Reverb

Reverb
Alexis Hinders, 2017.
Colored pencil and pen.

There are some pretty simple art techniques that are known as being subtractive in nature. That is, to say, to achieve the desired effect you must remove something — color, clay, or what have you. I’ve never really thought of applying it to my abstract art before but it seemed the perfect thing to accomplish what I was shooting for here. The bright lines in the face on the right and the background were done simply by erasing some of the layers of colored pencil I had put on the page.

Painful Integration


Break? What break? Here’s my first colored drawing of 2017. I used something new — a burnishing pencil — to help create a shining effect to make the pieces more jewelry-like. I have to say that I rarely feel like I’ve fully expressed a thought or feeling in my drawings. But this drawing here is probably the most accurate expression of a feeling I’ve done in ages and is one of my personal favorite drawings of the last five years. Hopefully it appeals to you, too.

Painful Integration
Alexis R. Hinders, 2017.
Colored Pencil and pen.

The Girl Who Missed Her Prom

PromGirl

The Girl Who Missed Her Prom
Alex Hinders, 2016.
Colored pencil and pen.

I actually finished this drawing early in January, 2016. I was really distraught over how some of the blending went, however, and decided that the drawing was basically unsalvageable. So I set it aside. Eight months later I looked at it again and I’m surprised by how I had written this drawing off. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that sometimes I occasionally have some problems with perfectionism — or maybe I haven’t? I’ve been doing this site for so long I’m starting to forget. But this is a perfect illustration of what I mean when I’m over-focusing on details.

First off, let’s play a game. Check out the drawing above and try to find the part that I was dis-satisfied with. Can you do it? I’ll give you a hint: It appears in the following area of the drawing.

MagnifiedPromGirl1

Did you find it? I’ll circle it for you.

MagnifiedPromGirl2

Looking at it now, it’s not such a big deal. I’m still not terribly pleased with how this portion turned out, blending-wise, but I don’t think it drags the overall drawing down. I’m still really pleased with the texture of the girl’s hair and the overall feel of the drawing. But sometimes, it’s like I can’t tell my eyes to zoom-out and I’m looking at something minor magnified beyond what it should be. Like this:PromGirlMagnified3

There’s an idiom about forests, and trees, and seeing all the wrong stuff. I forget how it goes, though.

An Artist’s Work is Never Done: 82 Unfinished works of Alex Hinders

Sometimes, as a creative person, I get frustrated. As a society we put little value into art and even less value into artists. I suppose some of this is influenced by our muddled economy which makes purchasing art difficult for the average part — and I understand that bit. (I’d love to be able to support my fellow artists.) But sometimes I get the feeling that society, as a whole, would see more value in me if I worked any random nine-to-five job than it would if I were an artist. And that’s because, you know, work is work, and art is just playing around.

While it’s true that art has both a spiritual and recreational element to it, it also takes plenty of time and energy. Some people will look at the body of an artist’s work and say, “Look at all of this art! Look at how much work they do!” But I don’t believe that gives us a full picture of how much work an artist does. That’s because we usually only see somebody’s finished works and assume that’s everything they’e done. But the truth is, lots of works go unfinished.

This unfinished work is invisible to the public. After all, what’s the point in seeing a work of art if it isn’t complete? Sometimes the sketchbooks of artists do get published and sometimes people are indeed curious about them. But that’s about all the unfinished work seems to be — something trivial. Something to be consumed quickly, forgotten, and then discarded.

But this unfinished work was indeed work. It took time, energy, and spirit. I happen to have a good deal of unfinished drawings that I keep in a folder. On each of these drawings I probably spent between an hour and three hours. They’re not unfinished because I’m a lazy person. These drawings are unfinished because either something in my life distracted me or I felt that my time would be better used working on some other project.

So I present to you the following thesis: In order to fully appreciate the work that an artist does you must also see their unfinished works.

With that in mind, here’s 82 unfinished drawings from between the years 2011 and 2015.
I’ve tried to label the year when they were started but they might not be entirely accurate. For some reason I can look at a drawing and remember where I was when I made it. Then I just figure out which apartment I was living in back then and then I have a year or a range of years when it could have been made. I realize these works are unfinished, but they represented my life and my mind at the time they were drawn, so I feel the year is important to note.

Here comes the music.

Unfinished1

2011. This was another drawing done in the wake of my break-up with the Purple Girl. Part way into coloring this drawing I realized I was sick of dwelling on this subject and just stopped. I find it really fascinating when you ( and I) can see the point where I stopped coloring. Notice, also, that this drawing was set to feature a good deal of red and purple — perhaps if I had finished it then I would have gone through my red and purple phase sooner? It seems the seeds were already planted in my mind somewhere. .

Unfinished2
2012/2013. This was going to be another drawing featuring the Detective.

