11/27/13 X. Uniball Signo gel pen, gouache, Conte crayon,
Strathmore 400 Gray Scale paper
About halfway through my alphabetical still life series, which began with an idea I had for X, it occurred to me that X technically would not be a still life; it would be a drawing based on an image. But since I made the rules for my series, I can also bend them.
I’ve had an issue with my left rotator cuff for a while now, and a couple months ago I had an X-ray taken. Since I’d never had one before, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was delighted when the technician burned the image to a CD and handed it to me at the end of my appointment. I knew that someday I’d have a use for it.
The interesting challenge was deciding how to sketch a white, semi-opaque image on a dark background. When I saw David Hingtgen’s recent sketches in a black Moleskine sketchbook using a white Uniball Signo gel pen (my favorite white opaque pen) and gouache, I thought, “Bingo!” The Uniball Signo worked well, but the gouache turned out to be more difficult to use than I had imagined. I kept putting layer after layer on dark gray paper, but instead of staying opaque as it looks when it’s wet, it became transparent when it dried. I finally had to go over the areas that I wanted to be the most opaque with a white Conte crayon. I’ve sketched plenty of skeletons at the Burke Museum; who knew that sketching an X-ray would be so challenging? (With luck, I won’t have many more, at least from my own body, to practice on.)