Archives for posts with tag: paper

There has been plenty of work happening in the studio this past month. It’s always reassuring when the work gets into a bad place and then I eventually can get it out. Some works often have to be taken apart, painted over, or partially destroyed in order to move forward, but I have accepted this as part of the process. Both 328 (60 x 24 inches) and Witnesses (48 x 30 inches) below have gone through several lives and are finally settling into themselves. Balloons at Night (30 x 22 inches) always knew what it would be -and that happens sometimes too. All of the works below are still in progress.

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Yesterday I spent some time looking at work by Joan Mitchell, Franz Kline, Grace Hartigan and others – and then started this piece. Things have felt a little tight in the studio lately – could be the lack of critique, the smaller work, or myself being a little tense. I needed to loosen up a bit with the work so I just started to make something – not allowing myself to attach too much thought. I find that the work still has a more fresh feel if I don’t over plan. Over planning just causes issue — a flattening of an idea usually. So I have no idea what this will do – I am excited about the green… as it isn’t a usual color in my palette.

Witnesses by Heather Riley

Witnesses (Work in Progress)
Paper, graphite, chalk, acrylic and oil on paper
45 x 30.5 inches

I’ve been doing these little pieces on paper – I like doing them because they are fast and help me learn some new things for the bigger work. I seem to not want to fill up as much of the piece either, which is odd considering in the large work I find myself getting dense relatively easily. They are a bit like sketching for me – small, wonderful drawings about my larger work.

Get Newsy by Heather Riley

Get Newsy
Paper, sticker, graphite, acrylic and oil on paper
6 x 4 inches

A Story in Progress by Heather Riley

A Story in Progress
Paper, chalk, string, graphite, acrylic and oil on paper
6 x 4.5 inches

More on this piece… still not finished. Now I’m having issues tying the parts together… but I have an idea. Stay tuned. Included entire piece views and details so those of you who like close ups can see them…

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

These are large drawings I did just before the weekend. They are made using a long, handmade tool with chalk and charcoal taped to the end of it. It was suggested by one of my critics that I need to go deeper and I need to get away from the surface that I am creating on. Being so close allows me to have so much control. Doing them with my eyes open still elicited too much control for me, so I chose to do them with my eyes closes, simply thinking about the things I wanted to come through. They have opened a sea-change in my work, an opening to something within that I had closed.

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Charcoal and chalk on paper
42 x 68 inches each

Colored pencil on paper
22 x 30 inches

Both of my critics suggested that I go bigger this week – and so I went and bought a bigger roll of paper to experiment with. I have painted large in the past and have been trying to paint smaller for years, mostly because it is just more practical – yes, I know this is ridiculous. So I taped it on the wall and just started to make.

Cityscape Two

With a line of course. The city emerged as it does with a line – someone flat and graphical. Discouraged, I kept going. I threw chalk at it. I threw paint at it. I threw more chalk at it. Still not happy with the entire thing – but I do like parts of it – as you can see in the detail photos below.

Cityscape Two Detail Two by Heather Riley  Cityscape Two Detail by Heather Riley

I think both of these detail sections – both the lamp and specifically the yellow roof of the house in the second image speak to me in terms of materials and outcomes. They will help me in my future illustration work. The combination of line, chalk, acrylic wash, chalk, acrylic wash then line, then chalk again give it something I have been looking for awhile. So I am extremely happy with this part.

The next thing to do is to start to take away. Both of my critics mentioned something about the lack of space, the inability to get “into” the piece. You can move around the piece in a flat way, experiencing the chaos of this world on a flat plane. There is some connection, or some “place” that exists between the Single Building, the Pears and this. This is the place I am trying to both find, and with that – discover the process as well.

Pears by Heather RileyOne morning I was sitting at my desk working on some code for my job when I got this overwhelming urge to draw something round and weighty. The pear I had brought for lunch sat on the corner of my desk waiting for me to notice it. I drew several versions – and with each found a different weight. Pear by Heather RileyAt some point a line wants to be drawn or more heavily indicated but I tried my hardest to stay true to form and not let that line feel like it got to take over. The line is so amazing in it’s want to take over… very linear. Very determined. The non-line form chalk drawings seem so accepting in comparison to the demanding line drawings I have been doing. They billow. They stretch. They roll about. They’re relaxed.

Backpacks by Heather RileyI almost forgot about this because it hangs outside my studio door to remind me of looseness. And how nice everyday objects can be to look at. I also am interested in multiples and hope to explore this concept further. My studio neighbor suggested I look at Wayne Thiebaud and I am glad I did. Repeating cakes? Yes, please.

I had a drawing class last week that reminded me of something I had forgotten about – that you don’t need a line. Or that rather… the form precedes the line – not the other way around. I used to draw the figure starting with charcoal and feeling out the form – building the masses of the body – and then eventually over time I forgot about that and just started to obsess about the edge. I forgot about the mass eventually and always found myself wondering why my work had become so graphical and flat. This served me well in my design work mostly, but left me feeling rather stifled in my art work. Last week after I was reminded about chalk and form – I set forth to try to draw other things without a line. I naturally started drawing the city first. This is a part of a piece that I did – the part I like anyway. I like it because it is a gesture – not gone over meticulously like I so like to do.


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