Thursday, March 28, 2013

Creeping Past Roger B Taney

Statue At Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore,  copr 1982 William Cook

This piece was done on April 5, 1982, and is the last of thirty pieces
 in the series.  Below is the first, from December 10, 1981.  Just thought
the progress was interesting enough to blog about, since the motivation
was to try to figure out how to use the pen for something other
than  pure scribble pieces that characterized the
period from 1977 to 1981.  

Each piece in the monuments series was a studio piece
based on that walk in the snow with the camera.  I really had no
idea who these monuments were in honor of, especially this one
of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.  There
was something dramatically huge about this angle [from behind]
and the striking light composition.  What do I 
care of content--I'm just snapping pictures.

Pine Tree At Lake Montebello, copr. William Cook, 1981

As I went into representational mode, the techniques included the
black pastel wash, as I came to call it.  It was applied as dust with a
rag and then worked into with an eraser to pop out highlights.  As the
drawing techniques developed, all this tonal stuff was abandoned.
 It crept back in later as the style took on color (another story).
This represents my first attempt at representational pen and ink
drawing that worked (IMHO).  Oh, there were many train-wrecks
way too painful to show.  



Susan Roux said...

All these drawings are so striking! I especially love the swirly sky strokes that add energy to the image and help soften the dark shadow areas with the white page. It's a cool way to bridge that gap and avoid making the outline of your image the focal point, due to stark contrast.

Your statue works are really amazing.

William Cook said...

HI Susan--Those wild spastic marks are fascinating to me too. I don't know why they work. I think of them exactly as you suggest, as adding energy or activating an otherwise boring area. In some sense the tight controlled areas are the excuse to add the energy. Too much though ad the piece obliterates itself in an instant. Very odd. I'm so happy you commented. All the best.

RH Carpenter said...

I saw a photo of a Higgs boson particle and what it looks like and thought of you - fantastic swirling lines you could capture. Now I have to looks up that Paul Newman quote and see what it means! He was/and is one of my favorites and not just because we shared a birthday.

William Cook said...

Higgs boson, eh. Well I just looked it up and wow. How cool is that! Thanks. I will definitely have to read up on this.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

The scribbles and swirls seem to me to be the most William Cook parts of the drawings. And, because of that, they are by far the most compelling. More and more I am looking for the who behind the what. The what is still important, I guess (and your whats are well drawn), but by the idiosyncratic marks are what intrigue me and keep me looking.

hw (hallie) farber said...

These are wonderful and I too love all the marks. You should be all puffed up.

William Cook said...

Hi Katherine--I suppose if I thought about it, there is some deep psychological stuff going on in those scribbles that make them uniquely mine, but my gut says don't go there, just enjoy it as it comes however outrageous. I agree that these unique identifiers in all handmade art are most intriguing.

Hi there Hallie--Thanks for checking in. OK I admit it I am proud of these pieces. I can't get too puffed because of the line work of various heroes such as Jim Dine and Ralf Steadman, but I'm working on it.

hw (hallie) farber said...

The Ralph Steadman, whose book--I LEONARDO--is one of my favorites?

William Cook said...

H--Duly noted. A great excuse to go to a bookstore. He uses splatter like currency.