For about three years now, I have been working in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, yet I continued to buy art supplies with the intention of making tangible art that can be held in one’s hands. Each time I approached my stash of paper and materials, I would ultimately return to the computer, surprised and disappointed with myself for allowing traditional media to become a stranger to my creative process.
Then, a few days ago I spent the morning cutting an assortment of papers into pieces 8 by 10 inches, or smaller. Paper in my fine stash included Canson Mi Tients in several colours, Canson Cream drawing paper, Murano drawing paper in a few shades, Cougar paper in two weights, BFK Rives paper in white and cream, Winsor and Newton 140lb hot press watercolour paper and Yupo synthetic paper. The stack resides in a rectangular tin box, on my drafting table so now there’s no excuse to not pull a sheet and begin a new drawing. The small size of the sheets makes the process more approachable and allows me to take risks, explore what ifs and experiment without worrying about outcome.
The results have been surprising, exciting and have pushed back boundaries for me. The process has allowed me to explore new territory, and revisit old techniques. Here are two of my new discoveries on paper:
Hard pastel, Conte and graphite on Poppy Red Canson Mi-Tientes paper.
This began as an experiment suggested in Connie Smith Siegel’s book Spirit of Drawing: A Sensory Meditation Guide to Creative Expression.
The idea is to explore landscape on paper by walking across the surface and becoming familiar with every nook and cranny as the landscape begins to evolve. I started with a rounded rectangular field of yellow ochre and in the center, a dried up lake bed formed in the center. A river and a delta of tributaries began at the edge of the ochre which floats above the surrounding red. The delta becomes a river that leads to the lake bed. At some point during the drawing process, I became aware that the image speaks of fertility, which I had not – at least consciously – intended it to, and that was interesting. It seems the lake bed is not as barren as I thought it was.
Hard pastel, Conte, charcoal and graphite on Turquoise Blue Canson Mi-Tientes paper.
This continues the idea of landscape, but this time, on a blue support. I began with only an idea of the first colour I wanted to use which was a dark olive green. The drawing started as an oval with shading and highlighting to suggest a mound viewed from above, however at the time it was the motion of the pastel spiraling round and round that absorbed me as I felt the chalk dragging across the surface and the sensation of controlling the stroke. This drawing evolved as an earth motif speaking of evolution and symbiosis. Again, much like the red landscape, colour influenced what the drawing speaks of.