"Shatter #2" ~ Ed Buziak (2012)

"Shatter #2" ~ Ed Buziak (2012)

The above piece is one of a new and ongoing series of works using Conté Carrés (square) hard crayons on intentionally folded papers. There is almost a necessity to view these folded works with side-lighting so the three-dimensional nature of the folded paper reveals itself with the subtle tonal changes between the random angular planes in either light or shadow depending on the direction of the light.

I have worked with Conté Carrés crayons since my art college days back in 1962. From the Blick materials website http://www.dickblick.com/products/conte-crayons/

  • “Invented in France in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conté especially for drawing and sketching, Conté Crayons are made from a blend of natural pigments, kaolin clay, and graphite. The Conté crayon has been used by many of the world’s greatest artists, including Picasso, Delacroix, and Degas.
  • The rich, vivid colors of Conté Crayons mix together nicely, and a range of effects can be consistently produced. They are well suited for use on newsprint, bristol, toned paper or heavily grained surfaces. Their rich opacity makes them ideal for work on darker papers and their quality ensures the longevity of drawings. Conté crayons are waxier and much firmer than soft pastels, so they produce little dust and are easy to control.”

My Conté crayons date from the 1930s and belonged to my wife’s uncle George who was a noted local artist in Devon between the two World Wars. I also use his extensive sets of Rembrandt soft pastels as well as a cache of assorted art papers of various tints and textures… all probably unavailable nowadays if I need to purchase more sheets to continue certain themes.

The variation in tone and pattern of the individual black and white crayon strokes was made by using the underlying texture of the corrugated “cardboard packaging” backing sheet I worked on and changing the angle of media to backing sheets between each application of line.

Image © 2012 Ed Buziak

“Sea Shell” ~ Ed Buziak (1962)

This is a typical example of an exercise given to my group of fresher students – at the Regional College of Art and Design, Manchester – by a wonderfully odd, but patient, spinster tutor known only as Miss Hopwell.

I was one of the 1962 intake at that Northern UK art college and felt a frisson of excitement every day at the shackles of strictly uniformed grammar school years were cast off for a dress code of anything-goes so long as it included blue jeans (and for me, collarless blue or white ex-army officer’s cotton shirts worn outside with an ethnic sash tied at the waist). We were given freedom for the first time in our lives (although I was one of the few who still lived at home) and we all took the bait and included “free love” in the equation!

However, and back to the artwork, I clearly remember this exercise even though it was done all of fifty years ago. The group had a choice of several objects, large and small, with the medium of expression being left to our own imagination and skills. I cannot remember the time we were given – it was meant to be basically a quick exercise – and although I now like to think it was a 10-minute bash, in reality it was probably a 30-minute period more in line with the limits given to contestants on the “Top Chef” programmes so popular on French TV.

I chose a small sea shell as my subject with a bottle of black ink, a pen-nib, stick from a shrub in the garden, a wax candle and a small/medium watercolor paint brush, on dampened cartridge paper. Dampening our drawing-paper sheets was a normal procedure – using brown gummed tape all around the edges so it stayed “stretched” and flat on drying – but on this occasion I drew rapidly with a pen-nib and included a few sweeps of a wax-candle to act as a “resist” to the later ink-wash… then filed-in the solid areas whilst the paper was still quite damp, allowing the ink to merge and spread within the paper’s surface. My intention (now forgotten) at the time was probably to re-create a “wet-look” for the watery subject… and the dribbly blurs do seem to represent delicate fronds of sea-weed or other organic  frond-life growing from the shell’s surface.

Image © 1962 Ed Buziak

“Crowd Scene #1″ ~ Ed Buziak (2012)

This image is close to the final stage of my first piece of artwork for 2012. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks and this view reflects how I’ve been destroying the original patches of color and crayon strokes. The work is being done with Talens “Rembrandt” soft pastels on Arches Platine paper and measures 30 x 22 inches (77 x 56 cms)… if anyone is perhaps thinking of it for their wall!

I have long admired the dynamic use of color in the works of Scottish artist Alan Davie (I bought one of his lithographs “Celtic Dreamboat II” in the early ’70s which I still have); and that of Bernard Cohen whose work I also bought a small example of again in the ’70s but which was unfortunately destroyed by a careless UK removals firm when we came to France a decade ago. Bernard Cohen’s involved use of complex line being almost hypnotically absorbing and sometimes, despite my implied effect, being soothing as one may feel when exploring a maze with time on your hands but no fear of getting lost in the dark.

And then there is Jackson Pollock  whose paintings defined a new Abstract Expressionist movement in American modern art in the 1940/50s. As his work has sold for as much as $140,000,000 – to a Mexican tycoon – the only chance of his work in my hands is a book or exhibition catalog! Pollock’s technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term “action painting” and with this technique, Pollock was able to achieve a more immediate means of creating art, the paint literally flowing from his chosen tools and containers onto the canvas which he walked and danced across at times.

The impression I am trying to communicate is one of a very crowded thoroughfare, seen from above, with an uncountable number of people coming and going about their business but with a sense of chaos. It is an imaginative scene I dread being caught up in, in reality… having not visited a city of any real size for more than 25 years… and on that occasion when I got near the center, I turned around and retreated to my distant, but calm, village abode.

**I will update this page when I have decided the piece is finished… and has been signed.

** This is now for sale on Saatchi Online for $900… http://www.saatchionline.com/art/Drawing-Pastel-Crowd-Scene-1-2012/395193/1474067/view

Image © 2012 Ed Buziak

Red Chairs ~ Ed Buziak (1977)

I have been drawing seats, sofas and chairs since studying at art college in the early ’60s. I have also been reworking some old ideas including this drawing dating from 1977. I can’t remember who the furniture designer was (Pier Giacomo and Achille Castiglioni perhaps?) but I liked the curves very much and the sometimes smooth, sometimes confusing mélange of overlapping shapes.

In this working study the shapes on the paper background were drawn with a soft 4B lead pencil whilst the overlapping shapes on semi-opaque tracing paper were drawn in red and yellow crayon. Using a semi-opaque overlay I was able to make drastic changes in the overall design by rotating the support through one or more 90 degree steps – or even reversing the tracing paper – and also make slight changes with millimeter by millimeter shifts in vertical, horizontal and/or diagonal alignment.

Image © 1977 Ed Buziak

Abstract ~ Ed Buziak (Untitled, 1963, 20” x 30”)

I originally posted this abstract painting from my art college 1963 year on a couple of Tumblr sites thought to use it again to illustrate an interesting article on Tyler Tyrvooren’s “Advanced Riskology” site “How Long Does it Take to Create a Masterpiece?” in which he writes…

“…it’s an innocent question and the person asking is just curious how long it takes a professional to create something they can’t imagine creating themselves. Sometimes, though, the question isn’t so innocent… it’s a criticism of an artist’s work. It’s meant as an underhanded way to say, “That’s so simple. I could have made that myself in an hour.” Rude, no doubt, but people do ask.

Far more interesting than the question, though, is the answer. An artist who’s unsure of himself and his work might answer something like, “Oh, it took me about 2 hours, and I used 2 tubes of paint. I screwed up once, so I had to buy a new canvas. It cost about $20.” On the other hand, the artist that’s confident in his work recognizes the question and simply answers, “My whole life.”

Image © 1963 Ed Buziak

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