Unfinished3
Very late 2012/ Very early 2013. I was not pleased with some of the changes at my workplace.I wasn’t pleased with how the black mixed with the red in this piece so I just shelved the drawing all together.

Unfinished4

2014. I was undergoing a regeneration of sorts. In the long running British Sc-Fi TV show, Doctor Who, the title character will occasionally regenerate into a new body with a slightly different personality. This was me undergoing such an experience.

Unfinished5
2013. A drawing inspired by The Legend of Zelda series. I guess a lot of people don’t see the owl as an iconic symbol for the series anymore but it was heavily featured from the Game Boy game to the N64 title. This would have been a drawing where I got to play with the gold colored pencil.

Unfinished6
2013. A drawing inspired by the Sonic the Hedgehog series.
unfinished66
2011/2012. A reference to the video game Earthbound. (Mother 2 in Japan.)
unfinished79
2014. A reference to the video game Mother 3.
unfinished75
2014. A reference to the video game Chrono Cross.

Unfinished7
2014. This was going to be a reflection on the fact it was the first year where I missed Iowa’s beautiful season of Autumn.

Unfinished8
2012/2013. I had colored something kind of like this drawing, so I skipped it in favor of something else.

Unfinished9

Late 2013. This was an impression I had of New Mexico buildings when I first visited the area.

Unfinished10

Unknown year. I only used the smaller tipped pen for this and it had an interesting effect. Because of this, however, I have no idea when it was actually made.

Unfinished11
2011/2012. This drawing seemed to have something to do with animals.

Unfinished12

2013. Lots of cute girls.

Unfinished13
2012/2013. This one is one of the unfinished drawings that really lingers in my mind. It’s working title was “The Military-Industrial Complex,” and that’s what it was about.

unfinished22
The Pirate, Pt. I
Alex Hinders, 2012.
Colored pencil and pen.

This one is pretty much finished, I guess. I used the wrong shade of green on a portion of the treasure map and I never thought of a way to even out the colors to make it work. I suppose I could finish it now but it feels like a drawing done by a person very far away from the person I am now. So I’m sort of leaving it in peace.

unfinished14
The Pirate, Pt. 2.
The basically plot line of the Pirate Sequence was that the Pirate found a treasure chest that he couldn’t open. He didn’t know it, but the chest was haunted by a ghost who needed his help but couldn’t communicate with the Pirate. I think there was a third drawing to the sequence, too, but I can’t find it now.

Unfinished15
2013. I was going to go with a watery color scheme for this one.

unfinished16
2013. I was going to try to color the bunnies in bright neon colors but this drawing was never a high priority for me. I eventually forgot about it.

unfinished17
Late 2012. This was another drawing dealing with the Sphinx’s riddle. This time the riddle had to do with the future.

unfinished18
2011. This was a bit more of an experimental piece. I was never sure if I really liked it or not.

unfinished19
Late 2012. This was Tripitaka, the Monk who went to get some scriptures along with The Monkey King and a few other monster spirits.

unfinished20
2012. The working title for this one was going to be “Funeral.” I was really going to experiment with dark colors on this one. However, I couldn’t really discern anything in the background and that lessened my enthusiasm.

unfinished21

2013. I think that the magician was evil.

unfinished23

2011. This was an abstract landscape of sorts. I was going to color it with the ‘sky’ colors on the land and the ‘land’ colors in the sky.

unfinished24
2013. Young Heroine Sequence. This was a series of drawings about the Heroine when she was younger — she lived in a castle and wasn’t allowed to leave.

unfinished27
2013. Young Heroine Sequence, Pt. II. The Young Heroine learned swordplay from her father who was a knight for the kingdom.

unfinished28
2013. Young Heroine Sequence, part something. I don’t think this was part three, or if it was directly related to the previous two drawings. But clearly the Young Heroine finds a genie somewhere in the castle and is allowed to make a wish.

unfinished25

2013. This is what the Heroine was up to during the Fairy Sequence. There was also a drawing form this time that featured the Heroine meeting the Pirate on this same mountain path but I can’t find it now.

unfinished29
2013. This is what the Wizard was up to while the Warlock was watching him in the Fairy Sequence, Pt. V.  He seemed to be helping the fairies with something.

unfinished26
2014. A drawing of the Heroine.

unfinished30
2013. A drawing of The Heroine, myself, and the Fairy. In this drawing The Fairy was taking a lot more visual cues from Nina of the Breath of Fire series, who I think my sub-conscious mind was inspired by.
unfinished76
2014. It looks like the Heroine was dealing with some interesting characters at the time.
unfinished78
2014. This was going to be another drawing for my Wizard’s children book. It turned out nice enough, but the Wizard was stylistically more similar to how he appeared in the Heroine Sequence than in the Wizard Sequence.

unfinished31

2013. Another golem

unfinished32
2012/2013. This was either a golem or a mummy.

