Friday, January 16, 2015

Negative Trees

“Negative Trees”
Media: Birch charcoal, compressed charcoal, pastel (black), conté crayon (black and white), Ebony, Kimberly 9XXB and Sketch & Wash #588 pencils (pencil wash), oil pastel (black), acrylic (black and white), sumi-e ink, and Carters 14k gold ink
12 x 9 inches | 30 x 22.8 cm 50 lb
January 14, 2015
Negative Trees

Negative trees standing in the ghost of nothingness
Forest of winter aged in white and black
Winds that once were change in the making
Have been here and gone again

Maple sap grooves of former history
Yesterdays harvest and tomorrows gleanings
Naked in the physical space of lumber
Fertile in the glimmer of gold

Charcoal and carbon soot memory
Washed and splashed carbon metal
Titanium white or further chalk systems
Trees bare that bear fruit beyond chewing

After the timber has generated a profit
And the forest has been left to recoup
Seeds of sorrow and seeds of future promise
Will fall from these negative trees once again

Oliver Loveday © January 16, 2015 1:20 am EST 

A studio blog of the development of "Negative Trees" using Media: Birch charcoal, compressed charcoal, pastel (black), conté crayon (black and white), Ebony, Kimberly 9XXB and Sketch & Wash #588 pencils (pencil wash), oil pastel (black), acrylic (black and white), sumi-e ink, and Carters 14k gold ink. Each photograph shows the development of the work after the use of another media. Enjoy and be sure to leave a comment if all this inspires you to try new ideas in your work or if you just appreciate the process.

Birch Charcoal
I've not worked that much with actual charcoal. Compressed charcoal was what was required when I was taking drawing classes in college and I developed a real love of this media. Somewhere in the past few works I started using birch charcoal to start the work of art and it has opened up a lot of new possibilities for me.

Compressed Charcoal
Compressed charcoal is just plain magic on the surface. A good artist can make it do all kinds of things. I like to smudge with my fingers and get messy, which does limit what is going to happen on there but I'm not going to stop going in there with this tactile approach to art. It just comes natural for me.

Black Pastel
So here's where it probably feels like I'm grabbing for straws when it comes to going from compressed charcoal to black pastel. Compressed charcoal is made up of just charcoal that is is squeezed up tight while pastel is pigment embedded in clay. That clay body has a totally different feel to it and gives a luster that is different from charcoal. It might be subtle to the average viewer but I like to play around with the contrast between the two media.

Conté Crayon
When I discovered conté crayon in college I went crazy with it. I would do drawings on large newsprint paper and fill up the entire sheet with conté crayon marks. I would work up gradient shading with earth colors that would go from “in your face” 3 dimensional effects on out there into infinity. In this work I limited myself to two grades of black and some fierce white markings.

Black Oil Pastel
Oil pastel is a beast to work with in my opinion. I also feel that a lot of artists use it in the easiest manner possible and never wrestle with it to the point they bring out the best of what it can do. It isn't an easy media to work with in any manner of speaking. Getting a fine line out of it and have it go where you want it is about as easy as drawing with a stick of butter. It comes in a limited amount of colors and they don't blend very well, so it is easy to just go with flat one dimensional images like an illustrator would do. For whatever reason there is always a box of oil pastels in almost every art studio. They are cheap and they do the job on short notice. I don't remember when I got my hands on oil pastel but I have had a love/hate relationship with them every since. My favorite use has always been as a resist in mixed media works like watercolor. Finally I dug in and had my epic battle with oil pastel in the “Clipper Sketchbook” series. As another artist commented somewhere in the middle of that effort, I mastered oil pastel. None of that is demonstrated here. I'm back to having fun with it. Black. Thick rich velvet black in the middle of all these other media. Pencil comes later. It mashes it up. Look for it.

