In August I started doing line drawings with fountain pens and Micron pens. Like a lot of my work, it started as materials driven; I had ordered a set of various thickness Micron pens and was playing with them during my daily drawing. At some point these images started repeating and I explored further. I started with small square paper.
At first I was limiting to the square format which I really enjoy. When I returned from vacation with a bunch of small squares, I decided to try to pick one and “copy” it to larger square wood panels, hoping to then follow that with larger scale oil paintings using the same image. I’ve been interested in using oil paints again all year and had a few forays into it.
It’s always interesting when you’re into a repeating type of line work what happens. Do I get more limited in repeating certain shapes? Do I cover the whole space? Do I discover new line work to add to the box of tools? All of these things happened. Color also became part of it through use of fountain pens.
There are plans and ideas you have as an artist and then the interesting left turns you take that are unexpected. How did I go from these:
To do hat happened the other day with a totally separate project, my Mandalas?
I had been making these mandala collages that were all chaotic and pieces together based on an old series from over ten years ago. On Wednesday I started adding ripped up tape and ripped up drawings to a blue mandala as shown above. The next day, I had this breakthrough where I had to follow an instinct to cover the whole piece in light blue oil paint. As I always do with mixing color, I didn’t mix it all first to keep the whole thing uniform. I’m not patient enough for that. So the color varies but it had the effect I needed of simplifying the piece that was feeling “too out of control”. I was inspired by discovering a British painter’s simple compositions, William Scott. While reworking the circle I planned to add linework similar to my drawings. As always with going from thin pen to oil paint, there is an adjustment. If you’re not waiting for the paint to dry, your lines will pick up the lighter color. And the lines are thicker. Depending on the brushes and nature of the marks, the quality of line changes and you have a kind of interrupted built up line.
The piece is called, “Find Your Center”, at least for now. I had added stitching work to the edges and inside which I don’t want to completely cover. I’m not sure yet if I want the stitching completely around the edges and how to make stitch marks as part of the line work, but it’s exciting to jump into this totally new territory that changes the nature of the pieces.
A client saw the drawings up in my office and said they were soothing. I’m hoping the circles will take on a soothing sort of simple quality, which is definitely a big turn from how they started. It makes sense that under this still blue circle, there is chaos and upheaval, symbolic of the meditation process for me where one starts with a “loud” mind and ends up with at least a slightly quieter one.
For sure I am feeling more inspired and excited about this work than I have been about anything for quite a long time…