By Fred Lynch in Boston, Massachusetts
I'm a stickler for details. No doubt about it. Although I swoon over Seurat's beautiful spare tonal drawings, I'm unable to stop when he did. I find myself pushing on, in an effort to prove I was there, I guess. If overworked, however, a drawing can turn into a mess, or, more often with me, it can lose its spontaneity. It's all a balance between you and the materials.
I had a great teacher in college, Thomas Sgouros, who once described his ink drawings as being done with wooden matchsticks. When students asked why he would use a tool that was so uncooperative, he smiled and told us that that was precisely the reason why. He knew that he would overwork things if left to his own devices, so he used a tool to prevent him from doing that. His drawings resulted in a beautiful dance of drips, drabs and exquisite rendering. He could draw so well that he could make it work.
Inspired by late-great teacher, I sharpened a stick for this drawing and splashed some ink around with brushes, rather than laying my usual careful washes. Is it better? Not necessarily. Not to me. To others, it may not even look different from my usual result. That's because once an artist develops, they can't help but make works that look alike in certain ways. Others call that style, but it's really just an expression of one's enthusiasms. Alfred Hitchcock said style is "self plagiarism." That sounds about right.