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  • Writer's pictureJimmy Craig Womble II

Keeping it fun, keeping it fresh!

Sketchbook drawing of Dave's 1970 VW Bus.

It's been a long hiatus in the blogosphere, as happens with me. I thought I could update my site and blog through the iPad, but alas, that is not yet the case! Hopefully soon, Wix will allow me to do that in their otherwise wonderful site building format! But at least we have the Instagram, which I manage to update pretty regularly. There, you will find a lot of images of what I am up to throughout the week.

In May, I began a campaign to force myself to draw every day. I called it "May, I draw!" and it has gotten me in the habit of carrying my sketchbook and a pen everywhere I go. I managed to keep up with it, and did do at least 1 drawing each day in that sketchbook. Usually, I even added watercolor washes to the image for a little splash of color. These are images of what happens to be around. Plants, things on tables, small bits of landscape, even my feet. All done in the unforgiving line of a ballpoint pen or other style ink pen. These drawings are fun, free, studies that train my hand eye coordination, and are free of the pressure of trying to produce a piece of art. As a matter of fact, I've fallen in love with drawing all over again.

As a kid, I'd spend hours happily drawing away, creating landscapes and castles, battles, monsters, etc. out of my head. No pressure, no pain. That was the freedom of drawing for the joy of drawing. I wasn't paying bills with the work, or feeding a family. The pure act of creation was the reward. My 5 year old Hoppy does this now. His work is so fresh, simple, and emotive. Full of color and wit. Ollie did work like that too when he was younger. But I can see the tightening of Ollie's drawings, as the pressure to 'get it right' begins to creep into his consciousness. I want so badly to short circuit that, for him and me, and to keep drawing as natural as handwriting. This is why I've been drawing with a pen, unable to correct mistakes and, instead, live with what comes out. I also try to keep myself from doing too much measuring, using the style of contour drawing to concentrate on an expressive shape that gets a little wonky, but in return gives a kind of life in the sketch that you can feel somehow. I know that the average viewer may look at these and just see that it's not right, it doesn't look like a photograph, or it's not very real. And that is where, as an artist, I need to discuss the different goals of this kind of work, and explain how these are to be viewed, hopefully opening them up to the beauty of this type of more free drawing. Being able to make something look just like what the eye sees is a great craft that takes many years of training to achieve. But, over the last several years my tastes and my goals as an artist have morphed a bit. I've been painting as a career full time for 13 years now, and painting almost every day since 1993. My work has gone from surreal, to striving for realism, to a looser realism to impressionism. I love painting in all of those modes, but am also always pushing to advance to what is my true voice. That has changed over time, as it should! Everything evolves as experiences pile up, and our interests change. I will continue to paint things the way I generally see them, but there is another side of me that yearns to escape the restraints of our standard perspectives and perception.

The artist has other ways to express their reality as it's filtered through their brain and out of the hand. There are different ways to express space, other than the western system of perspective created during the Renaissance. It's a great system, but it locks the viewer into one spot. What if you wanted to show more than fits into that one view? What if You wanted to express the feeling of a place, along with more than the eye would actually see from one spot? Say you wanted to show, in one picture, the ocean, beach, characters on the beach, and dunes and beach houses? I believe this would require a re-thinking of the limitations of the standard perspective system. These are all things I've been thinking about over the past 3 or 4 years. I want to take y'all on this little diversionary trip with me. It may be a passing phase, a dead end, or a side path winding its way up to a new way of creating images. I'm starting all of this with the tools of childhood... paper, pencils, pens, watercolor. No pressure, hopefully no pain! I'm asking you all to come with me with an open mind, and let's have a little fun!

A drawing of the south entrance at Fort Macon, in Atlantic Beach, NC

On a side note, I am preparing the store of my site to have a section of prints for purchase! These will be images of just what I am exploring and talking about now. They will be prints of sketches from my various sketchbooks, so that anyone who is excited enough by some of these can have one to frame and enjoy. This will also be a way for me to invest a little more time in scratching this itch! As always, thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my work!

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