Materializing Drawing in coloured pencils, Neocolor and Neocrayon 286 x 360 mm April 2015

Drawing in coloured pencils, Neocolor and Neocrayon
286 x 360 mm
April 2015

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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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
Image | This entry was posted in art, coloured pencils, geisha, Japan, photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Materializing

  1. kathleen campisano says:

    I so enjoy your blog. I just finished a drawing that was headed for the wastebasket, so I truly related to your frustration. I learned a lot about fixing from this experience. Please continue sharing your experiences so I won’t feel alone.

  2. elisa ruland says:

    Your art as well as the process, is fascinating. Sorry for the toothache!

  3. sherrytelle says:

    Once again I wake to find an inspiring blog post from you to make my day brighter. The way you interpret a scene is so fascinating to me. Everytime I read your blog I look at my drawings with more incite. Thank you so much.

  4. Ann Kullberg says:

    Love what you say about backgrounds, Julie. So agree. Can’t believe how amazing your colors are, after looking at the reference!

  5. Glad you managed to save this one and your toothache. Your lights in this are amazing, you really do get them to glow out of the page and as always the colours and patterns in this work are inspired. I love all these laneway works. Karen

    • Thanks, Karen. The lights were probably the most important part of this drawing. It is a drawing with a geiko in it, but it is not really about her. It is the street as a whole – with the lights setting the scene. I’m so glad that I saved it too. I have quite a feeling of triumph about it.

  6. I can see why that back section kept you going, I love the shapes and the glow of the lights, the mysterious little group of people conversing under the lights. The geiko IS like an apparition, floating down the lane.

    • I toyed with calling the drawing “Apparition” but stuck to the working title, “Materializing” in the end.
      My goodness, the hours and hours I have stood at that corner – and yet this is the first drawing in which that particular lane has been the subject.

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