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Posts Tagged ‘gloss paper’

I16novleanphoto encourage my students to draw the whole figure rather than one anatomical part at a time.  Drawing the whole figure right from the start means scribbling and making quick adjustments when you notice that what you’ve put down on paper doesn’t hang together. Scribbling is messy.  Now, remember when you were in third grade and your teacher encouraged you to be messy?  No, you don’t, of course not.  This veneration of neatness that’s taught so early is hard to overcome.  But you can’t make art worshiping in that shrine.

16novleanclassdemo

The pose in the photo is so dramatic that if you approach it one bit at a time, you’ll inevitably make it stiff. When I introduced this photo in class I first did a demo drawing with everybody standing around me.  It took a couple of minutes and it’s a mess.  But you must admit, it isn’t stiff or boring.  It doesn’t pretend to be finished.  But I hope it conveys the excitement of the artist getting into the process.

Jeanne Mueller worked with the Aquarellable Pencil on gloss paper.

16novleanfinal

This means she was able to change lines and shadings by just swiping the paper with a damp paper towel.  Notice what major changes were made before she arrived at the finished drawing.  Notice also, how the invented background of stripes transforms the drawing from an illustration of a figure into a complete composition.

At right is the earlier, more literal  version of her drawing.20161110_145040

Jeanne Mueller, Aquarellable on gloss paper, 17” x 11”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/how-it-sits-on-the-page/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/drawing-sculpture/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/ptolemy-in-ulm/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/take-the-a-frame/

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130516LifeStudiesKEH3BlogThese are two-minute poses. Between poses, there’s no time to switch to another page.  All six poses are scribbled on the same paper. I encourage my students to let the figures overlap because overlapping takes us away from the clarity of illustration and into greater tension and dynamic.

Above, the page I did in class.  Below, the page as I developed it later in my studio.  I used the Stabilo-All-Aquarellable pencil on gloss paper, 11 x 17.

130516LifeStudiesKEH3bBlogAll contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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130516Classroom1blog

When we have a model in class, I sometimes draw along.  These are ten-minute poses.  I worked with the Stabilo-All-Aquarellable pencil on gloss paper. Height of drawings, 11”.

130516Classroom2blog

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When I fill a long studio table with materials for a demo—papers and various drawing tools—I only intend to offer ideas and present possibilities.  Nothing I say ever amounts to an assignment and if it did, ha, are you kidding we don’t do assignments.  So, no assignments for this group, but when it comes to inspiration they do respond in the most amazing way.

Here’s a student, Karen, who has only worked with pencil before and look what happens after a half hour demo with Aquarellable Pencil and Ink.

Not only does she use the aquarellable with complete abandon and ease, but she draws this face (from a photo) with pronounced and expressive  asymmetry.  Symmetry takes a bit of dexterity to pull off but basically it’s easy. Also… boring, static, dead.  What’s harder is asymmetry and, I think, that’s because it takes more courage.  So, does the facile, wipeable water-soluble pencil boost the artist’s courage?  Hmm.  Maybe. Since you can’t really make a mistake, you can try anything.  That’s a good state of mind to be in when you’re drawing.

Another characteristic of the Aquarellable Pencil is that it glides over gloss paper without pressure. It feels effortless.

All three drawings are on gloss paper, the first two in Aquarellable Pencil and the third in ink.

(Click for enlargements.)

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

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As the name implies, an aquarellable pencil makes a water-soluble line.  After you’ve put down some lines and shading with this pencil, you can go back in with a water-laden brush and make the lines “bleed” or create some other interesting havoc.  When you work this way on gloss paper, nothing seeps in, and if you want you can just take a damp paper towel and wipe everything off.  Your page, in other words, is infinitely malleable.  When you wipe off a passage (or the whole thing), it doesn’t feel like erasing , because the removal is instant and effortless—and does not involve a sanctified ERASER, you know, that thing that screams “you made a mistake” at you.  No mistakes here.  The aquarellable is a no-fault medium.  Easy, forgiving and you don’t know where it will take you.

I gave a couple of demos last class, one for the Aquarellable Pencil (made by Schwan) and the other for ink, permanent and water-soluble (by Higgins).  A couple of students took off—fearlessly.

The drawing, above, won everyone’s admiration.  It’s about 14 x 11.  You can move in close to study its subtleties and you can step back to share its atmosphere.  The wet brush dissolved the aquarellable pencil lines with messy control.  Without this kind of oxymoron you can’t get this kind of magic.  Gaby had worked with the aquarellable before, but never with such daring and with such delicate effect.

Although I describe this medium as forgiving, I strongly advise that you make studies of your subject to get thoroughly familiar with it and to allow yourself to develop an emotional take on the subject.

These are the studies  Gaby made before she produced her loose and very moving drawing. Click for enlargements.

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If the heart-shaped leaves of the philodendron were outlined more clearly, we might be moved to pat the artist gently on the back and congratulate her on having such good dexterity and a love of botany and in general being a good girl.  But we wouldn’t spend any time really enjoying the drawing.

This drawing by Alejanda holds our attention because it takes us in and out of clarity.  Now you see the leaf, now you don’t.  Now you’re rational, now you’re free-associating.  Here you know where you are, here you don’t.   It’s a trip, as people used to say.  But instead of feeling fooled, oddly enough, you feel that the work is truthful:  this is how it is with the mind, it goes in and out of focus.

It takes courage to work like this, with the wisdom of ambiguity.

The artist/student used the Schwan Aquarellable pencil on gloss paper and a plain old damp paper towel for the smudging effects.

A second drawing from the same motif followed, this one done in china marker.  Even though this medium was used without any smudging technique, the artist again  plays on forms with a love of ambiguity.

Two fine drawings in one class period.

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Traditionally, flowers are a sentimental subject in art.  The perfume of the cliché hangs over them. The viewer’s mind goes soft.  Oh, how pretty!  Oh, how boring.

Still, there it is, a luscious amaryllis.  It helps, of course, that it’s presented with a twist: just plopped down on this heap of cloth with the plastic stem coiling and creasing, like a cheap garden hose.   This is good for the imagination.

In her drawing,  Maggy S. is working in china marker on gloss paper, about 14 x 11. On gloss paper the china marker can be scraped off with a razor blade, but only to a limited extent, making for a pretty focused drawing process.

The artist puts down the amaryllis in red and then starts to work the background in black, keeping the texture lively. The flower is readable as what it is and the stem coils clearly, though it alerts us right away to the possibility that what we’re facing here is not all plain, up-front and literal.  Now, what to do with the black!  If she fills in the black as background, which is what she actually sees (please go back to the previous post to see the still life set up), then the whole thing will become too literal—red flower on black background, get it!!—and the drawing will fall flat.  But if the black “background” goes beyond being merely background and takes on a life of its own, we may be getting into art.  The artist restrains herself from filling in the left side of the page with black and just leaves that to the imagination, with two results:  1) The white on the left sets up tension in relation to the black on the right. 2) The black now moves through the page in an s-curve of its own.  This black s-curve echoes the s-curve in the flower’s stem.  Just seeing this is thrilling.  Because of that, the drawing may be considered finished.

Given their sentimental association in our history, flowers present a challenge to the modern artist.  But many of our mentors-in-modernism have approached the subject with plenty of irony and grit.  You may want to look up paintings of flowers and still lifes by Cézanne, Redon, Schiele and Van Gogh.

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