Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Art-Making: Viola

So, to get things moving here, I figured I would discuss recent work and the process behind it. And here's the first lucky piece:

Title: Viola
Media: Pen & Ink (ball point pen a la Bic)
Size: approximately 8"x10"
The Process: I created this image just after I finished up filming my DVD Project "Bellydance Artistry."  After several months of coming home after work and listening and working with the music that Nathaniel Johnstone had created for the project, I was at a loss of what to do now that that work was done.  I was lamenting about this situation with Nathan, and the response back was "make art." Duh.  So I pulled out my sketchbook and starting doodling, thinking about the music and the emotions invested within it and brought up by it, and over the course of 1-2 hours, "Viola" was the result.

The subject matter:
Well, I love to draw the female form, so it's what comes most readily when I let my brain and hand to whatever they want.  She brings in aspects of dance, music, and Steampunk.  It's also an exploration of fantastical costuming and geared anatomy. 

A note about how I draw:
I often work in many layers of fine lines, a la the style of Alberto Giacometti  - I like the depth that it creates, and allows me to choose which lines are more important and get more emphasis, without having to make a strong commitment to a single line. I believe this is also what gives more energy to my work, more life.
 I remember back from when I was about 6 or 7 in an art class, and the instructor said to draw multiple ovals to create a certain shape, then choose one of those ovals to be the correct one, and erase the rest.  Essentially, I'm still following the beginning of that method, but I keep the rest as well - it doesn't need to be neat and tidy.

What I did with this work:
 I scanned it in and showed it to Nathan, who wanted to use for the album artwork.  It needed to be more striking in order for it work for that, so I brought it into Photoshop, created a negative image layer, and slowly erased certain parts to create a balance of black and white.  I added some additional drawing effects to embellish the image and make it work in the CD cover space better - and the image on the left is the result.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I have not been so good about updating this blog - whereas I have been updating my other blog weekly which focuses on dance (  There's a bit of cross-over actually, as a lot of the recent topics involve art, artistry, and the process of making even if you're not into dance, you may find inspiration and brain-stimulation.

But I will try to update here more regularly with a focus on the visual arts.

Words to remember, always

"It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

As quoted in The Life and Work of Martha Graham (1991) by Agnes de Mille, p. 264.