Chalkboard Drawings

I've started a new series of portrait drawings on a chalkboard. 

I've been playing with the idea of temporary drawings for over a year now. My first effort included creating a drawing, ripping it up, binding the pieces into a book, then sketching on the reverse side of the paper. People were in shock when I ripped the drawings, ha ha ha. They thought I was a moody artist who was dissatisfied with their work, ha ha ha.

 Here's a few reasons why I'm interested in this idea:

  • In art-making I find all the joy in the process. I love obsessing over shadows and the folds of skin etc...Process is much more important to me than product.
  • I think the impact of art as you live with it is interesting. With this chalkboard series, each portrait is on display in my house. The chalkboard portrait lives on my easel until I'm ready to make another one. Each image marks that period of time it was on display. 
  • I make so much stuff! We're trying to tidy up the house and the other day I filled four big boxes of just my artwork. It's crazy! Creating on a re-useable surface means less money for supplies, less space for storage, less material production, and less waste.
  • Making art is scary. Every time you put that first mark on a sheet paper is a bit stressful. You're taking a perfectly clean white sheet of paper and getting it dirty. You don't know for sure how it will turn out.  I'm interested in putting myself in the position of creating then destroying my own work. How will that feel for me as an artist? Will I eventually get used to it?
  • The audience for the art world lives beyond the physical. The chalkboard drawings I make will be documented as completed and documented as erased. Then shared via the blog and SM. So in a sense they will live on.

I first tried creating a white chalkboard surface. I didn't want to change my approach to my drawings and I didn't want to get too lost on the fact this was a chalkboard. It's not my intention to create pieces like the inspirational quotes you see online for chalkboard walls. I just want a re-useable surface to make my charcoal drawings on. 

My efforts to create a white chalkboard were a total failure. So I pulled out this chalkboard. I got this chalkboard from the non-profit art center I was director at many years ago. It was stashed in a storage closet and wasn't needed anymore. The organization had housed art classes for 90years and this chalkboard is oozing with character.

I'm very pleased with how it takes the white and black charcoal (I'm not using chalk). The process of drawing on the board is terrific....which is good because I'm a process oriented artist ;)

I've only created these two portraits so far, and what I've noticed is that it's really REALLY scary to erase the board. Not because I love the first piece and am sad to destroy it but because there's added pressure that the next piece be even better. The first piece is being sacrificed for the next.