Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year, New Technique

Happy New Year!!!  2014 brought a lot of changes and more success than 2013.  I narrowed the focus of my work, tried a few new shows (some duds, some awesome) and generally kept what worked and dumped what didn't.  So now on to 2015...

I usually reserve the first 3 months of the new year for playing with new techniques.  During the previous year I am constantly drawing and writing down the things that inspire me or images that I want to incorporate in my work.  As an artist if I don't evolve I will become bored, and it will show in my work.  Sometimes it takes a while for me to see the potential of what I'm playing with.  In this case there are two things I've been interested in for more than a year - Sgraffito and Zentangles but hadn't figured out what to do with them.

Sgraffito is the process of removing color to create the image.  Well, it's more complicated than that but for the purpose of simple explanation I would describe it like the old scratchboards we used in art class in elementary school.  Start with a black surface that has something cool underneath and scrape away specific areas to reveal the background.

Zentangles are a form of structured doodling.  I doodle all the time!  I've found that I concentrate better on listening if I'm doodling.  I think it takes the part of my brain that is waiting to distract me from a conversation and keeps it too busy to interrupt. 

A few weeks ago I noticed a January artist challenge set out by Kelly at Modern Ancient Glass.   In the past I have found similar challenges to be a great jumpstart to creativity so this was intriguing.  Today was the first day of the challenge - and as I pondered what type of imagery I wanted to try out first it hit me that a Zentangle would be perfect!

The point of this challenge is not to fire the "drawings" but rather to try to new things.  I spent about 30 minutes playing with the black glass powder on the 6x6 sheet of glass.   As a first attempt I'm pleased with the results.  Check back to see where this goes!

Day 2 ... make a tree using fingers and the edge of a card

Day 3... landscape with fingers and card    ---  This was exceptionally annoying and I gave up and snapped this pic to move on.  I do lots of landscapes with ground glass but I'm trying to stick with a single color and the tools listed in the challenge.  I've also been interested in doing desert mountains for a while so I decide this was what I would do.  After about 10 restarts this was the best I could do.  I will revisit this theme later when I have more tools/colors at my disposal.

Day 4 - 5 drawings - 5 minutes each.  None of these took more than 4 minutes so I'm starting to gain some confidence at my ability to translate shapes.  I'm also working through a "learn to sketch" book to help my skills for this challenge.   Nothing here is all that impressive but I'm getting a better feel for what the possibilities are.

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