“An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.” Charles Horton Cooley
“Sketching at the end of every day is like working out for me,” Sorin Bica says. “I’m playing, exercising, trying to clarify ideas.” He is also chronicling his day, maintaining a visual journal of moments with his family or random personal interactions. “Sometimes ideas and feelings need to be captured in the moment, so I sketch on napkins, loose paper - whatever I can draw on.” Before becoming a painter, Sorin was a political cartoonist. “The best cartoons,” he believes, “are those that say something powerful without words.” Sorin is an expressive storyteller, and embedded in all of his work is an illustrative anecdote. Capturing the idea beforehand in a sketch is where he begins to formulate the painting’s narrative.
When out and about, John Luckett routinely notices shapes. He’ll often stop while walking to pick up folded or crumpled debris because he finds the arbitrary forms interesting. He’ll take the found object to his studio and begin to translate it’s personality, studying it’s content, form or coloration. Whether working with pencil, charcoal or paint, John says he maintains a daily practice “to keep my hand comfortable and confident about the work that I do.” His goal is to continually be engaged with his craft so that when he creates something he’s not overthinking it. Oftentimes studies become larger works, but sometimes they don’t: “I want to be surprised by what I do and I think doing studies allows me the freedom to work more expressively.”
Deborah Lynn Irmas
When Deborah Lynn Irmas begins her day in the studio, she first creates a small work. “It’s a warm up for me,” she says. “I try to allow myself to just be free and do anything I want, which helps get me ready to work.” These smaller works are not intended to be finished pieces as they are merely studies, but often they can stand on their own because of their looseness and freedom. For Deborah, “the small works are very personal, they flow faster and come directly from my heart.” Deborah’s larger works need to be planned and their processes figured out. Her studies enable her “to see what a larger work can and can not be.”
Originating in a series of sketches drawn while hiking, Darthea Cross’ latest body of work is based on locations she has inhabited. She begins to abstract her experience of the landscape as a thumbnail sketch. In the sketch Darthea experiments with line, explores composition and balance. Once in her studio, Darthea paints small works, “exploring the rhythms of the paintings, emphasizing or minimizing elements, developing color palettes and continuing to play with line.” Darthea’s larger works honor the practice of drawing and the line work developed in sketches. The white spaces in her paintings allude to the white paper on which lines are drawn. She finds that “the line work helps the viewer enter into and understand the paintings.”
“This is about not thinking,” Kat Green explains about her daily practice. She says she “needs to do it everyday or my day just does not feel right.” When arriving in her studio, Kat brews some tea, puts on what she refers to as her “uniform” (clothes with paint on them) and, she says “like a child choosing a crayon - ‘I’m feeing aqua today’ - I just go.” Kat uses her daily sketches as tools to explore color, experiment with marks, lines, and the harmony between darks and lights. Ultimately her studies are about the unexpected: “The sketch is not so important. That gives me freedom to be spontaneous, whether I love what I make or not. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s not precious.”