January 2007 Archives

Just a Bad Day All Around


Not only have I been working on the ugliest painting of all time -- it started that way, anyway, and I'm hoping to drag it towards being less ugly; more news as it develops -- today I learned something very sad.

My sign is gone. I'm almost certain it was there this morning: As I drove by that spot on my way out for the day, I saw someone standing at the bus stop behind my sign, and I thought, "I didn't realize that was a bus stop. If I'd put my sign up the other way around, people could've looked at it while they were waiting." I feel fairly sure I would've noticed if my sign was missing then, even if I could only have seen it from the back.

It was definitely gone when I came back this afternoon, though. I drove around to see if there were any sign crews or something in the area, maybe see if I could get the sign back.

I'm surprised at how hurt I am. If you'd asked me, I would've said I expected it to be taken down. But somehow I thought my sign might be exempt, because it's not in the way and it doesn't say anything and is basically innocuous. I thought maybe it'd just be left alone.

For all I know, someone took it to hang in their house. Which would be okay by me, actually. It's the not knowing which is bothering me: I don't know if the sign's in a dumpster somewhere or on someone's wall or in an evidence locker.

Three months isn't bad, I guess.

Bad Drawing! Bad!

I haven't been painting. The big problem is these panels I'm priming, which have sat under a layer of Gamblin Ground for a few weeks, and yet the paint is still soft enough to take my fingerprints. I'm very angry about this because I want to paint very badly.

But instead of painting I've been waiting for my panels to dry and drawing. Doodling, mostly. Then I was thinking I could always break out the Canvas Paper just to play around. This thought immediately brought up an image I thought would make a nice little painting like the last few I did on Canvas Paper.

But the figure I had in mind wasn't in the easiest pose of all time. Mainly I was thinking I needed to work on the hands. So I decided to make some sketches, starting with sanguine chalk.

Now I've noticed most people who post their art on their blogs only post the good stuff. They want to look as good as possible. I've decided, just now, to post the bad stuff. I think it'll be more informative. Also, I can make fun of myself.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, chalk on paper The first drawing was pretty poor. I liked parts of it but the body went all Mannerist on me and the hands were wrong and I was generally annoyed with it. I then did what I often do when working out a figure: I traced the first drawing on another piece of paper and proceeded to mess with it.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, pencil on paper For the second drawing I fixed some of the proportions but she turned out really angry about it. Also, for some reason her chest above her breasts got all stretched out. And I ran out of paper for her feet (you can't see it, but these aren't the entire drawings in all cases, because I just scanned them quickly and don't care. Also, some of these drawings are on the same pieces of paper). Time to trace again.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, pencil on paper Okay, now I'm just all lopsided. And what's with the tiny feet (which you can't see)? She's like some victim of foot binding. And the hands are all wrong. Maybe she's wringing them because her widdle toes hurt. At least she's less pissed off than before. Trace again.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, pencil on paper While tracing I realized her legs were too long for her torso and head. Much erasing and redrawing ensued. Desperate, I scrawled in a vague skeleton, which sometimes helps me to arrange things more realistically when the pose is not straightforward. Well, the hands are better, if too big and not what I wanted. And, hey, didn't I want her legs together? She looks like a powerlifter. Too many pencil lines; time to retrace.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, pencil on paper Okay, this is closer, the way New Jersey is closer to Brazil than New York. She looks less like a linebacker now. And the hands are...acceptable. Sort of. Now, who wants to screw around with foreshortening the head? Not me, apparently. Hmm, I see the legs are too long. And the crotch is too low. And...I'm going to have to trace this again, aren't I? If only because this face SUCKS.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled (but bad), 2007, pencil on paper Proportions rearranged. Hands are not the worst I've ever drawn, but they're nothing like what I wanted them to be. And apparently I was leaning back too far while drawing because now she's warping off to the upper right (which is a major problem of mine because I tend to draw with the paper flat in front of me instead of on an easel or drafting table). The face is even worse this time. I've seen better work in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. And, geez, you know what? This whole thing just isn't going to work, not tonight.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2007, chalk on paper And now for something completely not the same. Back to the sanguine I go to produce this. I started with the face and was so happy with it I don't care about the other little imperfections; the face isn't even perfect, but I like it anyway.

Now, I wonder what's on TV?

Yet More Squiggles


The squiggles have continued, but not nearly as quickly as before. I'm not exactly bored of them; I've just sort of internalized them. I doodle them now at random, for no particular reason, even using tools not suited to them (they look terrible in ballpoint).

Partway through drawing these, I guess I started thinking too much about Jim Woodring's images, and his line work, and got the idea that I could do some engaving-style feathering. I kind of liked how that looked. Also, I found I couldn't stay away from representation entirely. When I showed my father my sketchbook -- something I don't think I've ever done -- he paused and said, "There are the hands again."

Then at some point I broke my pen nib. I had to go on with my earlier nib, which isn't as flexible and doesn't make lines quite as nice as the other one.


Recently I've started considering beginning to plan my attack for possibly in the future some day cleaning out my attic. I have a lot of boxes up there filled with books, magazines, drawings, notes, letters, pads, papers, art supplies, drafting tools, and tchotchkes too numerous to mention or even explain. Last night I was digging around to see what I could find and I discovered a cache of color inks, which you can see I used in the most recent squiggle drawing.

I've been thinking of getting some drawing chalk in traditional colors, after seeing some nice work over at the Cennini Forum, where the academic artists hang out. I love the look of the old sanguine/black/white drawings on toned paper. Much to my surprise, I found a set of chalks in the attic as well. After fooling around with them for a bit, I couldn't help lapsing into old habits.

Chris Rywalt, Untitled, 2007, chalk on paper

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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