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Drawing has always been an essential element of my art practice. I draw ‘en plain air’ and I draw in the studio. My subject matter extends from the still-life of everyday objects and interiors to the vistas and urbanscapes of my travels. A drawing of mine can be a quick sketch, executed in a mere few minutes, or a sustained and more complex work. A drawing may serve me as information for an eventual painting or be conceived and completed as a stand-alone piece, even intended for exhibition.

These drawings accumulated over about 15 years, mostly done while travelling, as a way to absorb new places. They take several hours to complete, during which time I try to soak up everything around me: the sounds, smells, movement of people and changing weather. I am one of many artists who will tell you that the process of examining a place and recording it so carefully is a kind of meditation. Time both slows down and speeds up when I am intently absorbed in drawing. And when completed, the experience is firmly rooted in my memory.

I use disposable pigment ink pens with very fine nibs, often on toned paper with white charcoal. These materials are easy to carry in a small knapsack along with my ultralight collapsible sketching stool, water bottle and a snack.

Although drawing is the way I prepare for my larger oil pastels, these particular works were intended as finished works.

I love looking at (and sometimes copying) drawings by different artists, always wishing I could draw like them: John Everett Millais, Ben Shahn, Matt Bollinger, Richard Diebenkorn, John Piper, Leonard Baskin, Carol Heft, Wolf Kahn, Käthe Kollwitz, Leonardo Da Vinci, Jeanette Barnes, all of the Group of Seven, David Milne, Carl Schaefer, Charles Comfort, Emily Carr, Jonathan Farr, Georgio Morandi, Lee Krasner, Suzanne Valadon, Cezanne, Yvonne McCague Housser, Christopher Pratt... You get the idea. They’re all different and all have something to teach me.


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View Oil Pastels by Aleda O'Connor

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