This post was so close to being called “The Last Post Before IT Dies” – following on from last week’s post, “The Last Post Before I Die” because this drawing nearly didn’t make it. I was working on it while suffering with toothache which put it in tremendous danger as I lacked my usual patience. Due to said toothache I rushed parts of the drawing. On the positive side, this led to expressive strokes and a certain energy…the energy of impatience and painful face! Yesterday, after an hour and a half in the dentist’s chair, I was able to return to my drawing, pain-free, and pull the work together.
What stopped me from dumping the drawing was that I continued to like the back right corner. It was all the rest I had trouble with. But that back right corner kept me hanging on and trying to bring the rest up to speed. Besides, I don’t easily give up.
I purposely didn’t want the figure to be the brightest point. She is emerging from the shadows. I wanted her to be almost like an apparition. In contrast to her traditional outfit are the bright electric lights and the ‘stay-wire’ to her left. (Matthew tells me that stay-wire is the correct term for this piece of equipment.) Behind the wall on the left is Ichiriki Tei. The juxtaposition between contemporary lights and wires with traditional buildings and costume is what turned me on to this composition.
I would like to show you the photo I took this drawing from. You will see what a tiny part of the photo I used for my drawing source. To be able to reach into a photo and get detail you really need a good camera and a good lens in the first place; a solid single lens reflex. (My Nikon D90 SLR and Nikkor 18 – 200 lens combination does everything I need.)
Note: still on the subject of photography, when working with moving subjects, I recommend having your shutter release mode setting on ‘continuous’ sequence rather than ‘single frame’ (one photo at a time).
In my drawings I walk the tightrope between care and expressiveness. It can be dangerous ground. I like to be expressive in my strokes and mark-making but they can get out of control. In this case I was able to pull them back after they were in place. To ONLY be careful would bore me silly and, I think, reduce my work to perfect lifelessness.
I have been writing an essay on ‘background’ this week for a publication. Where is the background here? No such thing. I don’t like the word ‘background’. To me it is meaningless. I would rather say that the area around a subject is its environment; air, water, space, light and terra firma. After all, do we live in a ‘background’? Of course not. Our environment is essential to our survival; same in art, in my opinion.
UPDATE: 18th June 2015 – I have decided that this drawing is no good after all so I have ripped it up.
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