Ebony pencil and Pink Pearl eraser
Ebony pencil is just essential to the task. It can go from soft sensuous pastel shading to deep velvet blacks on over to shiny carbon metal sheen rich in electric visual amperage. It flicks and flies through the previous marks like black lightning curling down the trunk of a tree. And there's the sweet ghost maker called the “Pink Pearl” eraser that smudges and blends to create layers upon layers of marks that entices the eye into spatial wonderlands of nebula.

Kimberly 9XXB pencil
Kimberly 9XXB isn't my favorite pencil. The clay binder in it is like trying to draw with shale rock. Thick and chunky feeling. It erases funny. I've used a lot of different kinds of pencils and this one is at the bottom of the barrel in my opinion. Never mind all that. It stands its ground in the middle of all these other media. It appears different from the other two pencils in there. It's like an old work horse of a pencil. It gets the job done. It might not be as pretty as all the rest but it is the bed rock of black. Deal with it.

Brush action over "Sketch and Wash" pencil

"Sketch and Wash" pencil and brush
I bought the “Sketch and Wash” pencils around four years ago just to play around with them. It's sort of like using a brush and water to get shading instead of using an eraser. It's a different effect that adds shading similar to working with brush and ink. It also goes waterproof after it dries, which is nice. I'm having fun.

Black and white acrylic paint with brush and Ebony pencil
Acrylic paint is pigment suspended in plastic. Plastic brings its own qualities to the table here. Mars Black and Titanium White in lush proportions of thick stew in the mix of carbon-based media of natural binders. Applied fast and raw to make the edges visible where the brush bites the paper in hungry chunks of impositions over previous markings or out there in the empty white of paper where the marks hit water left over from the pencil wash and thin out into fog. Later sumi-e ink and gold ink with splash down or brush over and feel the resist of the plastic body.

Sumi-e ink and brush
Sumi-e ink is a land of it's own. No, an entire Universe of rich dark lands thick with distant fogs. This ink was formulated in Asia, either China or Japan. Each country has its own products with many distinct qualities. No, I didn't grind the ink from ink stick and ink stone for this work. I used ink from a bottle this time. If this were a work on rice paper it would be freshly ground ink. That isn't the case here. It slams over the forest of negative trees like dead winds frozen in the thick whiteness.

Carters 14k gold ink and brush
This bottle of Carters 14k gold ink came in a box of supplies from a friend. It was dried up and looked like nothing but I knew what it was immediately. The company was a major supplier of inks for 100 years before the family sold the company to a multi-national corporation that immediately shut down all ink production in the mid-1970's. I had seen it in art supply stores behind locked glass cabinets. It was the stuff of serious calligraphy. I used it on rice paper over sumi-e ink. I used it in mixed media art. It is the fire of fairy workings in a burnt out forest of nothingness. It is the magic of “make it grow” from Ferngully.

Detail photograph
There's over 100 photographs like this one now. Maybe more tomorrow. This one comes from the top right area of the painting. At the top of the right tree. Negative tree still a little crisp around the edges from the fire of purification that left the space empty. Again. Negative trees where positive and negative were reduced to nothing without malice or merit. Inside there is a fire that will never die. Of this we are bound together as one forever. There will be work-ups of photographs like this one on my Zazzle store of on-line products using my art. Check it out and watch for them. Bookmark it. Tell your friends about all of this. We're creating work that has never been done before. You are following it as it happens. Ride the wave. Love.

It takes some work to work this way. Stopping in between to photograph the developments after each mark is made. I would venture to say that the process of doing all of this hurts the work, as one can see the difference between this one and those before and as more come afterwards in this series of works dedicated to black and white. I'm holding color hostage. After a very productive and busy autumn, I'm taking a break and focusing on basic information for a short period. After that it will all be different. That's the way things go.

Negative Trees | audio of poem and harmonica on ReverbNation.

For more information about my work be sure to visit my web page. Links to other web sites including this blog site are on my “contact” page where you will also find my e-mail address and postal address.


All writings and works presented with this blog copyrighted 2015 Oliver Loveday.