Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Digital

A few months ago Zion woke up in the middle of the night, looked right at me and said "it's digital!" I laughed. My husband, despite his size and strength, his aggressive protector/provider instinct, his intimidating scowl and his Gregory Peck meets Robert Taylor face, is a HUGE NERD right down to his very id. It's been one of our favorite jokes, but recently I've begun to suspect that those two words were more sensible than somnolent.

Last September I fell, hard, for pen on vellum with dry pastels on the back. The color comes through the transparent vellum like aether without compromising the orderly pen lines. Since, however, I've felt a certain disconnect between the images in my head and my output. The drawings lack luminosity, my personal holy grail. Adding dark sacrifices the transparency, keeping it light sacrifices the depth, other media sacrifices the surface texture. What's the answer? It's digital!

It turns out ink jet printer ink is almost completely transparent, and after I got over the feeling that I was cheating (I didn't just photocopy my art, did I?) I was floored. Scanning the original vellum drawing, printing it onto vellum and then adding more pastel to the back yielded such a gorgeous result. After working with watercolor, inks, dye on cottons and silks, I've found the next weapon in my luminous crusade is stored in angular black plastic cartridges. It's almost unfathomable, but it is digital. Next time he talks in his sleep I'm taking notes.

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