self portrait 1

Lin Hammill

Nanaimo, BC

 

Sometimes the beauty of the world just grabs me and lifts me up and I need to share this feeling. And sometimes the horror of the world captures me and I need to work it out. The feelings can be overwhelming; I express them in my artwork. In the process of art making, I explore the celebration and the sorrow and so come to be able to hold them. I want the viewer to be drawn into the patterns in my work inspired by nature and humanity, to find a source of celebration or sorrow.

I work with pen and fine art markers on paper. I begin with a pencil drawing of general shapes and crucial details. I usually follow this with detailed black ink outlines. The contrast of the black ink on the white paper lets me discover where I need to add detail. I often work through a magnifier, concentrating on a section, then moving back for an overview, then returning to the magnifier. Usually I ink the full piece before I add colour. Beginning to add the colour is generally a time of high tension for me, as I may have already committed a lot of time to the work and the colour choices can make the piece or destroy it. With ink there is no option to change my mind. Sometimes I scan and print a portion of the inked work and then try out colours and colour combinations on the printed copy. When the colouring is done, I generally re-ink, make the black lines bolder.

drawing table

My drawing table

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Testing out ink colours

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Through the magnifier

I have an overall vision before I start. Sometimes it is detailed but more often it is a bit fuzzy. The overall shapes and tonality are blocked out. I add detail to make it work. I may try out textures and colours on scrap paper and then return to the piece itself. I make decisions and then continue the work. Often I change my mind and at times, my vision of the artwork changes dramatically during this process.

I had done occasional pen and ink drawing since I was younger. When I turned to full time artwork it seemed natural to draw with pen. I discovered fine art markers, especially the brush markers, soon after, and they allowed me to extend the pen and ink drawings to become paintings.

I work with ink and markers because they are permanent; I cannot erase the marks I make on the paper, only sometimes modify them. This forces me to be mindful of every mark, of every choice, I make. I feel I actually have more creative freedom working within these constraints.