Light & Dark – Artist Process

For the last year-and-a-half I’ve walked an artistic tightrope, balancing between the delicate, spontaneous vibrancy of watercolors, and the dramatic, expressive quality of black charcoal line. I love both. Neither feels complete to me without the other.

I “killed” more than a few pieces when the charcoal reared a more menacing head than I intended and over-powered the watercolor. A few I salvaged, hauling the light back out of the darkness. Perhaps there was no other viable process for a piece I began with the title in mind of Songs in the Dark. It fell into the abyss of muddy malaise. I erased, scraped, and layered pastel to rescue it from the brink. In the end, it incarnated its title. After all, isn’t that how it feels when we sing in the dark?

Songs in the Dark; 2013; 22" x 30"; mixed media: watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and pencil.

Songs in the Dark; 2013; 22″ x 30″; mixed media: watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and pencil.

For another piece, Now I See Dimly, I actually attacked it with a utility knife. And again, perhaps no other process could capture the yearning, the relentless scratching I feel to see what is yet unseen.

Now I See Dimly; 2012; 15" x 12"; mixed media: watercolor, pastel, charcoal, pencil.

Now I See Dimly; 2012; 15″ x 12″; mixed media: watercolor, pastel, charcoal, pencil.

Painstakingly in my artistic journey, I am wrestling my way to a flow, a process that allows the watercolor to serenade and the black lines to whisper and shout. But still, there lies within me the tension of gloom and luminosity that seems to erupt through paint and drawing materials. I am thankful, for light is always stunning, but even more so in contrast to the dark.

For the process photos, below, of my most recent piece, Long Road Home, click to view larger:

 

Long Road Home: 2014; 22" x 30"; mixed media: watercolor and pastel.

Long Road Home: 2014; 22″ x 30″; mixed media: watercolor and pastel.

4 thoughts on “Light & Dark – Artist Process

  1. Isn’t it amazing how incredible a piece looks with the black outlines. For me the outlines still resemble the issue I am faced with during challenges in life, however the light continues to shine through beyond and ahead. Lines for me could be a representation of fear however it always allows me to be safe within. Love your “Long Road Home”

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