I'm an artistic
omnivore to be sure, but there is really nothing I love more and respond to more
than pencil drawings. I know, the humble pencil and paper seems so simple, so
basic. But what some forego and forget as too elementary, I see as essential.
Yes, starting with beginner
pencil drawing lessons is pretty standard when learning art, but just because
we begin with pencil drawing doesn't mean we should leave it behind as our art
practice evolves and changes.
|Untitled by Kent Miller, 2008, graphite pencil drawing, 30 x 40.
Of late I've seen so
many artists who are making incredible pencil portraits and pencil sketches
that have reinforced how lively and relevant the practice is and how varied the
marks are that you can make with pencils.
Kent Miller presents
the material world in his pencil drawings as a place of moody light and shadow
with narratives that seem commonplace and complicated at the same time. In Untitled, a young man foregoes a place
at the table to sit on the floor, staring off as if a troubling or
thought-provoking event just took place-possibly linked to the two wineglasses
at the table. Miller focuses the viewer's eye on the figure: His
white shirt, the white highlights on the right side of his body and face, and
the wall he leans against (the lightest area of the painting) draw our eyes first.
The drawing suggests that the figure's emotional reaction to whatever just
occurred is more important than the event itself, indicated by the darker
shadows and gradations in the area on the right.
|Family Vacation by Rex Stevens, 2007,
graphite pencil drawing, 26 x 20.
Rex Stevens makes use
of a drawing pencil in ways I've never really seen before. In Family Vacation, all I could first
perceive were the whiplash marks that make up the three "figures" and the tree
they are gathered around. The level of gradation is impressive considering how
quick the motion of the artist's hand would have been to produce those strokes,
and there's also an incredible lightness and airiness to the work that
presumably resulted from the artist going back into the work with an eraser with
that same quick, vigorous stroke.
The "basic" pencil in
the right hands is anything but that, and right now you can see exactly what I
mean in so many of the drawing digital resources that are on sale at the Artist
Daily Shop. The sale is going on for 24 hours, so if you see a digital art guide that
inspires you, treat yourself! You and your art deserve it!