Studio Mysteries

September 28, 2009


Filed under: Drawing — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 10:43 pm

I have always loved the hell out of the graphite pencil. When I was a kid in the USSR, we did graphite still life drawings as part of the junior art school curriculum. How people complained and moaned through those, and how I totally secretly dug them!

Later, in Canadian high school, I did a graphite figure composition and loved it, but for some reason stopped there. I came back to the pencil in Year Three of art college, when I took up old exercises out of sheer frustration with the reprehensible level of instruction in the college’s Fine Art department. I remember drawing something very tedious with a flower in it, and contemplating not being an artist due to the whole difficulty in earning money that this profession involves for many people. As I was thinking cowardly thoughts about defection, I hatched away for several hours, and suddenly felt a huge and overwhelming sense of peace, a sense of deep and utter rightness. Hatching away at a sheet of paper is the functional specification to which I was built.

It took a few years of flailing hither and yon to accept this truth and act on it, so after art school, I didn’t do much with the pencil until I did my first big, insanely ambitious multi-figure composition in the spring of 2004. The good news is that I have been drawing steadily ever since and show no signs of repentance whatsoever.

Just for fun, I pulled out a close-up of the hatch work on the First Big Drawing, and compared it to the piece I’m working on now. It seems that what I crave today is softness and a kind of smooth elegance, where you can’t see the marks at all. I wonder how this will evolve. I have been contemplating using visible marks again, but in a very different way, using the direction of the strokes to follow the form, rather than dominate as a single-direction slant across the picture.



  1. The second one almost doesn’t look like pencil. It’s funny, drawing is what I do best as well. All other media, and even color pencils are much more of an effort.

    Comment by Paulina — September 29, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  2. I love graphite drawings, also. Hatch away, but you will really love it when you start following the form with your strokes. Including those cross contours makes a drawing so COOL! They also allow your own style to come through and they make a drawing your own. NOW…..That is my own opinion. I love to see the soul of an artist in her work in more than just her compositional choices. I really want to see the activity of the artist in a drawing. Love the thought put into your post! Thank-you for this.

    Comment by lesliepaints — September 29, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  3. Hooray! Thank goodness you’re not giving up pencil drawing – the difference is quite astounding and it’s so interesting to see those two images side by side. Now I understand why my art teacher insisted I keep all my pictures, no matter how bad.

    Comment by InkSplodge! — September 30, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  4. Thanks for taking about cross-hatching. I’m taking a drawing course and am learning about the different types of lines. Loved seeing your drawing from years ago and the one you’re doing now. Interesting how we all keep changing.

    Comment by Carol King — September 30, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  5. Oops, I meant talking about cross-hatching, not taking about cross-hatching.

    Comment by Carol King — September 30, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  6. Paulina – I know, the pencil just kind of draws by itself, everything else has to be wrangled with.

    Lesliepaints, I know, I am going to be so psyched when I finish this piece, for its own sake and for the stuff I am going to try out then, I can’t wait to get into a looser form-based way. I think I got the anal thing out of my system with this piece 😀

    InkSplodge, I’m with the teacher, keep your pictures! And they might not even be as bad as you think. Every time I look at work from a while ago, after not seeing it for a while, I see a totally different picture.

    Carol, gotcha, and really there are just two types of hatching – the stroke that follows the form, and the stroke that doesn’t and is arbitrary, which could be one-directional, or criss-crossing overlays.

    Comment by Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries — October 1, 2009 @ 6:59 am

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