Unbound, beyond the sketchbook practice

There is a stack of sketchbooks in my studio filled with sketches done over the years during my boys’ karate classes. These quick sketches are exercises in composition, gesture and analysis of movement, they are also the point of departure for the Karate series.

Today I am sharing a mixed media drawing and the sketchbook pages that inspired it.

karate side kick sketchbook

sketchbook gesture drawing

revisited-sketch

Sketchbook gesture revisited

The top line drawing was the quick gesture drawing done on site at the dojo, its generalized character  is the result of rapid note taking. The next image shows the same drawing embellished with mixed media marks and color. This later version was the inspiration for a piece titled  “Warm up”. Due to the minimalistic nature of the initial gestures, I relied heavily on memory, imagination and a little bit on direct observation while developing this drawing. The subject matter and the mixture of materials which include water-soluble  graphite, acrylic wash, charcoal, sanguine and chalk pastels were conducive to energetic mark-making. My focus here was on gesture, rhythm and surface development. To capture the gesture, I  paid close attention to the tilts of the three moveable masses of the figure (skull, ribcage and pelvis).

burgos_adriana_%22warm-up%22_acrylic-wash-graphitecharcoal-and-pastel-on-paper_21%22-x-29%22

Adriana Burgos “Warm up”, mixed media, 21″ x 29″

I am pleased with the resulting sense of movement and the surface quality that emerged from the layers of material and look forward to future media explorations as the series grows.

A memory in brown and black

This end of the year I had the opportunity to get away with my family for a week. We stayed by a lake in the woods around Stone Mountain. It was a great way to bring in the new year, we did some hiking, sat around bon fires, watched the kids play out all day in spite of the cold and spent time with family and friends. I got to work on a small silverpoint drawing which I will share in a future post because it could use some refining.

I am however sharing a journal drawing from our trip to Stone Mountain three years ago. It’s always great to find time to draw on our nature getaways. This two page spread is a landscape study in warm and cool temperatures to show depth. It is part of a written journal in which I record our family’s experiences when we go camping. Keeping journals and sketchbooks is a great way to record life experiences, I hope my children will look through these journals in the future and find many of the memories we have created together.

study-of-woods-in-black-and-sienna

Adriana Burgos, Study of woods in black and sienna, 2014

In this particular sketch, I used sanguine, graphite and charcoal. Using the red and black is always an interesting challenge, because although the drawing is still a value drawing, the temperature shifts from black to red brown offer an added quality that allows me to manipulate depth through value contrast and temperature.

I look forward to sharing new memories through sketchbook drawings this new year.

 

Study for “Discovery”

fort-2

Adriana Burgos, Study for “Discovery”, Sanguine on paper 2016

On my last post, I shared some thumbnail sketches and a longer study for “Fort”. My featured drawing today  is titled “Discovery” and it is another comp based on the thumbnails. This was done with sanguine pencil on cream-colored Stonehenge paper.

I love working in sanguine, the warmth of the red-brown fascinates me and I like the way it ties in with art history. In this particular study I built values mainly with layers of line beginning with one directional diagonal hatching and then changing the direction of the marks on top layers.

Many of my favorite drawings by old masters are done with red chalk and I have great admiration for work created with this medium by Raphael Sanzio, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Jacopo Pontormo. I study the work of the old masters because of the rich draftsmanship in their work and their grasp of visual storytelling. Below are some links to wonderful websites (the met museum one of my favorites) with great drawings the old masters mentioned.

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/337497

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/340577

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/339273

http://www.discoveringdavinci.com/drawings/plants/

Story has always been a great inspiration for me, currently I am working with narratives based on the interaction of people with natural environments. It feels great to see how my sketchbook drawings and photographs from numerous visits to state parks in and around coastal Ga, are influencing recent work in the studio.

