|1/23/2012 Moment Between Sketches|
What I enjoy about diving into sketch mode, whether a drawing or in written form, is the freedom of letting go. It's between you and the blank space. Sketches unfold and entice you along from one to the next and I like not knowing what's coming next. All the years of living, developing your skill, your surroundings, and expectations for tomorrow, fuel what steps forward in each sketch. A musician might experience this during improvisation.
When I begin, I try not to think. Instead, I check in on how I feel. When working to represent or render another person or subject, I notice what I sense or "see." Either way, this takes a moment to register. Other times an idea hovers around for a few days in the form of an emotion, texture, or something vague. Once I decide to begin, I look into the blank paper, waiting until I eventually see that first line. Ink pen in hand, that line is confirmed. When writing, it's not that different. I stop, then the first words or phase migrate forward.
My brain isn't the sole driver of a quickly rendered image. It's more dynamic and a little hard to explain. Imagine your hands, head, heart, body, history, desires, environment, and skill all logging onto one site and becoming an ensemble that together move the whole process forward. It's very democratic and not in-the-head-colonial and why surprises happen. It occurs to me that during the Dark Ages, a time of great ignorance and fear, simple minds would've burned me at the stake for this description. Human nature prefers the control of knowing where it's going, yet a truly creative process takes you into unfamiliar territory. This process makes you stronger, sharper. I highly recommend it.
The following, are several samples from 30 or more recent sketches. I often do 5 to 10 in one sitting as they happen pretty quickly. I enjoy ink line sketches the best. Ink lasts a little longer than felt tip drawings which eventually tend to fade. Either way, the simplicity of sketches require getting to the point with less. From one to the next rendering, an idea changes. The following sketch is the first one in this group.
(Just a reminder that any sketch is not to be downloaded, copied, or reproduced without my consent as outlined in copyright note indicated below).
Points to share about this first sketch: In the early 70's, I began drawing women viewing them from the back. I was interested in what could be communicated about a person without facial cues. This recent sketch was drawn as I was dealing with an annoying pain affecting my spine. That came through. Here spinal points connect to an ambiguous power source. While drawing, I was leaning up against a heating pad, so it is easy to see how your immediate environment can insinuate itself into your work. Dates mark years where a change or move occurred (not necessarily a painful change).
Another sketch with same view of the person (Click on images to see them more clearly).
Right: The hair as cord idea evolves as an integral part of the body. Here the hair itself has also changed. The spine no longer shown, is represented by bodice laces which cord-connect to the end of hair strands. Cords also begin to attach directly to face, throat, upper chest, and other areas.
Left: This person seems relaxed and moves about as if power-source cords are the norm.
In 1973, I began to utilize the extended and open hand in my work. The hand has continued to be present in many of my sketches as well as finished drawings, prints, and paintings. For me, the open hand represents an ability to connect, give, and receive. In the recent sketch below, cords are still present and now attach to center of the palm. Also, a note about the attire. When I was a very young girl, I had repeated dreams about a woman who wore a long cream colored dress with royal blue lines that moved across the shoulder and down each arm, also followed down the body center and circling the waist. She never spoke, but I felt different and things illuminated when she made herself present.
You'll also witness direct or indirect reference to the blue vertical or horizontal line appearing in her clothing as shown in several of my finished works. Below, is an example of a direct reference to this attire in my finished pastel piece, entitled The Alchemist.
Along with royal blue lines and creme coloring of her garment, there's reference to an open palm, a back view of the woman, and hair following the direction of her spine.
Right: Clearly, the main character in this recent sketch is now in the most relaxed mode because she's doing what she loves. There are now few references to plugs or connectors at the end of her hair strands.
Below: In viewing an older sketch book, I came across one of my 1979 felt tip sketches depicting three women singing. I rendered this one during a two-week stay in New York and thought it might be interesting to compare with the recent sketch of the woman singing.
In order to know this persona a little more, I came in a little closer.
Left: While her back is to you, she turns to take a look at the viewer.
Right: She looks down at something that has caught her attention, yet she doesn't seem sure about what she's viewing. Reference to connectors at the end of hair strands, remain.
Many artists, myself included, have many sketch books that have been compiled over the years. I hope one day to scan them for a digital archive because they can fade, paper ages, and changes color. In my case, it takes several sketches before one is selected initiating a painting, drawing, or other finished work.
As quick impressions, sketches have an important place in the life of an artist. In my next blog I'll share a few in written form. Whether a sketch is a drawing or literary, they can keep the mind agile and open. An open mind allows room for intriguing things to step forward and that can be very interesting, revealing, and rewarding.
I'll close with a quick note. The time between entries to my blog may vary because I make choices between writing about this process of living and creating work, and the time it takes to actually do the work. I'm glad you're there and taking this flight with me because the creative process, creative living, can lead toward what I refer to as "home"––and there are many ways to get there. I've elected to make that trip with nouns/verbs, voice/guitar, and as shared today, paper and ink. I'll leave you with that for now. Best to you, from me.
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