Strokes of Genius is proud to present the best of drawing. Here’s a sampling of the wonderful artworks in the 2019 edition: Strokes of Genius 11!
“As my medium of choice, charcoal allows me a deep level of intimacy with my work. The way it stains my fingers and casts a veil over my arms as I work is one of the many seductive qualities that draws me in. I found that I could convey ideas and feelings more fluidly from the edge of the charcoal in my hand than through words that required their own shading or were left largely unspoken. The figures in my work breathe as vessels for my own reflections, observations, inhibitions, and discoveries. It is, for me, an immersive experience–one I hope to share with the viewer through snapshots in black and white that convey the transient nature of all human experience.”
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First Runner Up
“Drone is a mixed-media drawing executed in graphite, charcoal and soft pastel on paper from a combination of my own photographic references and my imagination. I seek to find beauty in my work through juxtaposition and re-contextualization.
I focus primarily on the human figure depicted in environments that create a context for psychologically charged, open-ended narratives. Many of these narratives explore ideas about power and vulnerability. Images of figures or figures in landscapes, in groups, or in isolation, share a common feeling of significance. Wholly absorbed within themselves or in a dialogue shared between one another, they wait for the unfolding of their private stories.”
Second Runner Up
“For me, it’s very important to use charcoal on white paper because that method allows me to create a full rich range of tones from pure black to white without creating a shiny surface as graphite does. In this drawing I used various types of charcoals such as Fusains, compressed charcoal sticks, and charcoal pencils. I never use white charcoal, nor do I combine media. The whites in my drawing are the white of the paper.
When I was visiting my grandma in Panama, I saw her sitting in the terrace of her home, looking so beautiful in a lace dress. I photographed her and, upon my return to the United States, began drawing her in my studio.
With my art I find beauty in recreating quotidien moments. I don’t like to stage anything. I like to work from images that capture what’s happening in the moment.”
Third Runner Up
“Opal’s Room finds beauty in the plain furnishings of my grandmother’s bedroom. From a young bride to her 97th year, she lived on the same farm in Oklahoma. Having endured the Great Depression, my grandparents were thrifty and used their things until fully worn out.
The texture of the old-fashioned chenille bedspread was done by impressing oval patterns with an awl on the “wrong” side of Mi-Teintes dark blue paper. The southern light coming through the window onto the cotton curtains required many layers of Prismacolor white pencil. The dark shadows are the bare paper. The old leather trunk implies that Opal has left her room, as indeed, she spent the last two years of her life in town near family.”
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“I love portraiture and employ it as a means to metaphorically depict our interdependence with the natural world. The idea for Heart of Gold came while I tended ailing fruit trees during a recent drought. The drawing invokes the marriage between the bee and the apple tree, with its sweet honey and promise of fruit. The portrait images a long forgotten ancestor who morphs, Daphne-like with her tree; the hive resides at the heart. This piece is an homage to the tiniest of domestic animals, the honey bee, and its place in creating the flowering, fruiting world.”
“It was in college that I discovered my passion for classical drawing and painting, but I quickly realized the university’s curriculum was not designed to teach those courses of study in depth. From freshman year until graduation, I produced many self-portraits in the process of teaching myself how to draw and paint from life. Self Portrait in Black marked a pivotal moment in my artistic development. It’s now owned by a professor who was always supportive of my pursuit of the craft.”
“The term ‘incubation’ has a dual meaning. It can refer to the development of an infection from pathogens in an organism, or it can refer to the act of keeping an infant in conditions favorable to growth and development. The piece is a commentary on my personal struggle with paternal identification and abandonment. The figure in the fetal position is symbolic of childhood and the growth and experiences one goes through. It’s a question of the coexistence of nature versus nurture and the way these influences mold who we become and who we think we are. At some points the figure melts apart, deconstructed into its environment, while in other areas the figure is growing, becoming whole.”
“Multiple species of birds make their homes in beautiful, forested, natural conservation areas. Many of them are so used to humans, they’ll land on your to take seed directly from your cupped palm. This little white-breasted nuthatch landed on the tree beside me. An arrogant and somewhat curious fellow, he was just a little too shy to take the seed offered. I loved how the sunlight filtered through the leaves overhead, highlighting him, so I took photos with the hope of later capturing his arrogant-curious-shy expression in a drawing. I used a wide range of pencil grades, from 2B for my darkest darks to 9H for many of my highlights. I added graphite powder as a compositional frame and to hint at the darker foliage in the background.”
“Built in 1922 by Swiss guides, Abbott Pass Hut straddles the Continental Divide between Alberta and British Columbia. At 9,600 feet, its location provides a vertigo-inducing view of surrounding peaks and valleys.
While experiencing ‘window weather’ (a sudden blizzard, in this case), we had time to appreciate the rustic beauty of our surroundings–both interior and exterior. Here, a glimpse of the vast mountain landscape can be seen through vintage glass wet with snow, contrasting sharply with the dark intimacy of the hut. Varnished wood and an old kerosene lamp convey a sense of the early days of mountain exploration, while the use of black and white furthers this sense and emphasizes the graphic quality of the structure.”
“My Of Days Gone By series was inspired by a visit to the Singapore Chinatown Heritage Centre, a museum created to resemble the humble homes of Chinese immigrants in the 1960s. Every object inside tells a story and offers a glimpse into the struggling lives of the residents. In a cluttered shared kitchen, I found these sooty kettles and rough mortar and pestle on a greasy cement countertop. Looking familiar and yet distant, they brought back childhood memories of my grandma’s old place in China and made me sympathize more with my predecessors as a once-immigrant myself. This drawing was my attempt to reconnect with the fading past of my hometown, with the unfamiliar history of where I’m living now, and with all the days gone by.”
Feeling inspired? Enter this year’s competition, Strokes of Genius 12!
Want to see more? The Best of Drawing is available now, featuring all 146 winning artworks, along with exclusive artist’s commentary and bonus features!
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