Friday, October 02, 2009

Birds Over a Cornfield

Birds (Over a Cornfield)

This is my latest drawing done with charcoal, pastel and collage. It is 3 ft high & 4ft wide-- because I love big right now. It feels like you can almost walk into the drawing. It is a view of an area in Carlisle MA that I bike past-- one day I saw a flock of birds flying just over the top of the corn, circling around playfully. I tried to take pictures of the birds, but they were too quick. I think the birds I originally saw are chimney swifts-- but I'm not sure-- they wouldn't hold still so I am only judging by their general shape. The birds I put in aren't really swifts-- could not find good reference for a flock of swifts. But I thought larger birds would work better visually.

Here are details of the figure and house:

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the birds are actually cut outs that I hand painted in acrylic for added texture. I shaded them lightly around the cut outs to give the appearance of shadow/movement so they stand out a little more. I think I will do more with collaged elements in future drawings, but subtly. I don't want to get carried away because ultimately I just love drawing itself without boundaries. I am in love with charcoal and found the process of collaging the birds here very boring-- but I like the finished effect.

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

Birds (Over a Cornfield) - detail

More will come soon, I am behind in posting my work and am still churning out more things daily. The big drawings go especially fast and I love the immediate gratification-- so I am aiming to do one a week-- and I can still get quite a bit of painting done since the energy of drawing is carried into my painting. This new way of working is turning out to be very fluid and natural and I don't have as many "bad" art days.

I've also found that reading in my studio just before I paint is a great way to slow my mind down and get into a more patient creative mood. If I come rushing in fresh from doing emails and errands I am more likely to be flustered and lazy in my approach-- so reading adds a good buffer period. Plus I learn interesting things.

Currently I am reading a biography of Emerson (by Robert D. Richardson Jr.) and it is fascinating. I am determined to actually read some of Emerson's essays for the first time. I have always had difficulty with philosophy (I could read biography forever) but this particular biography is a great introduction and background to what I would like to ultimately understand. Currently I am at the portion where Emerson is writing "Nature." I really want to read it now-- the attention the biography gives it has set my mind to thinking-- especially when juxtaposed to what I am currently working on with art. I wrote a new artist statement yesterday, and it is already out of date after reading just a few short paragraphs of "Emerson: Mind on Fire" last night.

This is where my sister would roll my eyes and tell me I'm a nerd. But I would just remind her about her own bubbly excitement when discussing vascular dementia. (She's a doctor.) Runs in the family.

5 comments:

Valerie A. Heck said...

I love knowing how large the picture is, very nice! I've done one charcoal drawing with just a red and it's one I framed for my studio. (I have a tough time drawing so I really appreciate your skills!)

fifiandlulu said...

very nice work!

Alia said...

How do you get everything to look so smooth? It's amazing. :)

Bekka said...

Thanks! Most of the initial drawing & soft effects are done with vine charcoal which is easily blended. I also used different types of compressed charcoal for the darker sections-- but lean towards the softer types to make it easy to blend. I use a chamois cloth to blend large areas and my hands to blend most everything else. I also use a kneaded eraser quite a bit.

bonadea said...

You work reminds me so much of Georgia O'Keefe!
Just love it!