Sunday, February 3, 2019

Translating Drawings

I love the process of making marks freely, moving my arm, tapping, brushing, or marking the surface with graphite, charcoal, or ink until an image appears. When I look down at my paper and see a form that approximates my observation or imagination, I feel satisfied. For me, it is one of life's great pleasures.

Recently, I have been developing more complex works from previously constructed drawings. It allows me to invent, suggest, or simplify more easily than if I am working from observation or from a photograph of the subject. I've been thinking a lot about the translation of drawings into related work. 

Study for Grid, 30x30, mixed media on paper, 2019
Based on bottom right square of graphite study

Entangled Grid Study, 18x18, water soluble graphite on yupo, 2018

Most of my work begins with gesture drawings that identify the essence of structure and idea. That visual map guides me through the process of developing a more complex painting or more sustained drawing. It helps me to decide which areas to emphasize and which parts to omit. It suggests value contrasts and nuances that might be established with color relationships.

Original 12x9 sketch on which drawing and painting were based

"Propped up and Entangled", mixed media on paper, 44x30

Studio view of drawing and painting

Entangled Spring, 54x42, oil on canvas

During the translation there are many considerations. How does a dry, grainy charcoal line influence the making of a liquid paint stroke? How can an erased smudge be represented with a brush? How does the expression of a monochromatic palette shift when color is added? Each of these decisions is intuitive. Rational thought must be suspended, allowing visual response to guide the process. 

Each work has its own language, and one does not offer a blueprint for the other. Although they influence each other when developed simultaneously, each is a completely distinct and independent work with contrasting expressions. 

Drawing detail, mixed media on paper

Corresponding detail, oil on linen

Drawing detail, mixed media on paper

Corresponding detail, oil on linen


  1. Love this post and your comments!

  2. Thanks for your comment. I enjoy the process of making art and the challenge of describing it.