Over the years, I have narrowed my bag of tricks to a select few: watercolors, ink, a dip pen to write with. Sure, I vary it a bit with some gouache and an occasional brush pen — but my arsenal is limited and comfortable as old, very scuffed shoes.
Last week, when I hung out with my pal Penny Dullaghan in Indianapolis, I realized the price I pay with this lack of imagination. She opened drawers and pulled out screen prints, monoprints, pages of pattern blocks, , then drawings she had collaborated on with her 7-year-old daughter. I watched her create stencils to define shapes and then pound color through them with ink pads. I marveled as she created carbon paper with oil paint and scribed spasmodic, fractured lines with a special transfer techniques. She whittled a stamp out of soft linoleum and created graceful repeating patterns. She layered ink, watercolor, gouache and colored pencil over the textures she’d made and turned simple drawings and designs into rich, organic textures that made her images come alive.
I left town with my head full of ideas and a long list of things I wanted to try. Then I caught up with my pal Tommy Kane and he showed me new techniques he’s doing by layering drawings on top of each other, by drawing on marbleized paper, and by painting and drawing on ceramics.
My friends fired me up to get radical, to experiment in a way I haven’t in ages, to learn new techniques, and to build myself a proper studio once again so I can spread out and play.
How set are you in your ways?