Sailing point to point 8″x10″
Technical pen and ink on Bristol one ply paper
I have found doing small ink pictures of sail boats is really fun but time consuming. Doing them in pointillism (small dots) does give a different look, but It is very labor intense. The use of this technique is an artistic rendering choice more than a media selection for best way to render this image. Many great pieces of art have been rendered in pointillism and in color as well. When in color the mixing is done in the human eye more than in the paint. For black and white the grey tones are mixed in the eye as well and that is where the artist must use their experience to create a tonal expression of the image. This image is not a total pure pointillism image, there are pen line passages, and total black field fills within it. At best it is a mixed technique with major pointillism passages.
Pointillism often seems to point to the artist work and skill more than the image developed. The only time pointillism really works is when you don’t notice that it is pointillism or don’t notice the artists hand in it until you get done looking at the image and then see that it is rendered this way.
I love doing pointillism, for a really successful image, the artist should disappear and the idea should emerge, when properly done the use of pointillism is fantastic. These images work better from a little distance.
Here are some great examples of pointillism
Strings & Fall
5″x8″ Micron on 20# bond
Started out as a doodle, became an abstraction and later was used as a program cover for Crescendo Youth Orchestra.
I think all doodles are just journeys that are incomplete. With no destination or purpose in mind, a doodle begins to tell its own story. The rules of the world do not yield to this and begin to impose purpose and form into a shape. If you keep at it long enough, it becomes an abstraction of something.
The paper responds by supporting the ink or the pencil marks, making a record of nowhere you are going, but only where you have been, until an image begins to speak its own identity. It may be a response to thoughts or a tale of hopes, or just a hand memory of motions, but if one keeps moving the drawing tool across the recording surface, the lines become a picture of some sort, defined by the page dimensions and the intensity of which marks are made. The mood you are in can guide it into a response or comment unknown at the beginning.
This is no small event, because, like a hologram, every rendering contains every experience an artist has had, or hopes to have.
Eagles hunting from the bluff; Dip pen and ink. 7″x9″ on bond paper.
This was an onsite rendering in Duluth, Minnesota. Plein air ink work is tricky but fun, and usually requires both touch up and clean up back in the studio. I seldom do very large or complicated pieces in the field, not because of the complexity of dealing with wind, sun, rain and the tools, but because the time spent drawing in ink could have been used to sketch two or three ideas that could be rendered better, later. Little time was spent on the eagles, but on forming a good likeness of the rocks. I render as I go, so it is a little slower. The spontaneous outcomes cannot be recreated later though, nor can the lighting conditions. With a little research on the eagles, this will become a more refined work in color. Looking up past pines on the bluffs, the sky can be a very striking blue behind the tree green and gray-black bedrock outcroppings.
India Ink with quill pen 8″x10″ on illustration board.
View from Canal Park looking at Duluth downtown. This is a plein air (on-site) ala-prima rendering. Open pen ink drawing is difficult enough in the studio, and usually out in the field a technical pen is more expedient, but the pen personality of an open pen is so distinctive and yields such a different outcome, that sometimes I just grab it and go. There is little room for error in this style because the vertical lines betray any slip of the hand. In the trees and even flags, some margin for error exists. Yes, I did use a straight edge for the flag poles, so?
Wind and shifting conditions, along with sunlight eye glare on white paper can make it even tougher. When you are done, the results are not as smooth as a studio piece, but a freshness exists that makes the rendering more . . . well, you say it.
Pen and Ink on Illustration board 8″x10.” Plein air sketch rendered 2005 in Duluth, MN
As so many lakeside studies, there is a seagull in the picture. Working in ink, it is difficult to capture a good likeness of the busy birds. Duluth has many opportunities to capture these birds, and much added scenery with lighthouses, bridges, and lakewalks. So, one must work out the seascape-landscape aspects and add a bird in, making sure that it will go into the background as erasing in ink is not possible. If you are not feeding the birds, you must wear a hat.