Back in 1990 to 1992, I pursued my Masters Degree in Art at California State University, Northridge, and successfully was granted my MA in Studio Arts. During my two years, I was required to take a lot of different courses in different media. One of which was drawing.
I first must tell you that I was making my living as a Victorian Reproductionist/Illustrator in the craft and gift industries. I did lot of gauche renderings of roses, laces, trellises and decorative wallpapers for product embellishment. So drawing. OK. What did I want to accomplish? I had such a “tight wrist’ that I wanted to loosen up a bit and become less of an illustrator and more of a fine artist.
For our class projects, we needed to work in a series, which, by the way, is how I still work and is how most successful professional artists work as well. As I attended graduate school before at Miami University as a Publication Design Major, I wanted to utilize the Swiss Grid System in my work.
I began a series of still lifes using items I had laying around my studio: the tools of my trade. These photos are a bit uneven in exposure, but they are the best I could come up with for this blog! I do have high resolution images at my printer as these are all available on 100% cotton rag in 16×20 format giclees.
The work shown here is a body of work I did during a single semester of drawing, and is no where near all of it. There were several more of this series but there are just too many and I don’t need them to make my point They all lead to the outcome I wanted. I am posting them here in the order of their creation so you can see the progress.
If you look at the background of each, you can see the faint graphite grid which begins in the first couple of drawings, 1″ square. And then take notice of what happens to it as I work through the process.
As you observe the grid, it changes to hash marks, then overlapping with depth and different sizes, then the objects become the grid.
As the semester progressed, and my drawing instructor kept telling me to put in more detail, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do, as everything still looked very much like an illustration to me. And it was pretty much the same feeling I had when doing the illustrations which I no longer wanted to do.
I needed to break away from the grid, to get it to dissolve, to tear it up, to beat it to death, to end it. Therefore, my final piece of the series, which is what doing it was all about, “Sticks and Stones” tells it all.
This is a dimensional piece, and I have it in a box frame under plexiglass. I still have it. Still love it. And what I like about it? It gave me the freedom to tear paper, go dimensional, and use what I learned along the way. The piece shows a culmination of the series. There are pencils, as from the first piece, marbles from the last, but this time they are three dimensional. And, the grid? It is coming from the background and is torn away to expose a layer of pastel, and partially hide the found objects. Got it?