Archive for the Process Category

It’s All in the Details

Posted in Art, Process, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by scratchyb

Close-up photo of woodburn details

I once had an art teacher call me “tedious Eric,” because I worked over the tiniest details with careful precision. At least, I think he was referring to that, and not my personality.  Anyway, I never broke the habit, as you can see here. This is one tiny part of a larger piece I’ve been working on, and even as I asked myself why I’m focusing so much on this repetitive pattern, I understood that I couldn’t do it any other way. Repetition of patterns is almost meditative, and it allows me to get into a state of mind where I can think through other things, solve other problems even as I focus on the work in front of me.  Of course, when I changed over to stippling further down, it broke the rhythm and I started to feel a little fidgety and anxious.

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Pyrography Artist Blair Mclean

Posted in Art, Process, woodburning with tags , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by scratchyb

Yesterday I talked about the dearth of pyrographers kicking it up a notch to create a higher art.  I found this guy Blair Mclean on YouTube and thought I’d point out his work as an example of the concept that I strive for.  He does some incredible straight-line images of architecture and landscapes that kind of put me in mind of art deco and Peter Kuper.  Instead of traditional burners, he uses a torch and metal straight edges.  This is awesome stuff, check out these videos of his process.

Crafty Art

Posted in Art, Process, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by scratchyb

I’m counting the days down until the craft fair portion of 50/50 Pilsen, and thinking a little bit about where craft and art meet.  Art almost always involves a degree of craftsmanship, unless it’s purely conceptual. The work I’ve been doing recently involves a medium that puts most people in mind of boy scouts, grandparents, and kitschy outdoor country scenes.  Pyrography doesn’t have the popularity of, say, screenprinting, and it is far more time-consuming without the possibility of mass-production. But there’s a lot of possibility in the medium, because of the range of possible markings, from fine-detail to thicker, deeper burns.

Since the theme of this show is where art meets craft, I’ve been exploring the craftier elements of my woodburning, but really, I’m far more interested in how to incorporate this craft into paintings and drawings. Now, plenty of people consider pyrography a serious art, and so do I, but does it get the same respect as painting or sculpture? This past spring I was at the Art Chicago show at Merchandise Mart, and saw one example of pyrography. I’ve found a few cool woodburn artists trolling around the web, but ultimately, where I draw the line is whether someone is creating original subject matter with a discernible style. I’ll be interested in hearing some of the comments of the Pilsen arts community, because at this show I’ll be focusing almost exclusively on woodburn art.

We’ll see what we’ll see.

The Value of Tedium

Posted in Art, Process with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2011 by scratchyb

I’ve been working on a project that requires some very repetitive detailed patterns. After a couple of hours, I’ve realized I’ve completed 10% of what I need done.  In short, it’s a very tedious process.

I’ve always been detail oriented to a certain degree. When I first envision an image, the detail pops out at me, but what comes out in the initial sketch is usually just a basic outline. That’s mainly from the haste of getting the idea out on paper. Then I can solidify the actual patterns and particulars during the execution of the actual piece.  And sometimes I end up committing myself to a pattern that is more than I had originally anticipated, and can eventually become very time-consuming and dull to replicate.  I almost always like the end results, provided I didn’t take any random shortcuts along the way.

There’s a number of artists that inspire me to carry on with my process, and take it even further.  For years, I’ve followed the work of Richard Kirk, who uses a meticulous and antique process called silverpoint,  which is actually drawing with silver wire on a specially prepared support.  And then just yesterday I took inspiration from wood sculptor Maskull Lasserre, who I discovered courtesy of the Dudecraft blog.

I think there’s a lot to learn from working at the detailed level. It definitely teaches patience, which I tend to run short on, but also the value of perseverance. I know from experience that the work I’m doing will pay off in the final result. And that’s a lesson for life.

Pyrography work

Posted in Art, Process, Projects, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2010 by scratchyb

I’ve been quietly slipping into woodburning as a medium, with relatively little fanfare, since it’s largely been an experiment.  At this point, I’d say I’ve learned a few good lessons so far.  On my latest piece, part of the Creatures of the Arboretarium series, I used all the nibs that came with my single-temperature, cheap little burning pen.  Each one has a different effect.

I learned a few little tricks along the way, like keeping the nibs clean from carbon buildup to keep them burning clear and even.  Light sandpaper or a razor generally do the trick.

I’ve also started figuring out what each nib can do, and how to use the different burn styles between them to create new effects.

If you’re careful, you can even use a blade to lighten up some areas that may have been over-burned.

And the finished piece.  It’s a pangolion.  Basically a pangolin (sort of a scaly anteater, also called a living pinecone) and a lion combined.

IF–Equipment

Posted in Illustration Friday, Process with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2010 by scratchyb

Cheating here, this is actually an old concept sketch I did for what was going to be a relief block print.  The end result was just way too complicated for linoleum, the material I used when I was doing that kind of work.  But the Illustration Friday topic for this week was “Equipment”, and I couldn’t resist bringing this out of the drawer.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2010

Illustration Friday–Fearless

Posted in Illustration Friday, Process, Technique with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2010 by scratchyb

Fearless

The stranger stood inert like some kind of giant mushroom.  All around it the earth was barren and dry, maybe from its arrival, maybe because of the nails, or pipes, or roots, it had inserted into the ground.   The people were going to avoid it, and hope that it would die off.   More than a few thought of burning it.  But then some kid walked up to it, and did a funny thing: he held out his hand.  What happened next would change the world.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2010