This afternoon was spent doing more small scale ink sketches, using both rice paper and sumi ink. I hadn’t really done that many until today, since the last time I was just figuring out that I wanted to pursue this direction. This time I also used a very large Chinese brush that has been lying around my studio for years, yet to be used until today. I suppose what I discovered as I worked on the compositions today was that a large part of the success of the drawings will be my ability to keep my marks fresh and new at all times, and to be sure that the range of shapes and sizes of marks is as wide as possible. One contrast that I was particularly excited about was the incredibly large, bold strokes the large brush made against incredibly light and thin strokes with the smaller one. I think the delicacy and thread-like quality of the thin strokes allows the large brush strokes to appear heavier and more gestural. I made several drawings, and after I made note of this I went back and reworked a few sketches so that I could implement the tiny strokes into the drawings.
Another idea occurred to me this afternoon concerning composition. Many of the compositions that I had been making were tending to be more horizontal. For the most part this is largely influenced by the photographs I shot which are very much based on the horizon line of the ocean. At the same time though, I’ve been obsessed with this idea of working with the scroll format for these drawings, and yet in my head I somehow couldn’t justify the use of the scroll for the project. This afternoon I did a few little pen drawings of tall scrolls with figures dispersed all around. I actually started to think that the tension of a tall, vertical drawing with the figures in water could be really interested. I could use changing of scale in the figures to show a sense of depth as well to offset the verticality of the composition.
This scroll format goes against everything that the compositions want to naturally be, which is exactly why I think it just might work. Either that or I’ll look at the sketches tomorrow and decide that it’s not possible. I’ll give this idea some time to simmer before I go ahead with it. Really, the only way for me to ultimately decide about this format is simply to do it, so I think the next studio session will be devoted to small sketches using this format.