Every week I am taking the time to discuss one of the art pieces that I, or me and my son, have created. I go through the thought process, the influences, the technique, etc. I am hoping that this post will help you better understand the origin of my art and admire all of its intricacies.
This week I am talking about a piece that was completed back in 2013. It is “11×14 inches in size and it is called “Retreat”. It was drawn with an ink pen and colored in with dry pastel. The colors were suggested by my son at the time. It represents a baboon taking a break in the jungle.
This piece really spoke early to me. I basically started with a couple of lines and different shapes next to each other (Fig.1) and I immediately saw him. I saw the baboon’s mouth and nose and cheeks right there and then. so I continued with that idea and drew the rest of the baboon. Although, I did not attack the feet right yet, as feet are hard for me to do.
The next step was to figure out what to put behind the baboon, because it seemed like he was leaning on to something. So I went and started drawing some horizontal scribbles here and there to create an illusion of a bark. I had a choice there, would it be a tree that naturally fell down or a tree that was cut down. I decided to go with the lather so that it would give me the opportunity to draw straight lines and decide on the age of the tree. I also included some grass details at the bottom so that my tree would be totally flat on the ground. (Fig.2)
Now came the hard part, deciding exactly where the baboon was taking a break in the jungle. Was it in a cleared space? A very dense jungle section? Near water? Were there other critters or animals there? First-off, I knew I had to continue the dead tree on the right side of the baboon, to work perspective. By doing so, I quickly realized that if I kept doing the tree all the way through, it would make a very boring piece. So I decided to have this baboon on the side of a river, just so that we can have different elements all around that baboon. On the right side of the baboon, I drew tall grass that would cover up most of the trunk, made some moss on that trunk, so that we can believe that it has been there for a while. I also included a big rock, which lies right at the bank of the river. The river itself, or at least the shore of it, is at the bottom where we can see a little bit of sand as well and some water flowing through. (Fig.3)
As I kept on working, I really wanted to make this place very cozy and private. That is why I included some more of that tall grass behind the trunk, and added bushes in the back to make sure that this place seemed secluded from anything else. I also wanted to have big palm tree leaves, which I included at top left. (Fig.4) I just could not quite figure out what to do with the white space left on the right corner of the piece. Do I put in more trees? Do I close it off so that it really feels intimate or do I provide a way or the viewer to be able to escape this little scene? (Fig.5)
I decided to open it up, not because I wanted to escape this scene, but because I wanted the piece to be able to breathe. Even though our baboon is in a dense part of the jungle surrounded by trees, the river and bushes, we will still be able to enjoy the vastness of the environment in which the character is in. So I drew a couple of bamboo trees, some more bushes and a skyline with a couples of birds way out there.(Fig.6)
While I was doing this piece. my son, diagnosed with autism who was 7 years old at the time, wanted to help me and he said that he wanted to choose the colors for that pieces. I accepted. My son wanted to use bright colors for the trees, clouds and bushes. He also wanted the baboon to be in a yellow-ish color. So, as I was applying the dry pastel, my son was preparing the next color and item to color it with. (Fig.7)
This was a first collaboration that my son and I did together. I it the precursor to the idea of creating art together. The collaboration art can be viewed here.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed drawing it and coloring it with my son. See you next week for another edition of this week in art with another piece. In the meantime, keep creating.