These black and white drawings are seminal to becoming settled in my new studio.
The branch from the dead tree outside the back door of my new abode was going to be thrown away. The person who sold me my living and working space was aware of my work; he held it up one day and asked me if I wanted it; I said, yes. And I drew a picture of the branch. It was the beginning shape to my new vocabulary.
These panels reflect my new environment. The mountain “lines” represent the Berkshires in MA. And the branches images come from a template I made of a drawing I did of a branch broken off a dead tree/bush once planted outside my door.
The incorporation of the drawings into the panel format demonstrates the influence of Japanese panel paintings from the turn of the 20th century.
This series of drawings is one of the best explanations of my process coming out of using arc templates to create shapes, characters, and language. I did these after I did the three large Healing Series paintings.
They are actually drawings for nine paintings. Each small square was intended to be 10 inches by 10 inches. The text on the left of the first one comes from The Communion of Spirts, a catalog on African-American quilters by Roland L. Freedman, 1996.
I love these drawings. They are a complete statement.
They are each 22 inches square, colored pencil, ink and acrylic on rag paper.
In the 80’s, I did so many pastels, there was at least a half-inch of pastel dust on my first studio floor. I stopped doing them because the dust was going to affect my breathing and that of my family.
These pastels were quite large, up to 100 inches across. They were hanging on a wall in a storage of my house for almost 50 years. Now they are all rolled up in another place.
But many are in a portfolio. Some have been lost because they were not fixed properly and moved around so much that the pastel was smeared. The image directly below is one of the drawings that was smeared beyond recognition. It is called Abierto.
These two below have been framed since they were made so have been preserved.
These drawings are all small, five and half inches by four and a half inches. Pigmented pen on black rag paper.
The “character” designation manifests my concern with developing a language of sorts, even though no character means anything, only itself. This group of nine was not the only time I dealt with this stepping off point.
The language has to do with the actual drawing of the curve which is cursive in nature: trusting myself to begin and end at the same place when I made the single line that is the initial curve before cross-hatching over it.
These drawings adhered to the “concept” of doing them which is denoted by the titles. Seriously, the titles go on and on in a conceptual-art-descriptive format unfolding every detail of the idea that can be verbalized.
Top: “25 Attempts to Fill a Square with 50 non-ruled lines…”
Bottom: Top: “25 Attempts to Fill a Square with 50 ruled lines…”
These drawings were shown at the Claire S. Copley Gallery in 1974.
These eleven drawings are only the beginning of repeating the same drawing intentions over and over again on the same-sized paper. I dealt with lines across the page here as if they marked horizon lines.
My interest in the horizontal line equates with the view from my studio window at CalArts my last year and a half there when I was doing graduate work for my MFA degree.
I was committed to maintaining the minimalism and clarity of my ideas. But that changed. The horizontal lines resulted in the series, Still Life with Curves, 1-24, which were exhibited at Claire S. Copley Gallery in 1974.
These drawings have no meaning. They are mere vehicles to move the colored pencil around the paper in a fairly uniform way. They are all small, maybe 9 inches by 8 inches. A contrast to the large black and white drawings also executed in this year.