Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Stinking fresh art!

It's Miercoles, so it still must be La Semana del Arte!

Clicking makes the pictures bigger!


Tonight was the second-to-last comics class, and since it was still sunny and warm out, and the art center has a small sculpture meadow (the whole complex is in a couple of acres of cleared out forest on the side of Nyack Mountain), I took the kids outside to practice drawing with pen, brush and ink. After wandering around and looking at what was available, we settled on a bronze sculpture that looked like an accident at the Gyroscope and Uplight Factory. All curves and pods.

In other words: don't ask what this thing is. I sat in front of it for an hour, and I have no idea.

As usual, I joined in the exercise myself (in between bouts of critiquing). All in all, I had a very pleasant 40 minutes or so, in the sun, on the grass, loopily spreading ink and white acrylic paint down onto the pad. After spending the last 36 hours doing code for Flash, making charts in Illustrator, masking out complex machinery in Photoshop and just generally abusing my mouse hand with the Terrible Digital Design Minutia all day, I needed to just do some pure drawing today like few other times in my life.

Thing is, I didn't really know it until the moment I put the brush to paper and started to just happily slide ink up and down. If someone had told me the I was humming like a little kid while I was drawing, I wouldn't have been too surprised.

The final result shows me (if not you) just how far I've come in recent years with just being able to relax and be loose and gestural, which is a goal I've been trying to achieve in my work since I was in my early 20's. I got technical precision fairly early on - since David Macauley was a major influence on me as a child, I got very adept at doing architectural renderings with Rapidographs by the time I was 13 and 14 years old. That love of detail rendering really came to hurt me later on as an artist - surface detail can hide a lot of fundamental drawing errors, after all - and I had a lot of those.

Still, I don't want to knock the 14-year-old me too much - I have to say, I see some of those drawings now and I'm pretty impressed. Nonetheless, being loose and able to improvise across a large canvas makes me happy, and the 14-year-old me couldn't have done that.

Actually, the 14-year-old me would have been really unimpressed, so it's a question for the ages: am I growing up, or growing down?

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