Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eanie, Meanie, Minie, Moe; Graphite or Color, I Don't Know?

I’ve always loved black and white; sophisticated, alluring, mysterious. My first experience with brush and black ink on white paper was life-changing. I won first prize in an art show for my linnear drawing of a nude. Charcoal and graphite drawings have always been my number one favorite. And then I found color.

I admit my paintings are flashy and friendly; but deep in my heart of hearts, I still get a thrill when a drawing is completed or turns out better than expected: basic lines, shapes and elements that need no color to define their essence or meaning.

But when I walked into a Ruby Tuesday for dinner on Sunday, I was surprised and pleased to see some drawings on their wall. Simple ink and pencil drawings were given a square splash of color set on a white background. Later in the day, I thumbed through a magazine where another simple graphite drawing became eye-popping against a yellow background.

What would happen if I added background color to some of my own drawings, I wondered? I was eager to find out, especially since a popular drawing of a young girl online had sold many prints. The girl appears deep in thought. Diagonal washes of orange and blue watercolor compound her sadness. A simple swipe of color, and the drawing is given another layer of meaning.

I’ve experimented with sepia washes on black and white. Online photo programs can do this automatically, and digital paintings are becoming more popular. I’m amazed at the genius that’s coming out of art schools today! The young artists think in new ways. Their paintings are unique, origional, and cutting edge.

Makes me want to go back to school. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?