Saturday, April 22, 2017

Looks can be deceiving...but the end result as well as process counts!

I have been more into drawing than painting of has a wondrous magic to me, as it did to my old mentor, Ann Zwinger, who talked about pulling the image from the blank page.  When we make one of our trips to one of my earliest heart homes, Bennett Spring State Park, I always seem to spend the bulk of my time filling journal pages, and this trip was no exception.

I'll admit I've been puzzled, though...I haven't been working in color nearly as much these past months, and not entirely sure why.

But as I told J., in part it is simply that I love to draw, always have.  It's simple, immediate, magic.

Hand, drawing instrument, paper.

No "Are my paints wet enough, what colors shall I use, oops--didn't wait long enough for that to dry, damn that's not the color I wanted, my yellow is muddy, I got my hand in my wash, where's that spatter brush NOW, I grabbed the wrong brush, and what the heck is wrong with that brush all of a sudden, anyway, it USED to make a point?!?"

Yes, of course I have recalictrant pens that run out of ink or leak at the worst possible times, and leads that break in my pencil.  But that comprises far fewer problems to hang me up overall, and drawing is indeed so delightfully, satisfyingly immediate.

Drawing instrument, paper, MAGIC.

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it...


I will admit this one is rather simpler than it may look.  My dear friend Pat Southern-Pearce said kindly, "such a light fresh touch..."

Well, sort of...

I had originally just done the slow comtemplative drawing, on the spot, with my Falcon soft extra fine pen that turns out to be sooo dependable.

You can see the bent old sycamore just beyond the table that was my open-air "studio."  (My wee bear Traveller kept me company and encouraged me as I worked.  So did my drum.)

And as much as I love black and white drawings, I decided this one needed a soft spring background.

Way TOO complex and difficult to paint around, though, so I decided to take the chance on liquid mask over the drawing so I could splash in the color all in one go.

When I opened my jar of maskoid, though, I discovered it was so old it had thickened to a gluey I took a chance and thinned it with a bit of water, in the lid.  Too late to back out now!

I sacrificed an old brush to that stuff, but I figured if it worked, it would be worth it.  I carefully painted over the drawing and almost all the vines and tangled limbs, praying that when I removed it, it wouldn't take my drawing with it!  I let it dry THOROUGHLY before painting over it.

The mask was still thick and clumpy in places...

So far so good...
I mixed loose, light, subtle washes, spattered and sprayed and dripped, in spring colors...which I ALSO let dry very thoroughly, to insure the paper was back to full strength.  Any moisture weakens the paper structure and makes it far more susceptible to tearing.

I tried rubbing the mask off with a finger, but it was old and gummy and did not want to move.  I'd wear off my fingerprints before I could clean the whole drawing...

The search for a rubber cement pickup was on!  Fortunately I found one in a pile of other art supplies and began the long, careful removal of the gummy mask.

Hallelujah, the ink drawing survived!  The Fabriano soft press paper in my little folding journal is strong, well-sized, and up to the task.  Nothing tore!  No wonder I love that paper...

 A bit of additional spatter over the dry drawing/painting and I called it done, with a great, gusty sigh of relief...

So thank you, dear Pat!  Whereas it may look like a light, fresh touch it took a lot of slow, tedious work to get there.!


  1. Bravo! And thank you. Still... I'm not clear on what you used or mean by "rubber cement pickup". What did you use?

    1. I cut them in half diagonally, so I have a nice sharp point for small areas.

  2. I love everything about this, and especially the thought of 'pulling the image from the page'. Sort of like what Michaelangelo did with the marble he carved.

  3. Thanks for documenting your progress. So often, I am too impatient to mask. Works wonders!

    1. Me too, but I had already invested quite a bit of time in the drawing!

  4. I was wondering how you got that background in there with the sketch already done! I went back and forth between wc pencils and wc, but never thought of putting rubber cement pick up over the whole sketch! You are brave! It looks beautiful! <3

    1. It was SCARY! I was really afraid as stuck as it was that I wouldn't be able to lift it without damaging the drawing. I promptly threw out the bottle and plan to get a new (smaller!) one.

  5. Absolutely lovely! Enjoyed the step-by-step. You captured the essence of that gnarly tree to perfection. :)

  6. Love how this looks. It honors drawing! and yet is more than drawing with the pretty background. I would frame it since I also love the look of drawing.

  7. When you have your drum with you, do you just play as the mood strikes? Any particular rhythm when you play, or, is it just the what you feel at that moment?

    1. Yes, though I usually prefer to do it when there are no people around, or only a few. And yes, what I feel at the moment.

  8. Stunning. The minimal color makes the piece feel so calm and zen-like.

  9. Inspirational. I live in the woods and look at these trees with love but doubt when it comes to drawing them. Helpful to see how you pursued this lovely drawing with its light wash.


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