Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cambridge Twigs

When I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had a lot of time to draw. It's hard to imagine now what it was like to just drift along and somehow get work done without a schedule. Nowadays I'd just sleep all day and browse the web all night, but back then I didn't have the web to browse, because it didn't exist. A different world, indeed. So I could go out and draw scenes in my neighborhood, with real pens, because I didn't have a Wacom tablet.

This drawing probably dates from the mid-80s. It is the backyard and back porch of a house in my neighborhood. I believe I drew this with something called an "ArtPen" which was a hybrid of bendable dip pen and portable inkwell pen. I did at least the initial drawing outside, on site, and then I brought it back to the studio and finished it with the lines and details and a bit of color. You can see from this scan that the original paper has yellowed. There's some Photoshop retouching in this image, just in the sky where the original light blue has faded, and some whitening around the yellowed edges.

Nowadays with my day job taking up a lot of my time I wonder whether I could ever go back to that slower, more free-wheeling lifestyle I had in Cambridge. Of course back then I complained that I wasn't making enough money and was out of it socially and professionally. I guess you can't win. As for the ArtPen, it had some bad design flaws (it leaked and spattered) and I gave up using it, preferring the Rapidograph for architectural and on-site drawing.

Drawing of twiggy Cambridge back porch is 8 1/2" x 10 1/2", ink and watercolor on Bristol board.


Tristan Alexander said...

So nestalgic and real...I wish you had not altered the scan. I think seeing how it looks now, with the fading and yellowing is part of what makes art art!

LauraJ said...

I really love this. What can I do to get Spock back and maybe a print of this? I (sobbing uncontrollably) did not get a handmade Christmas card this year (yeah, well, the fact that I don't send anyone any is irrelevant) and worry that you do not love me any more. Doesn't the sushi in 1983 mean anything?

Much love,

emikk said...

Well, you did a fine job even though you had substandard tools!

Pyracantha said...

Wow, I love it, my friends are viewing and commenting!
I did an online search and found that the ArtPen is still being made. It's rather expensive and looks like it runs on ink cartridges rather than a well you fill yourself. Maybe its design flaws have been fixed.
Tristan, I saved the original scan of the art as it was unaltered, and did the restoration on copies. So I have the image both ways.
Laura, I can give you back Spock and a copy of this twiggy Cambridge piece too, just specify whether you want the "restored" version or the original.