I traded this little drawing for two painting studies of Alice Berry, a colleague of mine when I was a professor at South Dakota State University back in the late '70s. Alice showed me a number of painting test strips that she produced when she mixed her colors. She would mix her color and then apply strokes of the acrylic on paper to not only see the color mixture, but how the color would interact with the other colors of her pallette. In some ways these color tests were more fresh and spontaneous than her larger shaped canvases I asked her if she wanted to trade works. I showed her a few of my pen and ink drawings that I felt would make a good trade. She agreed and the painting below is the work she selected.
The drawing studies were an experiment for what would eventually become a series of works I would execute years later. I used a Speedball pen with a rounded nib and drew the ink lines of color freehand. I especially appreciated how the pen would leave a ball of ink at the ending of the line. The zig-zag pattern reminded me of the tacking maneuver sailors used when traversing against the wind. I felt this served as a metaphor for the artist trying to carve his/her way. Being a formalist, this drawing technique had was a logical move considering the magic marker drawings I was working on at the time.
Pen and Ink on Paper, 1976
15" x 18"
Collection of Alice and Russell Berry (both deceased)