I started using advertising images from email newsletters as a quick way to find something to draw. It works well because the images that come to me feel a little random. Of course they’re chosen by marketing teams with a sales goal in mind, but since I’m not buying, it doesn’t matter what their goal is. I can just pluck out a face I like and use it as a drawing reference.
I’ll usually take a screen capture of the image. I keep a folder full of references for when I have time to make art. Usually the screen captures are pretty small and low resolution. When I draw I’ll put the image up on my computer and blow it way up so I can see the pixels. Then I’ll stand at my (standing) desk with my iPad and work.
Having low-resolution reference photos is a happy accident. It forces me to forget about detail for a minute and focus on the overall shapes. This is my perennial drawing problem, going after detail before getting the big picture. Forgetting the forest for the trees.
I found this windswept woman in my email and chose her as a subject. I like how she appears to be in mid-sentence, maybe turning around in the wind. The first attempt at this drawing felt like drawing with a banana. So I started over. I think I like where I landed.
I like making digital things. It’s fun and fast and the work can be shared immediately. But I miss making stuff too. I’ve been printing out my images on canvas, mounting that canvas to a panel, and then painting onto the image. Mostly just adding texture and shapes. I like how the digitally painted image recedes deep into the canvas. It’s like below flat. Under glass. I like piling paint up on top. The dichotomy of the textures pleases me, and I think it starts to speak about distance between us and the things we see.
When I got started printing again, my printer had laid dormant for too long and the printer heads were gunked up. It took 6 prints to get them clean again, which resulted in some very pleasing accidents. That’s another thing about physical objects. Real life has more serendipities than digital life.
For this small series I tool one “perfect” and two damaged prints. I layered paint on top with tape to keep the edges sharp. I varnished each piece to unify the surfaces.
I like all three images together. Together it feels like a progression. Like she’s beaming in or beaming out. Or just coming into focus.