sd 9, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
Of the several bodies of work that I produce––paintings, drawings, cardboard prints, boxed paintings, textiles, hooked wool drawings––there are two that fill me with intense doubt: the potato prints and this relatively new group of small drawings (You can see the first 8 pieces I did here.) I am working somewhat against my sensibility with these, a sensibility more at home with the clarity of geometry and a precisely defined structure. Yet at the same time I'm intrigued by the possibilities of fluidity and improvisation; I feel I should stretch my comfort zone and keep going, and maybe something will come of it. I prepare the papers at the same time as I prepare the paper for my larger drawings, but I approach the task with more openness, working with brushmarks and layering of color. The violet pigment was acting strangely when I was toning this piece of paper: it kept globbing up, but I decided to just work with it. When I came to add some paint to it, I made just three small lines of violet, similar yet a little different from the irregular marks of violet on the paper's surface.
sd 10, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
Okay, I say to myself, you can also be a painterly painter if you want to be....so I prepared some papers with very visible brushwork, creating space and composition. I made very minimal additions to these papers, intending them to be quiet remarks.
sd 11, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
For some reason, this toned paper asked for a small volume floating on its surface.
sd 12, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
Although it is dark, this paper has a sparkly surface because I used a pigment called Iron glimmer. The dark red lines that I added with paint tended to sink into the surface, so I glazed them with a couple of layers of the egg medium to make them shinier.
sd 13, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
I sit looking at the paper for a long time before I touch my brush to the surface: what to do, what to do? I am never sure that what I choose to do makes sense, but here I was thinking about emphasizing the diagonal mark of the brush.
sd 14, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
In sd 14 I added five little blobby lines; the other lines were from toning the paper.
sd 15, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
For some reason it is very difficult to photograph reds, and the red center with its green border may not be very accurate as to color. I chose to emphasize the squarish opening with a linear square, then added a glazed square on top of it; it changes color and value depending on the position of your eye.
sd 16, egg tempera on hand toned paper, ca. 7 x 7 in.
One small addition in paint: a blue rectangle, off center, its solidity making it appear to float over the transparent ground. I sometimes feel as though I'm floating far from solid ground while I work on these small drawings, but I suppose that as long as they interest me, no matter their quality, I will keep making them; uncertainty can be a good thing.