Monday, April 30, 2012


(This is the twenty-first in what will eventually be series of 26 posts I’ve undertaken. Each post centers on a topic suggested by the next letter of the alphabet from the previous post. The posts all have to do, directly or indirectly, with teaching and learning.)

Process Reflection:

This is the sixth of a series of pen-and-ink drawings I've been working on in this particular format. (The last one I did, which was actually the first in the alphabetical series of posts I started on April 1, is here. That the title wound up being"Urgent," had something to do with the feeling of the piece as I drew it, especially the organic, teeming aspect of it that I noticed as I was working, and something to with the fact that I couldn't think of any "U" words for today that really struck me as being good starters for the post.

I started this one by drawing the detailed shapes in the upper left hand corner, first in pencil outline and then inking in the shapes. I knew pretty early on that I did not want the whole paper to be that busy; I wanted to show some contrast and movement in terms of both size and shape. So as I was completing the Friday night's work (about an hour and a half) I penciled in the diagonal line and its perpendicular, filled in area up above the diagonal, and stopped there. On Saturday I began by drawing in the second, lower diagonal line, and the signature box on the right (a common element for each drawing in the series). Then I drew and inked the forms in the area in the lower left corner, intentionally extending the lines into the adjacent spaces and leading them into larger forms. At that point what I had drawn was a lot of fairly busy small stuff, so more or less on a whim picked up a compass and drew in the big circle, just to completely redefine the rest of the space. I knew I wanted to have some fluid lines penetrating the circular space, so I penciled those in, although I wound up doing too many and erased a lot of them later. At that point I realized whether I was going to have a black circle with white tendrils, or a white circle with black. The decision was going to affect all the other inking I was going to do. I decided to go with the white for greater contrast with what I already had. I inked in the large tendrils first, then laid out and inked the big black areas, then finally returned to the blank area to the left of the circle and did a little formal dance in there. Done for the day (another two hours). Sunday I spent another hour or so re-inking (using pen and ink always leaves little missed spaces, no matter how carefully you try to lay it in the first time) and smoothing shapes. Finally I added the chop, took the photo and formatted that. The result is what you see, more or less, although I've found that the photo does not hold or reflect the light the way the ink on paper does.

Doing this kind of artwork is my play zone, it's where I can watch something unfold under my eyes and fingers, trying to find a balance between exercising some conscious control as I work on it, while at the same time allowing the drawing to take its own shape and become what it seems to want to become. It's a lot like writing. It's a lot like teaching. It's a lot like life.


Ken Ronkowitz said...

Wanted to let you know

1) That I particularly like this pen and ink drawing

2) That I used your blog this past semester with my undergrads who are using electronic portfolios for the first time as an example of what a process reflection can (and should) be.

Thanks for helping me push the bar up a little higher.

Bruce Schauble said...

Thanks, Ken.