It takes a while to reach a sense of harmony with the ebb and flow of one’s own creative energy without panicking during moments of receding before it washes up on you again. In other words, since my last drawing, Red Crown, I’ve done nothing. I’ve been out of it frankly but for the first time I’m not freaking out about. I’m getting better at knowing that this is how I function and contrary to the current mojo of our times, it’s impossible to stay in a constant state of high productivity. Productivity books be damned, creativity NEEDS moments of incubation. In Nature winter calls us to these moments and I am no longer afraid to heed her call. So I’ve done nothing since my last post but watch anime and had my mind twisted by Park Chan Wook’s “The Handmaiden”. (I’m actually still recovering from that.)
Anyhoo, now that almost a week has gone by I feel myself a stirring yet needing a little boost. Viewing the work of others is one way I help myself get a kick start. So following are the works of four lovely female artists whose work I would like to share since they often inspire me. Some I’ve been keeping tabs on for a few years now and some are new comers to my personal list of inspirational artists. Their work can be described as ethereal, emotive, sensual and surreal. Matter of fact, you may even see some of their influence in my own work such as with my drawing “Maybe”. 😊
I don’t remember exactly when or how I came across Aubrey Beardsley. Bits and pieces of a high school library on a sunny afternoon seem to be the only clues that my memory can conjure up. But I do remember very vividly sitting in my bedroom and feeling proud of the personal copy of “The Climax” that I had just completed. So I can say with certainty that it was sometime during my senior year in high school that I became acquainted with the fella.
If you have been following my posts over the last year then you know I have a love for the simplicity of line drawings and Beardsley is one of those artists who captures that quite well in many of his ink illustrations. Now anyone who has ever been brave enough to have studied his work is aware that it can be a bit bizarre and risque, especially for the times in which he created. I admit, that was part of what I liked about it back then but now a days, nothing is all that risque. Besides his use of ink and lines, Beardsley was most all my gateway artist into the art movement of Art Nouveau. This was a style and movement that even ’til this day still influences my work and ideas about art.
As I’ve been tapping away, laying down small dabs of colored ink on my current drawing “Succulent”, I found myself feeling a bit lonely. Now when I say lonely, I’m not referring to an absence of social interaction or some sort of lack of being understood. Rather what I’m referring to is this loneliness I felt in artistic style. The way in which I create my work is by using a drawing and painting technique generally known as stippling or pointillism. The terms are often used interchangeably but I like to think of stippling as when I use nothing other than black ink and pointillism when I use mostly colored ink. It’s my personal way of keeping the two terms straight in my head. But you see, pointillism isn’t as widely used as a technique in the art world, which I’m sure is probably due to how time intensive it can be. So if I where to go to my local bookstore and pick up a drawing magazine, looking for inspiration, it is very rare that I will flip through the pages and see scores of images of contemporary artistic works done using pointillism. It is in that I felt this bit of loneliness. So for inspiration, instead of turning to contemporary artists, I am led back to the works of Paul Signac.
I first became aware of Signac while taking an Art History course in college. I had already been introduced to the technique of pointillism in high school but I knew nothing of it’s origin and history. (I’m glad that I took Art History instead of some other elective.)
Signac was a close friend and influenced by George Seurat, who also created pointillistic paintings. And although Seurat is more well known for his ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Île de la Grande Jatte’ painting, I’ve always taken a liking to the work of Signac more. Maybe it was how he seemed to focus more on landscapes and natural elements in his work rather than the human world. Being someone who is more oriented towards the world of Nature than man, it’s natural that his work would appeal to me more. But I also find Signac pointillistic paintings more defined, taking on a more realism feel where Seurat’s pointillism feels more diffused and a bit abstract. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Seurat’s work is bad or wrong, I do admire his work especially in regards to pointillism, so I’m not dismissing him. It’s only that if I had to choose between Signac and Seurat as a source of inspiration for my own work, it would be Signac hands down. It’s to Signac I turn when I might need an idea on how certain colors may mix or when I need a reminder of what can and can not be achieved with a pointillism. But it’s also to Signac I turn to quell that tinge of loneliness I feel travelling down the pointillist path.
I have quite a few early influences. Some still influence me ’til this day and some only fueled my artistic interests for a particular period in my life. As with most influences there’s always that first one; the one that gets a young mind’s creative juices flowing. So I got to thinking about who was that first one for me, that one artistic muse that kicked off my love for the pen and ink?
Digging way back into the recesses of my mind, back into my childhood where I spent lazy Sunday afternoons staring aimlessly at a tv waiting for something halfway interesting to come on. Sundays were notorious for boring tv viewing especially with the few channels that were available at the time. For no reason in particular the tv always ended up on PBS which is where I first saw the tv series Mystery! I’m sure I probably just dated myself. But in case you don’t remember or weren’t born yet, Mystery! was a spin off of PBS Masterpiece Theater featuring British crime dramas that aired from 1980 to 2006. (Growing up in Alaska I watched a lot of British tv series…and Justin Wilson, you know, that Cajun cook but I’m sure that was more so my moms doing.)
Anywho, now I’m not really all that into crime and mystery stories, my thing has always been scifi and fantasy, so it wasn’t the content of the series that I found myself waiting to see each Sunday after my initial discovery of the show. It was the opening sequence that held my attention. At the beginning of each episode was an animated title sequence featuring the original pen and ink drawings of none other than Edward Gorey. Well, I actually didn’t learn that the artist was Edward Gorey until decades later when I came across a book of his work at the bookstore. But even though I didn’t know who the artist was I always remembered his work. I loved the simple use of just black ink on white paper, the manner of detail in his linework and his ability to take such a simple yet unforgiving medium to create emotive illustrations to fit the theme of his works. Gorey captured my young mind in that animated sequence each Sunday afternoon and was the first to stir my artistic interest in drawing and particularly drawing in pen and ink. I still enjoy his works ’til this day and I still have this thing for opening sequences to shows and movies.