Monday, October 29, 2018

Learning colored pencil technique

I used my Crayola coloring pencils to draw geometric shapes with shading, just to learn the ins and outs of colored pencils as a drawing medium. I enjoyed the feel of the pencil as it skidded lightly over the rough paper and bit into it more deeply as I increased the pressure to make a color darker. I looked at the page by chance about two weeks later. It was about halfway done, with just the two left columns and the top square in the third from left column done. I don’t remember why I stopped there, probably to eat or sleep. But I felt a need to fill the rest of the page with more squares and circles.

So I made a bunch more squares, one at a time, but of course since two weeks had gone by my aesthetic had evolved away from what I’d created previously. I consciously forced myself to put in some more 3D circles, in the rightmost column. I realized when it was done I’d made a picture, not just a practicing of technique. What strikes me about it right now is how easy it is to make just pure shapes and color combinations, with no attempt to include any kind of content. Too easy, my conscience says, a picture must be about something! Even abstract surrealism is about Some Thing. This work, which I call “Let me count the ways,” - all the ways I can draw circles and squares, that is – was fun to do. But I’m not ready to completely give up objectivism yet.

Non-objectivism (Pollock, de Koonig, Newman,,) had its heyday in the ‘60s and ‘70s, mostly on the East Coast, but one notices that there isn’t much of it around anymore. I suspect it is really a dead end. I don’t feel very surrealistic anymore but I’m not going to do photorealism either. So about the only path left is abstraction, but I’m finding that difficult. Can’t seem to distinguish it from cartooning. Check back with me in a couple weeks and I’ll let you know where I am artistically. In the meantime, back to designing coloring pages.

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