Friday, September 3, 2010

On Second Thought

My primary artistic style isn't bold or impatient, regardless of what I said in the last post. I realized this as I started work on the pastel drawing at top of a number of Cedar Waxwings.

I'm sure some readers may be getting a bit bored with something so self-referential as my 'style' so I'll keep it short. I began this drawing by looking through my sketchbook of field sketches. There I saw one of Cedar Waxwing that I liked. That got me to looking through the photos I'd done of Cedar Waxwings, which in turn got me to do numerous pencil sketches. Then I tried some thumbnail designs, moving birds this way and that until I had a pleasing, and believable, composition.

Then I forgot much of what I'd just done and scribbled the three birds onto a 14x17 sheet of Strathmore #500 Bristol paper. And this is where 'style' comes in.

I was reminded once again that I really like to improvise, to put something on paper or canvas and then respond to that. That's what I did here. Within 10 minutes all birds had changed position or shape or size. It's been said that some artists, for instance Beethoven I think, and Hitchcock, have a mental picture of their work before they start. They just transpose it into the proper medium. For me I don't really know what I'm doing until the medium gives me some clues. My plans are very vague.

Not all my work is this way. Some try to stay truer to the subject and keep improvisation in check. But my background and my preference is improvisation. I like a dialog with the medium in which I work. This is where I'm comfortable.

I'm not sure if the dialog with these Cedar Waxwings is done. Most likely I'll do some more work on it. Hopefully this will be the end of 'style' comments for awhile. My guess is that it gets tiresome for those who come hear to read something about birds and/or nature.


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Whatever you do, keep it up! Your pastel paintings are wonderful!

Ken Januski said...

Thanks Pam! I'm going back to what I'm comfortable with when I work in charcoal and pastel after a long time trying to learn both watercolor and field sketching. Next step, and who knows how long it will take, is to be learn to do this type of work in watercolor. It's much harder to improvise in watercolor but I know it can be done.