Though I’ve been doing more reading than art in the past few days (I just finished “Mansfield Park” and am now swooping in on both a Patricia McKillip novel “Ombria in Shadow” and a Patricia C. Wrede novel “A Matter of Magic”, all great female authors with great female-focused casts, although Fanny would have made me puke if she had that personality now), I went and bought myself a dozen canvases (always feels like that word should be “canvasi”) and so I’ve been experimenting more and more with ink on canvas. The only downside to ink on canvas is that the canvas soaks up a lot of the pigment. I did this huge 16×20 canvas and finished off 3 bottles of ink (though they were mostly empty). So these smaller ones make me feel less guilty for smearing deep dark pools of ink on canvas. God I love messy loose art.
So here’s that huge one I mentioned. I did it a week or so ago so I’ve already raved about it here or there, but every time I look at it (it’s sitting on my desk) I still feel a little swell of affection for it.
And though Margaret said it brought to mind a Sara Bareilles song, which is fine, I actually resisted the impulse to quote a whole Chevelle line, “So be brave/reshape/create/reclaim” because I EFFING LOVE THAT LINE AND HIS VOICE AND UNF. I always wanna use Chevelle lyrics everywhere (at least the few lines that make sense). But it totally fits the wild style of this painting, which dyed my hands and nails indigo for 3 days.
Believe it or not, I set out with this painting to make myself a “fashionable girl” picture where I’d get to flex my muscles making a stylish outfit for some made-up two-dimensional girl. But as usual my work gets much creepier than that very quickly. I still love her great hair and though I honestly was going for, like, a face, this is much more interesting.
SOOOOO when it hits me, it’s unstoppable, and I LOVE how this turned out! (I just finished it 15 minutes ago) I really wanted to try my new acrylic-based ink (stanks like hell and isn’t as nice as it looks like it should be) and that’s pretty much the only reason I went for a faintly pee-like streaky yellow background. I’m not perfectly happy with how the background came out, especially compared to the cloudy blue beauty in the piece above this one. But then I let it dry for a bit and dove into the lineart and forgot about my mediocre background. BECAUSE QUILLS WORK WOOOO. So I’d been wondering about this since I bought my store of canvas, because honestly drawing with a quill is totally my favorite way to get sharp, loose, dark lines, but I figured it’d catch on the canvas or be too narrow to put down any pigment. WRONG AND WRONG! I’m less at risk to rip canvas than paper, and as long as I’m not drawing on wet canvas, the lines go down like silk. Then on canvas there’s the added benefit of being able to daub SUPER RICH spots of pigment onto the canvas, and also create very thin, blotted washes. So if it’s not clear, OMG I LOVE INK ON CANVAS
And then that last piece (I call her Ingrid) inspired me to try real figure drawings again. Looking at her I thought she kind of looked like she was leaning into a conversation, so at first I was going to make a second panel in yellow, in the same dropper style. But then, I don’t know, BAM? I decided to do Andrew and Micah “exchanging secrets” which of course means Andrew’s duping Micah, what else is new. And then everything fell immediately into place and, barring tiny details, turned out exactly how I meant for it to. And in this case, this piece is actually stronger in the flesh than scanned, as you really get the impression of the two interacting canvases (canvasi) when you see it. I’m going to try more pieces like this, especially figures with the watercolory pigmenting contrasting with the strong blots and lines. YEAH ART
*edit* I just fixed the strongly pee-yellow background but it’s still super wet so I’m just gonna let it dry and then maybe scan the whole thing (rather than photographing it with my iPhone) and post an update with it later!
Oh and finally, when I was putsing for the second week on the same page of “Cadence” it struck me that I was always at liberty to start a brand new graphic novel, just as easily as I could start a new novel or short story. So I went to work plotting out what kind of story I wanted, etc., etc., and just as soon as I got to the point of thumbnailing pages I realized that I’m kind of horrible at layouts and that was heavily discouraging. Not knowing if the story would even work out seemed like a hefty gamble when considering that I’d push myself into a graphic novel and take lots and lots of time on each phase. So I guess I kind of chickened out. I just don’t know if I’m patient or deliberating enough for graphic novels, not like the quality demands. I mean three years on Sun-Walking was enormous to me, and I don’t expect to have another writing project to work on for that long for a while. I’m too fickle and I seek resolution too quickly with my creative endeavors to feel like committing even to a short story graphic novel (~80 pages I would guess) is worth it. That being said, I started my story idea as a short story and I’m still struggling with it. But if I do finish it, and I do end up thinking it’s got potential for becoming totally visual, then I will try it out. In a way, I see this as an opportunity to do a mean pre-write for the graphic novel, and at the same time maximize the format capabilities for the story.
Anyway, here are the two characters who would pretty much make up the whole cast. Raquildis Spencer is new; she came out of liking the idea of Ingrid being black in my efforts towards “Time-Painters.” She kinda ended up resembling Zoe Washburn as soon as I decided to make her face narrow rather than wide in order to offset Micah’s round face. I still haven’t decided what to call Micah, or if it will even really be him in the story form, but as usual I love writing him and he’s hard to resist.
The story’s called “Stealing from Raquildis.” Raquildis is a witch who makes potions on commission out of combinations like toothpaste and memories or dog urine and fears. Micah is a dirt-poor elementary school teacher whose desperation makes a thief out of him. But when he falls into the library of a witch, Raquildis takes him captive as she likes to keep a low profile and can’t have him blabbing about all the magical oddities in her house. She intends to make a memory potion to take away his memories of her house…but complications ensue.