What I carry on the winding architectural art road

Creating artwork as a child, I usually used what most people do – a common #2 pencil, crayons, or a set of 6 watercolors in a tray.  In college, I took a painting and a printmaking course.  Maybe something else, but I have wiped that out of my mind for some reason….   While I enjoyed the physical activity of the classes ( if not the teachers) nothing took a really strong hold on me.  I couldn’t reproduce the printmaking because I didn’t have a press.  I kept the acrylic paints for a long while because they were easy to store in a wooden art box that my mother had given me.  However, it was hard to leave the paints and canvasses out in a rental place or after small children came.  And I wasn’t passionate about it enough at the time to find a way to make it work. 

I had bought a pen and nib set at some time,  during or after college and when I decided to start again, that was what I chose to use.  It was small in terms of materials and easy to use for repeated set up and take down.  And for some reason it appealed to me.  I liked the crisp sharpness of the pen stroke and tried out all of the different nibs in the little starter set that I bought.  Also, I think it fit my style of animal art quite well.  Then, as I said before, came the need for the print work of our new company.  I was already using the nib pens, so the transfer to the new subject matter was not a a big deal in terms of my materials.  It was obviously more a learning to draw perspectives from blue prints that didn’t look as if a 5 year old had done it.  It became  too difficult to have to reload a nib pen as often as the detailed architectural required, so in entered the use of the technical pen.  I found a great deal on a 6 pen set of Rapidographs when an art store went out of business.  I experimented with all of the pens and found the one or two that seemed to work best for me for the projects at hand.  To this day I tend to use the same ones, even though I had to replace the nibs repeatedly and finally the base too. 

The really surprising thing is how I came to use the  hard pastels in my drawing.  When I was in my teens, sometime in high school or college, my mother bought me a very large boxed set of 72 Faber-Castell hard pastels.  Don’t ask me why she did it.  She probably couldn’t tell me now either.  I’m sure she got a very good deal because a set that size would have been quite expensive. Anyway,she was always very supportive of my attempts at art, having dabbled very successfully herself.  I must admit that I didn’t quite know what to do with the gift at the time.  I had no idea how to use them and not a great deal of motivation for it either.  I played with my ebony pencils and had a short stab with self taught watercolor.  And then I started with the nib pens.  To make a long story short,  after I started the architectural work and especially after I wanted to branch out into commissions, I needed to be able to color the pen and ink drawings.  What popped into mind but the hard pastels.  I had never become comfortable enough with watercolors and with  a little experimentation, I found that I could successfully blend the pastels over the ink.  When sprayed with fixative, the ink would pop back out and the colors of the hard pastel became deeper and richer.  After a period of time, I could predict the color shift from the fixative pretty well.  I know perhaps in some circles it is bad form to use the fixative over the art, but when you are delivering a piece to a home owner or builder, you can’t trust them to take the care required to ensure against damage.  The fixative allows a little leeway for all parties involved.  And I like the brightness it gives the drawing.  Pieces that I did 20 years ago still look great, even after 3 moves.

Over the last few years, I started experimenting a little again.  I bought a nice set of colored pencils to use when I want a little more subtlety.  And I have been trying out some watercolors over the ink, too.  It’s all an ongoing process.  I may try to take another watercolor class this year.  I just have been having a hard time finding a teacher I like.

And I apologize for some of the spelling in the last post.  Galaxie?   I think I have it all fixed now.  I’m usually pretty good at proof reading, but sometimes after working a while on a longer post,  the brain just processes the idea expressed and not the spelling.  Here is one of my first commissioned architectural portrait drawings probably from the mid 80’s.  It was a very small square brick home, but I think that I made the house quite appealing with the lower perspective.

A cute little ranch house

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