Sorting & Organizing Drawings

Sometime in the next month or so, I want to be sure to take some time and sort through all of the drawings I’m completed for the Wading Series so far. This will serve both a practical and artistic purpose for me in terms of my creative process; I’ve learned in the past that keeping your work in a disorganized manner will come back to haunt you, and also so I can take some time to reflect on the experiments I’ve been doing since the project started and start to think about what the next step for the project will be. I guess I started thinking that I was going to be ready for this process yesterday. Yesterday I wanted to do some warm up drawings on rice paper, and then I realized that my pile of ink drawings on the floor had grown and expanded so much that I couldn’t find my materials anymore. Of course the rice paper was buried underneath the pile of drawings, but in order to get to the rice paper I had to sift through all of the drawings. I suppose what I was so surprised by was how different earlier ink drawings looked to me; my memory of what they looked like was so vastly different from their actual appearance. This experience for me solidified not only the progress I’ve made since the project started, but also how much my technical approach and mindset to the project has developed and matured over time. The older drawings have a very different stylistic look, and the new drawings are starting to move in an entirely different direction. This is a good point for me to reach in the project; the beginning of a project is so raw and new that there’s literally nothing to reflect upon because it’s so early. I’ve finally reached the point where there’s actually something for me to evaluate and consider. I’ll also take the time to go through the drawings and determine which ones are really worth saving. I already know that at least 70% of them aren’t; I just wanted to get some distance from them after making them so I could look at the work more objectively.

Immersion X

One of the earlier ink drawings, done with India Ink and washes on watercolor paper. The look is tighter and more controlled, there are more brush strokes, and their quality is much crisper and more specific.


An ink drawing from yesterday, done with chinese ink and washes on watercolor paper. The overall approach is much sparser, placing more emphasis on each individual stroke rather than on the collective whole. Also, the deep black ink is combined with washes using a bleed technique, as opposed to separating the washes with the straight black ink. There is also a shift of focus in terms of the relationship between the figure and the water; the earlier ink drawings emphasizes the figure much more whereas these more recent drawings place the figure further in the distance, with more of the focus of the image directed towards the abstract patterns in the water.

Looking at this image today, I’m starting to think that perhaps this approach is too sparse, and that I need to take a few steps back to get the image where I want it. Perhaps it’s just a matter of just a few more small strokes to enhance and fill out the larger ones. Regardless of what I eventually decide to do, I know it was important for me to do these sparser drawings, just as a test to see how far I could go, and what I can get away with. I’ve found in the past that going well beyond what you think is necessary is always important in terms of gaining a wider view of your process and where you want to direct the work. Simultaneously, I now have so many of these “sparse” ink drawings that it would be easy for me to take some that aren’t as good and work those further just to experiment and see what happens.

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