Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"Blueberry" - graphite, charcoal, ink pens, india ink, and white oil paint.

Lately I've been spending more and more time with the prep drawing portion of the painting - enjoying the process and loving the look of the ribbons and bows in black and white. But the drawing eventually disappears under the painting and I end up wishing I had the drawing too. So for my residency I decided to experiment with drawing and painting on papers, particularly transparent ones.

"Blueberry" was my first drawing to do during my stay, and lesson number one - I will eventually use wet media, so regular vellum is out for me. The wrinkling paper was caused by the ink wash and white oil paint I used, so sad :(

I like this drawing a lot, but as soon as it was finished I felt there was something about it that seemed too something ... not me? Too much of an illustration look..maybe ... too much with all the curling ink lines?? I'm not sure. What do you think? But I really loved the velvety appearance from the ink washes.

"Over the Top" - graphite, ink markers, india ink, white oil paint on multi media vellum

This drawing was next, and even though I am unhappy with how this turned out over all, I really started figuring out how to use the inks.

In this close up, the thin wash and lucky accident of the long triangular drip helped me see how I could manipulate the inks for a look I liked better. I really like the more purposeful graphite lines visible through the ink washes. I loved layering the washes for multiple values too, but when that drip happened .... oh I fell in love! I haven't worked with inks and didn't know that a drip continues where the surface is wet, but stops where the surface is dry. Knowing this I really started to play!

"Pink" - graphite, India ink, and white oil paint on Yupo

"Pink" was next, and Yupo feels like silk, I adore it. I believe it is typically used for watercolor, and I can see why. The ink washes slide right across the surface and layering and drips were easy and fun. It is heavier than vellum, and holds the oil paint well too. Plus I felt it was easier to get darker values with the ink layers.

The lesson here though was the initial graphite lines I like to see peeking through, lift off once washes go on. Spray fixing the graphite drawing before applying washes is what I will do from now on. Even still, this is my favorite drawing of the res.

I LOVED how this long drip made its way all the way down the center ribbon, then just magically stopped!

It is difficult to see from these photographs the effect the transparent papers have on the drawings, but once hung, the shadows from the wall itself contribute to the drawings' values. I hope to continue to play around with this now that I'm home. PLAY being the key word and one of my most important lessons learned :)


silvina said...

Okay, you asked why the Blueberry drawing didn't feel like "you"; I think it has to do with softness and fussiness of line. Compare it to the bold, elegant lines in Pink. Pink feels much more modern. Clean.

I don't know... that's my two cents.

Blueberry is sweet. Pink is stunning.

Okay, three cents.

Caroline Bray Art said...

Thanks for sharing these, it's really interesting to see how you're trying new things and to read about the chllenges you face and overcome along the way. Looking forward to seeing you play even more!

Christine said...

I agree with Silvina..that is not how I would have described it, but I think that is it. They are all lovely drawings, but your work never has nervous lines and that one does. The contrast between really dark darks and light lights is wonderful.

Kimberly Santini said...

These are really stunning, not just in execution but in the way they reveal your process/experimentation. Play - I like that idea, too - these drawings illustrate your play of ideas leading up to determining the process which best matches what's in your head.

Blueberry is timid, careful in his space, quietly inviting you in. Pink confidently steps out and demands the viewer's attention - she knows she's got it going on!!

Love them all! and can't wait to see more!

Karen Appleton said...

WOW excellent feedback!! Thank you all so much! I think I'm still too close to these works to be objective and what was said here really helps me see!

Love hearing your three cents Silvina :) Yes, I bet the overall sweetness is why I feel it has more of an illustration feel, it's not making a strong enough statement. Yes, yes!

Thank you Caroline! I really hope to challenge myself more, I feel I just got my feet wet. Thank you for taking a look!

And 'nervous lines,' another great observation Christine. I'm sure I was, since it was my first drawing there. That is a great description of the lines, I think they are nervous and purely decorative, not really purposeful. Thank you Christine!

Kimberly thank you! Play is absolutely what I discovered can be key, for me at least, to the creative process. And 'timid' is such a great description too! Timid, nervous, sweet, that would have all been great if that was what I intended I suppose, and even play up those qualities more. But since it was not the statement I was going for, that's why it doesn't sit well with me. Thank you!

Thank you all so much! So nice to get your feedback!!

Marilyn said...

LOVE Kimberly's take on Blueberry and Pink. Your work is vibrant and full of personality, so play away! How wonderful for you to share and for us to see your progression. More please.
: )

Karen Appleton said...

Thank you Marilyn! More on the way :)

Marilyn Eger said...

You continue to inspire!!! Thank-you so much for that.

Karen Appleton said...

Marilyn I am flattered! Please! I LOVE the portraits and figures you do!!! Thank you for commenting!

kousalya said...

congrats! keep up the good work/this is a great presentation.
oil Painting