"Blue" Gouache on board © Joanna Zeller Quentin 2009.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kid in a candy store

DH and I went to the art store yesterday.  Well, technically, we went to Michaels (I "kneaded" a "knew" eraser) but we were still able to wander the approximately 3 aisles full of goodies with our eyes alight and arms full of totally unnecessary stuff.  We have art supplies.  Between the two of us, we could probably open a decently stocked little art shop ourselves.  Airbrushes, inks, oils, acrylics, gouache, boards, canvas, pencils, pastels (a huge set of Rembrandt pastels, which was possibly the saddest thing in my art arsenal because they are so pretty - and were so expensive- and I can't do a decent pastel to save my life), brushes, tape, clamps... you get the idea.  When you spend four years at a fine arts college and then move onto your new studio, you just don't throw stuff out.  (This is probably why there just isn't enough room in our studio.  EVER.)

So we didn't really need anything.  I got my eraser, DH picked up a new set of pencils and some watercolor paper (I'm still awaiting my super expensive and hopefully totally awesome Hahnemuhle block to arrive from Germany any day now), we resisted the urge to buy the dog a beanie hat- if you knew our dog, you'd agree he could totally pull it off- and at the last minute, I ran back down the aisle and grabbed the coolest little set of calligraphy nibs.  They were so shiny - and reasonably priced- and I just couldn't resist.

I love pen and ink.  I love etchings.  I LOVE scratchboard.  It is entirely possible that in a previous life I was an engraver or a woodblock printer or did illuminated manuscripts or something like that.  Possibly religious iconography... but that's another story.  But pen and ink and scratchboard are for me labors of love.  The repetitive scratch, scratch, scratch of tiny lines, over and over again, is soothing to me, zen-like and restful.  The rasp of an ink pen being dragged across paper, the careful dipping into a bottle of ink, the rapid scribble and unpredictability of just how the ink will come out of the nib is challenging to me - and dare I say? - fun.  There's not a huge market for scratchboards or pen and ink drawings, so I don't do these things as much as I would like to, or probably as much as I should.  They are good things to do for art's sake- nothing more.

Anyway, so I managed to squeeze in an hour of trying out my new nibs tonight- something I've been looking forward to since Friday.  Here's the result....

Nothing major, just playing around with sizes and pressure.  Some of them worked better than others, and one of them didn't work at all, but I'm pretty sure it was user error.  There were also some random ink splatters, but I'm going to chalk that up to a happy accident and not just an accident.  (It's also been forever since I rattled out anything but some form of equine, so it was nice to "spread my wings" and dash off a heron.  Made me think of FL and the Gulf Coast, and then made me sad.)  But it made me remember how nice it is just to do something for myself.  Not every piece of artwork has to be a masterpiece, and that's a trap I've fallen into lately.

Speaking of masterpiece (j/k... couldn't resist) "Only the Lonely" is sooooo close to being finished.  After scrubbing out and redoing the nose and part of the face, I think I've finally got it where and how I want it now.  So now it's just a matter of... what?  "Finishing it"... whatever the heck that means.  Tweaking it and teasing little bits of detail out, pumping up darks and drawing out highlights.  Refining and refining and refining some more.  I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like when it is done, with almost inordinate delight.  Here it is as it stands now...

I'll post the finished product.  For now, washing out pen nibs and headed down with some graphite.  Overall, a very satisfying Sunday evening.
©Joanna Zeller Qunetin 2010.  All Rights Reserved.  www.MoosePantsStudio.com

1 comment:

  1. As you know, I am also a fan of pen and ink for all the reasons you listed. It still surprises me that you like it so much. I always thought I was the only nit-picky perfectionist who liked time consuming, repetitive, "labor of love" artwork. You're supposed to be the carefree one! Who knew you had it in you!? I love the blog...and the art. Keep it up! Love ya!