Got notified that my card for Twitter Art Exhibit 2019 safely arrived at Edinburgh, UK. Phew! I was so unbelievably late this year that I was not even sure it would make it in time for the opening night on May 11.
For my artist friends who would like to participate next year, here is the TAE website: http://twitterartexhibit.org. This year they support an Edinburgh based charity, Art in Healthcare, that organizes workshop programs for patients.
One of my very favorite things to draw after horses are dead trees in different stages of returning back to elements. This one still holds up pretty well, a final testament to how high and wide it managed to reach in its lifetime.
This series started with a title, and that almost never happens to me. By the time I sketched the very first piece I could not remember how exactly I came up with “Stories of the Forest,” but the initial idea was to make ink drawings of groups of trees and shrubs that would gradually fade into the paper collage background to showcase the beauty of common plant inhabitants of Western Oregon forests where I often hike. Every little plant, every shrub and tree have a story to tell if we look close, and together they weave a more complicated story that makes some unassuming spot in the forest look amazing.
It all looked good in pencil, but moving forward with inking was a different story. It looked too busy. Varying density of strokes and dots didn’t really work, so two ruined drawings I decided to change the approach. Maybe pen and ink was not the right choice for what I wanted to achieve, or maybe (and more likely) I failed to collaborate with my pens properly.
So I started to remove details that were less essential from my sketches, starting with varied growth under and behind tree branches, then with nonessential branches themselves. I do all corrections on tracing paper laid on top of the original sketch that needs to be improved. This considerably speeds up the process and keeps new ideas flowing without interruption of redrawing the same parts of a sketch.
And that’s how I’ve ended up with just a few leaves and scarcely spaced branches, letting the gently colored background to hint at whatever a viewer wants to see in the finished piece. There is special beauty in simplicity, and that old saying “less is more” gave me exactly what I wanted.
A somewhat failed experiment with charcoal on top of soft pastels – I was aiming for a little different, more dramatic look. Apparently a workable fixative is not capable of holding even a thin amount of pastel in place, and it keeps mixing with charcoal. I wonder what would work better?
I started with lush lichen I saw here in Oregon during winter, but it ended looking like something that would be at home in the swamps of Florida. Sometimes non-committed sketching takes you to unexpected places.
A joint effort of Corel Painter Mobile and Art Flow (both Android apps), with Painter carrying out most of it because it is so good at faking oil paints. I don’t like how real oils smell and how messy the entire process is, so digital looks like a nice alternative.