I have been wanting to be a bit more expressive in style, and to loosen up a bit. However, when you get RA, it’s not a good idea to have the hands tense for a period of time, which can happen easily when using pencil, pastel, etc, since you need to press harder to get that thinker and darker line.
I have been doing these studies with a light grey, mid-grey and black. So I just dilute the ink for the grey tones, and store it in little screw top containers. The top image was done with a number 3 brush, while the self portrait was done with a Chinese sable brush.The nice thing about the Chinese brush is the variety of kinds of stroke that it allows.
I guess you could think of these as drawings done in a painterly way, where there is an initial layer, or ground, just made up of free brush strokes, and from there I build up tones with density of strokes. Contour lines and little details are left to the final phase. The tricky thing to keep in mind is you don’t have any white to do highlights, so you have to be careful to dodge the lightest areas.
After using my paper trimmer to chop up some junk mail into different widths of vertical strips, I took some pieces of paper which I had painted on with water and indian ink and put them into my newly acquired paper shredder. I then collaged the strips side-by-side onto 620gsm paper. The previous day I had been fusing together pieces of plastic bags. Today I cut a primitive/naive looking hand from one of those fused plastic collages. I then cut out two sides of of a white translucent shopping bag and fused the hand shape in between to two sheets of white ( kind of “trapping’ it in the plastic).
I then glued the plastic onto the collaged paper strips, which created an interesting visual effect, while also serving to protect the surface.
It all sits inside a recycled frame which I did a white on black DIY crackle effect on.
With these two I left out the painted texture and just allowed them to be words and patterns in black and white:
This time around I decided to use Indian ink, as opposed to the acrylic ink I used on the previous study. What I found is that Indian ink is definitely more consistent, but doesn’t seem to hold in the brush for as long as acrylic ink. So with Indian ink it’s not long before the dry-brush effect starts to happen, which, of course is useful if you want to exploit that kind of look, but my aim is more to find the best substitute for the pencil. This is because with arthritis you don’t want to be having to apply pressure to get those bold lines you sometimes need.
Since there is no tonal variety in this medium, I chose to use directional line to indicate light and shade. The focused look in my eyes always makes me look like a psycho in self portraits, but this, like the previous study is intended to be just more collage material for larger works anyway.