Witty quote

"I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." (Winston Churchill)....Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread. (Richard Wright)....Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet (Stephen Hawking)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Doodling, Rembrandt and some proper paintings

I've been so busy writing etc. that I haven't had time to scan in the large drawings I've been perpetrating. I can't get out of the habit of using the A3 format (= double letter-size) and my scanner can only cope with A4 (letter-size) so that means merging bits. That is very time-consuming and usually takes 6 bits (the golden mean?) to get a single merge, but I will replace these photos eventually. It is possible (and necessary) that some of the drawings will evolve further.

floral c. 40x30cm

I've collect patterns from all over the place to use in my line drawings. Occasionally I invent one, but there are already so many to choose from! I tend to call my drawings 'Ink Art' these days, but they are doodling with patterns (and sometimes without), I have distanced myself from the zentangle concept because zentangle purists have tight definitions for how they define doodling (doodling is used as an offensive word by some poor souls). However, the drawing style called zentangle has produced a lot of inventive people from all over the globe, but mainly the USA

PS - Dated March 2018  - There is a big following in Germany/Europe..

I start off either with a chaotic creation of lines done (often without looking) in pencil as a base (string), which I use only as a guide and often ignore. Sometimes I just want to practice a pattern and that leads to a drawing. I should point out that the zentangle thing has borrowed from all kinds of art forms and claims these as original to zentangle. That is not the case. All artists plan their work in some form and some like to visually their guidelines - painters often use a neutral colour to indicate their alignment of objects and abstract painters often start with a line or two to get them going. At the end of this post are 3 paintings using the idea of a window, which. Even the grisailles of classical art were in fact guidelines, in those days often used because pigments were very expensive and precious.

the night watch
3= dark, 2=middle, 1= light
On the technical side, I think it's important to give patterns space to breathe even in improvisations, which most doodles are. There should be open spaces even in the tightest network of patterns - I once attended a workshop in which the tutor maintained that the birds in the trees need space to breathe - his rather twee watercolours were based on that concept and they worked!
That concept can be adapted to improvised drawing. Abstract art lives on the tension created by form, colour and space. I like to look at paintings monochrome. It's a good test of how the contrasts work. Another formula for that is the 3-2-1 idea: we have light, middle and dark values and paintings can be allotted those quantitative numbers to regulate proportions. For instance, a painting that only has middle values will be boring.  I think this   famous Rembrandt painting shows how the idea works
In line drawings it not quite the same until you start shading with your pen, but as soon as colour or shading are involved, it's important to make sure there is balance! One trick is not to used a colour just once, but to involve it somewhere else on the drawing. Unless, of course, you are aiming to focus on one particular bit. Here's an example. I have added touches of colour to balance the big red patch!:

red flower

More new ink art doodles

Above and below are some of the recent drawing captured with my new camera but in poor lighting conditions (I will have to scan and merge to get good results). Some are just line drawings and may stay that way. I don't usually add titles. The ones added here are for convenience. Sometimes I take an older drawing and start colouring, but it's really the design and line drawing that I enjoy most. Getting a drawing to look good without any enhancement is a challenge. Occasionally I fill the paper out to the edges, e.g. 'floral ornament' and 'floral' were planned to get to the edges. 'Picking up speed' is the most recent drawing to date. With some I've stopped either because the patterns were getting too fussy or because I did not have time to finish the whole page. I seldom go back to completing a line drawing as my ideas have usually moved on and require a new blank sheet of paper. I tried to keep a sketch book of them, but prefer single sheets in the larger size, so the large drawings are eventually displayed in a large display folder! I'm going away next month and hope to take a large sketch book with square pages and fill it with mainly line drawings while I'm on vacation.

Interestingly, looking for the red flower drawing posted above, I realized that I have not really changed much of anything since I started making these drawings. I think one explanation for that is that I (like so many artists) have my own intuitive style.

Advancing casual (mindless?) doodle drawing to an art form is not the most important part of this kind of drawing. Many painters of abstracts cannot draw at all, but still have success as artists. It remains debatable whether these painters have the intuitive instincts of a traditional artist and even more debatable the unanswerable question of what art is!. At exhibitions you often hear "I could do that". I always want to say "Why don't you, then?" but don't. When I show collections of my drawings I get similar claims of "I could never do that". You can because anyone can. It is a question of wanting to and practicing. Art and artistry are basically in the eye of the beholder...

Among my 'proper' paintings, these are fairly recent ones. 
They are from an ongoing series I call windows and are 50x50cm and painted in acrylics