June 3, 2013

Revisiting Drawings of Persian Ceramics

I had made many sketches of the motifs on Persian ceramics during my visits to museums around Europe and the U.S. Some of these made their way into paintings and tile work. The one of the ibis pair above was the foundation for two oil paintings. One of these paintings is in a private collection in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and the other is somewhere in Charleston, South Carolina. The drawing at right of the man running with a saber became the basis for one of my painted tiles.

The original sketches have now been cleaned, restored and fleshed out with tonality and details. The details are from my imagination because I have no notes on how they were decorated. Some of these details, like the spots and dots in the background of the ibis drawing, actually hide the occasional drop of paint that fell onto the sketch while I was painting. I added similar dots in the background of the saber man to make the drawings a matching pair.

While completing these drawings I established hard edges and taper lines in imitation of brushwork. It was a brushwork method gleaned from not only observation of Persian miniatures but also by the practice of the linear style of Chinese brush painting. Nothing beats a good clean tapering line.

The drawings make a nice pair. I’m glad that I hadn’t made a detailed sketch from the ceramic decoration. It enabled me to give free reign to my own designs and imagination.

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