Archives for posts with tag: drawings

I have started making these drawings – and will be making several more. They are teaching me some things…

Process Drawing One by Heather Riley, a local Philadelphia artist

Process Drawing Two by Heather Riley, local Philadelphia artist


I had been wanting to draw on something and decided to use this Ikea chair (note to self – do not paint on a slatted folding chair – toooo slatted). After painting the whole thing by drawing objects out of a hat and painting them at random, the chair was still just a chair. A decorated chair. A slight improvement to Ikea – but not much. So I chopped it up with a handsaw. Then I put it back together as a chair. Less slats, more chair.

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Chair From Chair
Acrylic and ink on wood
10 x 18 x 30 inches

This began as a class assignment – involving choice and chance. I wrote down the names of objects that came to my head – just an association type of game on slips of paper. I put them in a hat and pulled them out one at a time and drew them. The only rule was that whatever I selected out of the hat had to touch the previous drawn thing. I did this for all items in the hat. The resulting drawing wasn’t that exciting to me… and I thought I should cut it up. I initially thought I would put the pieces on wood, and make a game out of it – but after a bit of trial and error I knew that I would be disappointed with the process. In the end I decided to complete the circle by putting the cut up drawing pieces back in the hat – and selecting them again at random. I glued each square in a row as it came out of the hat – to create a new work.

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Accepting an Unsolved Puzzle
Ink, acrylic and cut paper on wood.
2′ x 3′

I wanted to try working on something from my reality and chose a piece about where I grew up – the fabulous metropolis of Des Moines, Iowa. Like many cities, Des Moines has sprawled into suburbs and exurbs – eating up farmland fast. This piece is a bit of a commentary on that – but also on my childhood as well. The Tornado was the first roller coaster I rode – at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa. This is a piece currently in progress.

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The Middle
Colored pencil, conte, graphite, paper, acrylic and oil on wood
2′ x 4′

After I do something small, I inevitably do something big. It is helpful after feeling constrained to go nice and large. I was however, a bit concerned about this piece for a bit – how was I going to fill up all that space? This is when I catch myself, and realize that it will all work out if I just let go and let the piece do what it wants. That combined with realizing that I can do whatever I want and can change whatever I do, allows for the work to actually work. This is a work currently in progress.

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Talking I Am
Chalk, charcoal, graphite, torn paper, acrylic and oil on paper
4′ x 6′

Another leap. I’ve learned something with each piece I’ve done lately, whether about the medium, composition, or the choices I get to make. This piece taught me a thing or two about pacing and waiting the piece out – it will tell you what it wants to happen. My favorite parts (and by that I mean the most successful to me) diagonal lines, a roller coaster on stilts, tea cup smoke, that little signature at the end of the orange diagonal (not mine) and the chalk at the end. It is pretty exhilarating to take a white piece of chalk and make a mark on a piece thought to be finished – and trust that it is not only the right thing to do, but to have the faith that it is the best thing to do.

Ink, conte, paper, acrylic and oil on paper
22″ x 30″

This was one of the first pieces I’ve done on paper with my current work – following the line and seeing what came of it. I also took my collage out of the horizon line and began to make stories. A few things have showed up in my work that have a bit of a hold on me – planes, blimps, roller coasters, buildings, boats and ships. I also started digging further into my collected collage material, experimenting with oil and acrylic paint and incorporating drawing as well. In the end this piece was cut up for use on other pieces because I couldn’t resolve the middle – I just lost it somewhere along the way. But I learned a lot – and now I have it in pieces. We will see what happens.

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Through The Red
Ink, conte, paper, acrylic and oil on paper
22″ x 30″

A beginning of mixing of ideas and allowing for space. This is me leaving elements as they need to be, or allowing them room to be what they want to be. Starting to listen. I’m not sure this is complete – but it’s resting. We will see what becomes of it.

Unknown Then and Now
Torn paper and oil paint on paper
3′ x 4′

My friend Matt King saw this piece and said it looked like my Greatest Hits – which I of course thought was super awesome and hilarious. He is right in a certain way – many of the elements in my work are returning… but in a new way. This is satisfying, but I struggle with not falling into old comfortable habits. In the past I never would have taken a black conte and drawn a big fat line across a piece. I definitely would have paused, talked myself out of it and let the weaker piece live how it was. Now I don’t hesitate because I have become so comfortable with my line. This is a success. The piece is still in progress.

Thanks to my friend Matt Herzog for helping me to navigate the tricky waters of occurrence, choice and a feisty diagonal.

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Intersection 12
Graphite, ink, glued paper, oil, acrylic,  and conte on paper
22″ x 30″

I have been exploring things in my work such as repetition and choice. The process has been one of movement from control of everything, to control of nothing to one of recognizing choice. This piece is beginning to encompass this in a new way.

I felt that adding some paper in would help me to both more clearly address what I was seeing in my head and provide a movement in and out of the work, rather than just laterally across the work. The use of differing media such as pen, pencil, ink, acrylic and oil paints seems to help to satiate my need for variety in my work.

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Intersections 10

Pencil, ink, glued paper, acrylic, oil and charcoal on paper

22″ x 30″

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