Monday, January 2, 2012

That Blue Pencil

The South Natick Dam
colored pencil

A few years ago, I took part in a focus group to evaluate colored pencils. I received a set of anonymous pencils and got down to work. They were all different colors varied greatly in quality. I got to keep the pencils but it did take a lot of time to answer the tedious online questionnaires. This drawing is done with a hard, chalky blue pencil. I wouldn't recommend it to any serious professional.

I like my art supplies to have personality …or, I like to assume that they have personality. Any type of personality is okay. This particular pencil is hard and alternately waxy & chalky, and a gritty light blue color. Draw just normally and it barely deposits material on the paper. Bear down and you might just burnish the paper or it might lay down a skid mark of this blue color. It makes my shading and line unpredictable --which I like.

When I buy paper, I try to buy a bunch, stash it away and forget that I have it. I gobble up paints and inks that are on sale and past their "sell date". I love picking up stuff at yard sales that have unknown provenience. The paint might need to be resuscitated. Will the paper fade and yellow? Is it unprofessional to make art out of materials that are so untrustworthy? Maybe, in this internet age where artwork is scanned and archived as soon as it is painted, using scurrilous materials is sort of excusable. This "fast living" helps me make a lot of pictures and keeps me fresh and, I think, vital. My materials give me ideas and energy as they express their own irascible quirks. If I could have anything, I'd probably have a lot of expensive pigments and paper AND a lot of junky stuff too.

If you've read this far, it doesn't get any better. This question is a quandary for me.

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