I find that when I get into something I really get into it, desiring to spend all or most of my time doing that thing. I'm a little obsessive.
I'm like a child who stumbles upon something for the first time and wants to look at it from all angles, under different lighting conditions, I want to smell the object, taste it and most of all show it to as many people as possible.
If you know me for any amount of time you'll start to see this about me, especially when it comes to philosophers/thinkers/books I've read. This can be annoying. As much as I want to share my discoveries with others, it can be overbearing to only hear about one thing from me. One positive is that I get motivated and have really productive/creative times plumbing the depths of my interest.
Drawing is something I've always wanted to do. I don't remember anyone ever telling me to draw, I just wanted to and found a natural fit as a means of expression and exploration. As I got older I drew less, in virtue of taking on other responsibilities. In recent years as I was pursuing science education as a career, I neglected drawing. But my interest lay dormant, ready to be brought to life again like a seed.
This Thanksgiving and the weeks leading up to it proved to be fertile ground for that seed. I found myself renewed in my desire to draw, returning to landscape first and nature drawings and most recently to portraiture. The self portrait above was executed in Conte Crayon (also pictured above), which is a dry medium much like charcoal in its consistency. The crayon also has a waxy consistency which gives it a uniquely tactile drag on the paper's surface. I happen to find this sensation somewhat irritating, much like some find fingernails on a chalk-board grating on the nerves. But I really like the line quality the medium affords so I persist in using it. Much like charcoal, conte crayon can be smudged or made into a wash using a brush and water. Unlike charcoal it is not as dusty, while maintaining a rich dark intense black characteristic of compressed charcoal.
Drawings are satisfying because the allow my expression an immediacy, spontaneity and flexibility I haven't developed with wet media such as oil paint and watercolor, which require some preparation. The only requirements for a sketch are paper, a marking devise and an impulse (I like to call it Unction). I find self portraiture to be a uniquely introspective activity, that when carried out over time, provides one with a visual diary of the effects of time and life lived.
Drawing has an almost magic forensic quality to it. Actions (looking, marking, looking again) are codified on a surface, an intentional assemblage of evidence enacted. Tension is invested in the drawing as decisions are made consciously or not that will result in attention later being brought to the drawing or diverted away to something like a mood. The reflexive nature of drawing continues after it is "finished" (a hotly contested notion) as the artist continues to construe the drawing a certain way, finding himself in the wake of the gestural reverberations.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.