Idea development sketches for “Fort”

I have come to love the mysterious quality of the landscape around the area I live. This summer I started working on the South Land series, a body of work inspired by places I visit periodically in the Georgia and South Carolina low country. The natural resources here include marshes, beaches, swamps and woods. In this series, I am combining images from sketchbook drawings, and my photographs into narrative compositions.  Always an avid reader, I find inspiration in literature and I believe the juxtaposition of figure and landscape creates a sense of story worth exploring.

thumbnails-fort

Adriana Burgos, thumbnail sketches for “Fort”, graphite on paper

Today I am sharing some thumbnail sketches and a preliminary sketch  for “Fort”. The thumbnails are about 3″ wide and were done with graphite in my sketchbook. The larger comp is roughly 15″ x 11″ done with sanguine pencil. Although the small graphite drawings were meant to be different ideas for a single piece, I intend to develop several finished drawings based on these. My main objectives here were to experiment with shapes in relation to the picture plane, placement of the elements, movement and depth. I was having fun with the effect of directional lines across the space. The orientation of the branches and tree trunks create a choreography of linear structure that I find striking.

study-for-fort

Adriana Burgos 2016, “study for Fort”, sanguine on cream stonehenge paper,

The final pieces based on these studies will be large charcoal drawings. This is the ideal medium  to continue my experimentations with value to create a sense of atmosphere. I hope to be posting progress soon!

Recent charcoal drawings

 

The last couple of months have certainly been busy, getting ready for the academic year and for a recent group exhibition I was part of in Savannah Ga. The name of the exhibition was “Nature Nurtured” and it featured the work of eight artists, all members of the Foundation Studies Department at SCAD.

I exhibited the charcoal drawings shown below as well as three silverpoint pieces. These images express my responses to some of the places I have visited regularly over the years combined with my interest in narrative drawing. I consider them  the beginning of a series I plan to call “Southland”.

I look forward to sharing  process shots for these as well as some installation and gallery shots in the coming weeks.

 

 

Drawings and the passage of time

As the years go by, time seems to fly past us. It is often through our children that we realize just how fleeting life can be. As a mother and figurative artist, I have done a number of drawings of my children, many of them while they were sleeping. There is something beautiful and intimate about people in slumber. My most recent sketch dealing with this subject is one I titled “Restless”, it depicts Felipe trying to nap in our most recent camping trip, after a difficult night because he wasn’t feeling well.

It seems like yesterday when Nicolas and Felipe were only babies. With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to post sketches of my boys at different ages.  Below, you can see my most recent drawing of Felipe next to another of him as a  baby.  These were done nine years apart, both during family camping trips. The passage of time evident in the physical appearance of Felipe in each sketch.

restless sleepFelipe, 9 months old

My fascination with drawing my children hasn’t changed. Motherhood is a great adventure and one worth exploring through art. The drawings of my children go beyond description, the process of drawing is a record of my emotions and deep love for them.

The sketches below are of Nicolas, my firstborn. The first is one of a series of drawings that led to my first explorations with silverpoint, (two of these are featured in this post on silverpoint, https://adrianaburgosdrawing.wordpress.com/category/drawing-techniques/). The second is one during his toddler years after a walk in the stroller. Once again the juxtaposition of these images is evidence of the passage of time. Nicolas will soon turn 13 and is already taller than me. I look to the drawings of him as a baby as an important stage in my development as an artist.

Nicolas sleepingStroller

Witnessing how my boys blossom into their own individual selves is amazing. I see traits of both my husband and I in both of them, yet they are also their own persons. Even though they change and mature through the years, their essence is ever present.  Continue reading

Dusting off an old sketchbook

Elena and the spirits

Late June is usually when I catch up with some home organizing and the studio is, of course, among my top priorities. As I was organizing my space, I found several old sketchbooks. Today’s images are sketches  found in one of those books, these are for “Elena and the Spirits”, a narrative piece that I have yet to develop into a large drawing or painting

These images are idea development drawings of different speeds. Though not fully resolved, they are very important in the development process because they represent the materialization of an idea. Done, at least 15 years ago, they still hold my interest and I will begin working a silverpoint version as well as a large charcoal or mixed media drawing soon.

Many of the other sketches jotted in the sketchbook were developed into mixed media drawings or paintings and I will share them along with the finished pieces in a future sketchbook feature post. There are other sketches and written ideas that could be revised and developed further and definitely worth exploring.