I can't overstate the importance of reworking an image (and while I'm at it,re-imagining work). This is the time and context in which we rethink and re-examine what we're doing. Re-visiting an image forces us to confront the prejudices we bring to the experience of translating a scene into a shareable medium. This experience has a strong analogue in daily life. It's of at least equal value to regularly examine how we experience, think about and inhabit the world.
Having long ago come to terms with being an artist, I realize how iteration fits into my everyday life. Each day presents me with opportunities to relive the ordinary and be-in-the-world differently. My most recent series of drawings is no exception to this. One of the most compelling and moving sights is the Teton Mountains in Wyoming. They are fault-block mountains and rise dramatically from the valley floor. I've visited the mountains several times and on my last visit took several photos of the range one very cold morning.
My first step on this project was a smaller drawing, 8.5x24 inches. The second was larger, 30x44 inches. Finally I scaled up the image to an imposing 42x84 inches (7 feet wide). This is one of the larger drawings I've done and in so doing, I was reminded of how important scale is. The effect of working large is that the visual presence of the source scenery is retained. A larger format requires different marks and mark making devices. As a result I resorted to a 2x6" inch piece of specialty charcoal from Nitram. This stick of charcoal was reminiscent of smaller vine charcoal in terms of texture and pigment darkness. It didn't give the darkest blacks, but was very good for initial expressive layout marks (See Video at the end of the post).
Surprisingly, each of the three drawings took about two hours. This was a very satisfying series to complete and I now have works that can fit into a variety of display spaces. I'm also left with a deeper appreciation for the sublimity of the Tetons.
J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.