I did some smaller scale ink sketches today, this time using straight black ink on the paper, rather then adding in grey tones. The last few sketches I completed last week all started with the straight black ink with grey tones layered on top, and I wanted to see what would happen to the image if I denied myself the opportunity to use the grey. In a lot of ways I think using just the black ink would make for a natural transition into woodcut. What’s most appealing in terms of the black ink alone without the grey is how straightforward it is, and how much simpler the designing of the image becomes. On the other hand, there is a slightly suicidal element to it in that I do have this feeling that there’s no going back with the black ink. With the grey ink, you can always return to certain areas and enhance them further, but once the black is there, it’s there to stay. For me at least, this is very much the mentality of doing a woodcut. I suppose the only thing I’m wondering about is how to translate the flow and movement of the ink into the hard surface of the wood. It may be just what I need to shake things up a bit. I’m still not sure which sketches are better; I think I’ll let them sit for a little while before I make any decisions.
I think one of the struggles that I’ve had in my work recently is the question of whether to simplify the image. I suppose the fear is that if the work is oversimplified it becomes plain, but if the image is too cluttered it can suffer tremendously. I’m trying to resist the temptation to make the images too complex, because in my opinion if the core of your image is strong it shouldn’t need additional enhancements to be successful.
I’ve also started thinking about the sculpture aspect, and perhaps the way to go about it is to make only the figures and not incorporate any of the water in the sculpture. In other words, I would sculpt the parts of the figures that are above the water and crop the figures where they come in contact with the water. I have been starting to feel like my resources with the photographs is limited and drawing towards an end, so it would be nice to sculpt some figures just so I can have unlimited resource material in terms of poses of the figures. I’m going to sit on this thought for a little while and then perhaps make some maquettes and see what I think then.