Using a tiny turquoise Arnold fountain pen I tackled my first landscape squiggle drawing. The Arnold pen leaves something to be desired as far as ink flow goes, but the line is fine and it fits comfortably in my hand. Maintaining the high key shapes while developing the darks and half tone areas is quite a challenge. I think the illusion of space is more effective when the foreground tree has both the hedgerow and the sky as a background.
In the drawing on the top row, I brought the hedgerow higher, encompassing the entire tree. At first I thought it was more effective, but then saw that I had repeated the shape of the tree in the hedgerow. There is nothing to do but add squiggles and make areas darker rather than lighter. I went ahead and lost more of the sky by enlarging the shape of the hedgerow. See below. I feel that I lost the sense of distance by giving up so much sky.
My willingness to see what happens when I keep adding lines is fueled by the fact that these are explorations in my sketchbook. My mind is not viewing them as anything to mat and frame and hang on a wall or to pass on to galleries as new work. Working in pen and ink forces me to look hard and learn quickly from my errors, from misjudged values and shapes. These squiggles are labors of love.
Cross-hatching is painful for me. I love the work of Morandi, a life-long passion for bottles expressed in ink and oil. I tried cross-hatching over and over again, hoping to unlock the magic of it for me. It didn’t happen. For me, it’s the squiggle drawings that have opened the door to the possibilities of pen and ink .