. Never worked on such a moody piece, but I think I like how it turned out.
On the Racetrack III – 11 3/8″ x 8 3/8″, pen and ink on drawing paper
The third and final part of three drawings inspired by Bay Meadows, a racetrack that, sadly, does not exist anymore. We used to visit it regularly, and it was always a pleasure for us and our kids to spend a day there. Now the long stretch of stands, the smell of the paddock, the turf and the sight of stables and horses everywhere are all gone to yield space to houses and office buildings.
Scinthia – 4″ x 6″, charcoal on drawing paper
This is what I hope to be the return of my long lost love for portraits. I mean human portraits. Horses were always fine and still are. But I haven’t draw a single human face in more than 15 years except for an occasional sketch here and there. It’s coming back now an feels like slipping in old comfortable shoes. “Scinthia” is not a real person, it’s my guess at what the name might look like.
Fortitude – 9″ x 6″, colored pencil on drawing paper
“Fortitude” is an ode to the plant that grows in our patio. I can never remember what it is called. But whatever it is, it survived a serious frostbite last winter, had to be completely chopped out, and in a few months came back as lush and healthy as ever. Right now this plant with an unmemorizable name is taking over the patio despite the heat. I keep hoping that it will stop on its own and I won’t have to trim it. It would be difficult to decide which parts to take away.
I did this piece as a gift to my Mom and Dad. Mom grows many wonderful gladioluses at their summer house, but the yellow ones look most beautiful to me.
On the Racetrack I
pen and ink on drawing paper
11 3/8″ x 8 3/8″
July 4th, 2007
This is the first work in a series of small landscapes that I plan to do. All places in the series will be from California parks and preserves.
The original drawing ($400.00), greeting cards, and prints are available in my online shop as a part of the “Colored Pencil” collection.
This one was in the works since 2000. I vaguely remember being excited when I just started with it, but then life got in the way with moving and traveling to Russia, and when I’ve picked the pencils again I hit a creative block. No matter what approach I tried, no matter what part of the drawing I chose to work on – nothing felt right. So I would walk away and work on something else, come back, felt that the creative block was still there, and put the stubborn artwork away again. I am not sure what’s changed recently, but “Running Free” was completed with just a few short sessions. Maybe it happened because last time I’ve left it alone for the longest period ever.