Monday, February 25, 2008

Setting up the studio

Naturally, I had to wait until after my digital camera died before deciding to start a blog.

This is because I'm slightly nuts, or maybe because I needed more incentive to go buy a new camera.

I'll be posting a lot of work in progress here, beginning in the next few days or as soon as I get a camera, whichever comes first.

Meanwhile, I'll put up a few recent works.

The drawing at left is Uncle Oscar's Appaloosa. The horse is a toy, about ten inches tall. He was given to me by my great-great-uncle, Oscar Lybass, when I was about three years old. One of my earliest memories is of him taking the horse down from a high shelf at his house -- it was all dark, warm wood in there -- and putting it in my hands.

Uncle Oscar was something like 90 years old at the time, and I don't think I ever saw him again, as he died soon afterward. The toy horse is the only thing of his that I have.

For this drawing I took a sheet of heavy paper and painted it with dark, transparent brown acrylic (acrylic is basically the same stuff as latex house paint; it's water-based but permanent when dry). Then I drew on it in charcoal, a couple colors of pastel (a dark black and a pale yellow) and some white chalk for the brightest highlights.

The brown wash gives the drawing a lot of warmth, and the brush strokes on the paper give it a great texture, like a painting.

I love this method of working very, very much. The only trouble with making art on paper is that while it's cheap to make, it's very expensive to frame. Canvases cost a lot more at the outset but are far more economical in the long run, so I work primarily in oil on canvas.

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