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On Drawing
Stephen Dubov

Drawing, A Process

Using a Strathmore, Acid Free, 400 Series paper, 18" X 24" i crop each sheet to 18"X 18" then, 4 sheets at a time, i soak them in water, in a flat tray and transfer them, one at a time, onto a half-sheet of sheetrock plaster board. Using 2 inch plain brown paper tape, the type that's got glue on one side, the type you've got to wet, i tape down each sheet,--due to the water they've expanded slightly, now about 18.25" X 18.25".

Using Liquitex acrylic Gesso, i hand spread and coat each sheet of paper while it's wet, covering the entire surface. As it all dries it shrinks and stretches the paper taut, the next day i first cut them off the board and then hand tear them to 15 " X 17", the final size.

By doing this i've impregnated the Gesso into the paper, giving me a flat surface that's slightly textured, it grabs the pencil well, is very delicate, can not be erased, gives me a bright background and fits within the arty tradition and no one does it any more. It's as difficult as i can mange.

For the colored pencils i'm able to order Bristol Soft Pencils and do. I use three ranges, the Cool Gray's, 10% which is very pale, to 90% which is almost black, the same for the Warm Grays and the French Grays which are yellowish. In this way i've arrived at my Reds (Warm) Blues (Cool) and Yellow (French) and then of course i've ordered the metallics, in reds and blues plus bronze, gold (for yellow) and silver for the final overlay. Recently i've also taken to using a larger range, this so to duplicate the color photos i'm incorporating.

That's the technical, but how does one draw? Seeing that i'm enamored with both the shape and its content, --plus the surface, i can only say i place pencil to paper and move my hand. The fact is i think about each drawing for days, moving shapes around mentally and actually cutting them out and sketching in areas... all before anything goes down. In many ways the drawings take more mental than the sculpture, this is because sculpture is round and each move takes in another angle.

With drawing you have no choice, one surface, one view... the inner play is flat and therefore frustrating, i never know how to 'bend' a drawing... and then there's the edge, --that damn edge always causes me concern. With sculpture the edge is the end, the boundary, but with a drawing each shape has its own boundary, and each boundary relates to the final outer edge, causing a strange juxtaposition, one that needs constant attention. Drawings are more illusionary, therefore harder to get a grip on... and the way i've set it up, i can't change the drawings like i modify the clay, it gives them a different sort of temporal permanence, at least a stability.

Since i think of them as icons (and almost religious) the glow must originate within each area, the shapes, --always personal, delineate whatever concerns running through my consciousness. As i know the addition process of drawing always compounds as it fills the page, i've chosen to limit hue as a method of expanding value, all topped over and muted as to create a certain unreadableness. This partly to mask the depth, focusing the surface and at the same time, --in the successful ones, giving each on an aura of in-itself-completeness.

This then is what i like when i look at drawings, that the process is evident but becomes, while viewing, unimportant. That each swoons the eye and then folds into a mental world to be re-seen hours after on a sort of inner retina. Saying all thati i'd suppose everyone else who draws feels the same, else why bother. The truth is drawing is the first discipline and the end joy. Hoping you likewise.