Thursday, January 27, 2011

Would You Like to See My Etchings?

That old line has gotten a lot of laughs over the years, and it carries a grain of truth. People generally are intrigued to see preliminary drawings and sketches; a behind the scenes look at what happens before a painting is executed. That holds true especially for classic paintings done by legendary professionals such as Rembrandt and Dali.

Our local newspaper (The News-Press) featured some of these etchings in a recent column titled: “Big name’s small artwork” that advertised an art show in Naples. The display will highlight sketches and drawings that are “as small as a postage stamp” and “never larger than a post card.”

The traveling show titled: “Sordid and Sacred” will feature Rembrandt’s ink drawings of beggars and street people, along with Jesus and other Christian figures.

I clipped these photos from the article. I have always loved the intensity of quick emotional sketches. The ink strokes add to their strength. The artist’s first impressions and his desire to capture the humanity and dignity of each person is played out in the detail on their faces and in their carriage.

Another article described the artist Salvador Dali and featured his ink and water-color drawing that later became a painting of “The Old Seated Hippie.” The strokes are light and frail like the subject he portrays. Dali arouses our compassion and pity by the way he captures the grasping hand reaching out for hope; the hair shrouded head hiding the hippie’s struggle and shame.

I’m no Rembrandt or Dali, but I do love to make quick sketches. Some of them are better than others. I’ve never done a “polished” drawing because by the time I start to perfect the drawing, I’m already thinking color and eager to get my impressions down on canvas.

In my next painting, I want to incorporate the old doll buggy I showed you in an earlier blog about antiques. I've included an ultra-quick sketch that will never end up on someone’s showroom floor when I am gone. What it will do is help me compose and place my drawing on canvas. I’ll show you my “work in progress” on the next blog.