Ink, Paper, Line, and Shadow
Given something that will mark and a surface that can be marked, a toddler will draw — occasionally to her parents’ dismay. This is nothing new: given a cave wall and a piece of charcoal or ochre, our ancestors drew breathtaking animals 30,000 years ago, the antelopes all but leaping off the walls as they try to outrun a predator. A petroglyph on Newspaper Rock in Utah is someone wanting to say something – as is graffiti on rail cars and city walls. A grown man listening to a boring conversation will doodle, if he can get away with it. Clearly, we can’t help but draw. It will out, one way or another, until our psyche lies bared, aspiring occasionally to what we can agree is “art”.
Celebrating this primal impulse, the Livingston Center for Art and Culture presents the limning of space with charcoal, ink, graphite pencil and watercolor pencil in representational and abstract styles. Highlighting the show will be original drawings by Dana Aaberg, Angie Froke, Lois Huntzicker, RJ Newhall, Lynda Sanders, Robert Spannring and Kristen Walker.
“… let the thickness and weight of your pencil mark indicate how sharply the edge turns away. Use the shadow not as a decoration but as a means of making the two dimensional three-dimensional. There is a far greater range between the extremes of light and dark then there is between the weight of your paper and the blackest mark you can make. Therefore you have to trick the eye into reading the same range of difference“. – Nick Bantock
Dana Aaberg It has been a remarkable time working on these drawings to get a few ready for this exhibition. It’s been a real condensation of experience working at distilling my different ways of drawing.
The drawings may not show the depth of thought that has gone into the processes but it’s been insightful and grounding and focused.
Although elusive, I’m hoping this is forming a foundation for me to do some paint… so I’m excited about it. Elusive because sometimes it’s easy to talk or put into words some theory about art that unravels with the doing.
So it’s been about doing and doing and doing and nurturing the process.
Angie Froke spent 6 years not completing her AA in Fine Art and Art History at Las Positas College in Livermore Ca. She has shown work at galleries in California, Oregon and Montana and is co-owner of Raised by Wolves Studios.
Lois Huntzicker Raised on a ranch southeast of Columbus, Lois Skibstad Huntzicker learned early to appreciate the beauty in the nature surrounding her in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains. The youngest of six children in her Norwegian family, Lois fell comfortably into her role of helping her father care for the ranch animals. During these years, many hours of time were spent with the animals that found their way into her care; from cats, dogs, bum lambs, chickens and calves, to an injured mule deer fawn and woodchuck. Though she experimented with various artistic mediums, she was especially drawn to the basic graphite pencil for its ability to capture the spirit, beauty, and strength of the animals she observed and learned the particular importance of the subject’s eye in capturing their soul. Adding a touch of colored pencil, mixed in with the graphite, has also been very fun and exciting as her subjects are brought to life with many, many strokes of the pencil.
While attaining an education degree at college, she was able to explore and develop her artistic talent further. She now works to inspire young artistic talent as a high school art teacher where she insists that she gleans as much inspiration from them as they do from her.
Currently living west of Livingston, Montana, Lois, and husband Jim, can routinely be seen traveling the back roads of scenic Montana searching for the next subject or glimmer of inspiration and are always looking for the next excuse to explore hidden gems throughout the region.
RJ (Bob) Newhall quotes Picasso in regards to his drawing… “I draw like other people bite their nails.” These drawings, at their core, are about movement. When my wife and I travel, she often drives while I watercolor. I try to achieve a melding of fleeting images with ones that are constant, like mountains in the distance, sage or red rocks. The final painting is not just a depiction of a single place, but a whole 20-mile trip down the road. I draw while musicians play. This gives rise to an immediacy, as what is in front of me is constantly evolving. That flux creates a conversation between me as the artist and the musician. The endless parade of changes asks me to respond anew with each drawing.
Lynda Sanders Drawing has been a pleasure for me since I was a little girl designing dresses for my dolls. While working full-time as a writer/editor in Washington, DC, I began studying for an MA in art history. The extraordinary drawings of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Durer inspired me to major in Renaissance art and I completed my degree in 1975. The goal was to find a job in art publishing in one of the many museums in DC. As it happened, marriage and children and a move to Charlottesville, VA, intervened.
Five years later our family moved to Durham, NC. While working part-time as a staff writer for Carolina Arts Magazine I researched and wrote about the survival-craft tradition in North Carolina and learned about the thriving contemporary fine-craft scene in the region. When the magazine folded after three years, I decided to try my hand at a craft. With sewing skills my mother taught me I launched a 30-year career (the last 20 of years with an artistic partner). We designed, made and marketed art-to-wear and decorative art, using quilting techniques—piecing, applique, hand-embroidery and overstitching, which, in essence, is drawing with a sewing-machine needle.
For the last ten years I’ve been drawing regularly with an artist friend/teacher, learning how to use graphite, ink and colored pencil. Combining colors to make another color, then blending and burnishing to create gradations of color is especially satisfying. I also use fine-point pens to outline or add texture. I sketch from life and from my own photos. Nature and architecture continue to be my inspirations.
Robert Spannring By the age of twelve, I was considered by my family and friends as “The Artist.” I drew constantly, doodling on my homework, scribbling shapes and lines. I created cartoonish characters. I drew wildlife and people from photos. Occasionally, but not often, I drew from life. I drew anything. I drew exclusively by line. I learned to master the line.
Learning to use pen and ink helped me understand value. The pen drawings were value drawings, with the amount of ink lines I used creating shading. I was using pen and ink with a quill pen when I started to paint with watercolors. The values within the pen drawings gave me a base to start from, meaning where to introduce color into the drawing.
When I entered college, I attended life drawing classes and soon learned about gesture drawing. This technique freed me up and my drawings became more fluid, more organic. The line became more alive.
When I took a painting class from Chinese painter, Xi Ueng, he viewed my work and gasped, “You paint by line! Paint by shape! Paint by shape!” This was a huge eye-opener for me on how to view my subjects for drawing and painting. Thus, my eyes and mind had to change, to visualize with shape rather than line.
As I grew as an artist, landscape painting became a big inspiration. I became more aware of light and how the type of light defines the subject I observe. Light creates different values from light to dark that define the subject.
Through line and/or shape, drawing is a skill I use to define elements that are created by light. Typically, I will explore the underlying structure of the design I see in the landscape with a base value drawing, either on paper or canvas or in my mind. I will use this as a road map, a schematic, an outline for me to follow and explore in my endeavor to create a work of art.