10 artists share their joy in the fundamentals of drawing
This story was featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download here. Or subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
“The thing that attracted me to draw BRANDI was the simplicity of her image. When I saw her, bam! I thought she would make an awesome drawing. There wasn’t a lot of shading involved. It was about her eyes, nose, and mouth, silhouetted by her shock of blonde hair. Her mysterious allure—nothing else. It sounds clichéd, but the truth of the matter is that simplicity wins out every time. Though I like to challenge myself continually, there comes a time when I just know I can draw something and enjoy it. BRANDI embodied this.”
“Horses are so expressive, and in my work I strive to bring to life their characters and personalities. Whether it’s a ranch horse focused on sorting cattle, an old veteran enjoying pasture retirement, or a young foal exploring the world—each one has a story and a feeling to share with the viewer. For this particular piece, I was inspired by time I’ve spent training and working with horses. When teaching a horse anything, there comes a point, after so much repetition, that their mind just ‘clicks’ onto the task at hand. They suddenly understand what you are asking and are willing to give. Here my goal was to depict a young colt’s ‘clicking’ moment as he gives to the soft touch of the rein.”
“A geological wonder—a spring-fed freshwater pond—rests yards away from the high-tide line on Maine’s last sand beach. My studio sits at Great Pond’s edge, and it has, through every season over many years, been a muse for my visual work—artwork whose internal structure is found in my drawing’s mark-making. In EARLY WINTER, EASTERN QUADRANT, GREAT POND, the pond was frozen and the day very cold. For me, warm brown ink with only a hint of other color suggests life which hibernates from winter’s bitter cold in order to emerge in full color during springtime in Maine.”
Sue deLearie Adair
“I have wanted to create a piece with a half white and half black background for some time. When I recently took several good reference photographs of blue jays, I decided this species would be an excellent subject for this longtime idea. Many people think of jays as obnoxious birds that bully other birds at feeders, but blue jays are not one-dimensional. They have a quieter side that I have observed many times during their nesting season. I chose two photographs of the jays with contrasting attitudes to emphasize my theme. In NOTHING IS I brought together my favorite subject matter (birds) and my favorite medium (graphite pencil) to convey my message—nothing is black-and-white.”
“The morning sun shines through a sliver in the curtains, crowning my daughter with light. I snap a photo. I draw her expression, her sideways glance, and that tilt of her body. I add space and pencil in her toys and cat. But, as if touched by the ethereal halo, she seems to have abandoned the symbols of her usual playfulness in a pensive moment.
The true essence of my daughter that I captured that day has taken on a life of its own and crystallized into this drawing despite my adding details, textures, and shapes. I find that once attitude is set on paper, the drawing speaks its own language.”
“I have always been fascinated by the refractions created by glass, crystal, and water and how objects within glass become distorted, creating unusual shapes. Recently, in my continuing journey as a colored-pencil artist, I have begun to explore the effects of light through glass. While browsing through an antiques store one day, I came across several pieces of carnival glass, marveled at their iridescence, and wondered how light would refract the colors through the glass. Wanting the light and reflected colors to be the focus of my still life, I grabbed some oranges, tried several different setups, and settled on the one in the drawing. The result was JUICY IRIDESCENCE.”
“Drawing is the foundation of my paintings. Each painting begins with either a study on paper or a drawing executed directly on the canvas. Sketchbook drawings, such as OAK TREE, are made for their own sake and may or may not become subjects of paintings. They are records of sights encountered in everyday circumstances or on trips.
“On a camping trip to a friend’s ranch in Texas, a sprawling oak tree dominated a clearing and practically demanded to be recorded. I was attracted to the forms of the trunks and branches and to the play of light on the surface. All of my drawings are executed in line, and I use cross-hatching to describe the shadows and model the form.”
Joe Mac Kechnie
“Every year I attend Seattle’s Bumbershoot music and arts festival, at which there are many wonderful musical groups, great food, and interesting people. THE ARTIST is a piece I created from several photos I have taken over the years of one of the musical performers. The contrast between his graying dreadlocks and beard and his brown skin in bright sunlight captured my attention every time I saw him. I have done several paintings of him, but I particularly like this practice sketch I did with charcoal and Conté. This particular piece started with an underpainting of abstracted watercolor marks to create an image that feels as if it is emerging from the paper. It brings back fond memories of Bumbershoot whenever I look at it.”
“Sketching people going about their lives or drawing from ?the posed model—working quickly to capture the moment—delights me. I’m fascinated with the expressiveness of the face and figure and, although I do use photos occasionally, drawing from life is tops! Lexie is one of my favorite models, and I draw her every chance I get. PENSIVE LEXIE actually came from the meditative quality of her posture during the drawing-session break. I loved the mood of the pose, and Lexie found it very comfortable to hold, so we just went with it when ?the session resumed.”
“As far back as I can remember I have loved to draw, which moved me to study architecture. Upon graduation I had a degree in architecture, improved drawing skills, and an appreciation for historic buildings. This view of Venice is a wonderfully complex scene of roofs, walls, and water with a tower or two for flavor. Using graphite pencils and brown and black inks on smooth Bristol paper, I had a most enjoyable time creating this drawing.”
Featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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