.unfinished33
2012. Someone looking at a high school student.

unfinished34

2013: I’m not sure what’s going on in this one.
unfinished35
2011: Inspired by Doctor Who.
unfinished36
2012: Something more domestic.
unfinished38
2013: An astronaut repairing a damaged part of the ship.
unfinished39
2012: At the time I thought this might be Final Fantasy inspired, but now I don’t think that’s quite right.
unfinished40
2011/2012: Fun fact — the night after I scanned this image I had a nightmare about the scorpion monster. In this dream I had a roommate and the scorpion monster was her pet. It ran around the room making this awful noise. I was terrified! My roommate tried to tell me that this sound meant it was happy but it was just so scary! I woke up and realized the ‘happy’ noises coming from the scorpion monster were just the squeaking of my hamster’s wheel.

unfinished41

2012: I thought about coloring this one but I felt it would look too much like the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drawing.
unfinished42
2011/2012: I thought this would be fun for experimenting with something to make it look ghostly. However, I wasn’t sure if this was an offensive use of stereotyping or not, so I figured I’d just shelve it. I always have plenty of things to color, after all.
unfinished43
2013/2014: Tripitaka has a monkey on his back — and unfortunately, it’s the Monkey King.
unfinished44
2013: I drew this one while watching Buffy. I think it’s supposed to represent the character of Anya who becomes rather enamored with being a shopkeeper. It probably works on a level just regarding money and capitalism, though.
unfinished45
Unknown year. That’s me, holding a hamster.
unfinished46
2012/2013: A soldier salutes a lady — or is it a mermaid? Hard to say.
unfinished47
2012: This is a picture of a person cut up. I thought it was ugly so I skipped it.
unfinished48
Unknown year: A bunch of abstract shapes. You can tell the marker I was using was drying out. That doesn’t matter when I’m first outlining a drawing, since I have to re-outline everything after I color it.
unfinished49
2012/2013: Mickey and Minnie Mouse being expelled from the Garden of Eden. I liked the concept but I didn’t like how the mice came out.
unfinished50
2015. A person and some shapes. I still might color this one someday.
unfinished51
2015. This might have been a follow up to Puzzle Game.
unfinished52
2015. A dragon is perched on top of a cliff. I really disliked his torso — it looked like a Lego brick.
unfinished53
2015. An alligator riding a lawnmower. I think this would look pretty good on a t-shirt.
unfinished54
2014/2015: A phoenix.
unfinished55
2014. I just thought this one was ugly.
unfinished56
2016. I thought a good title for this one would be “Alex is Cold.”
Unfinished57
2015. Abstract shapes.
unfinished58
2015. More abstract shapes.
unfinished59
2014/2015. Chaos and confusion!
unfinished60
2015. I’m not sure why I stopped coloring this one. There’s nothing wrong with it, really.
unfinished61
2012/2013. A very nice looking head, for sure. But I couldn’t see anything else in the drawing.
unfinished62
2014/2015: This seemed like a pretty cool drawing, but I didn’t know what to do with all of that negative space. I couldn’t see anything below the window the lady is peaking out of.
unfinished63
2011: That’s myself staring through a time portal looking at my past-self on the computer.
unfinished64
2012/2013. A drawing about income disparity.
unfinished65
2011/2012. A guru-looking fellow stands beneath a bell. If you look in the pencil lines next to him you’ll see a lady seems to be seeking his advice — or worrying about the strength of the rope tied to the bell.
unfinished67
2012/2013. An archway.
unfinished68
2015. A rather unenthusiastic self portrait.
unfinished69
2015. This was actually an emotional reaction to a crappy job I had that involved food service. The customers were lovely people but the guy I took orders from? Well…He’s taking on the form of a rather militaristic chef here.
unfinished70
Year unknown. It’s a lot harder for me to pinpoint the year on a drawing if it’s completely abstract, it seems.
unfinished71
2015. I did this one around the same time as One Letter.
unfinished72
2015. This is a reference to Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Through out the course of the performance a wall is being built on stage and during the last song of the first act Roger Waters sings a song with only his head visible. Afterwards, the last brick is put in place and the rest of the narrative takes place entirely ‘behind the wall’ — that is, to say within the protagonist’s the mind. The wall is a concrete metaphor, you see. This is sort of blurring the performance of the album with the narrative of the recorded album, though.
unfinished73
2015. The tentative title for this one was “At Least I Have a Hamster.”
unfinished74
2015. Some sort of abstract castle, perhaps? I imagined bright swirling greens and blues in this one.
unfinished77
2015. Sitting on a block with her back to some sort of crazy rainbow-seashell world.
unfinished80
2015. Working title was “Alex is tied in knots.”
unfinished81
2014/2015. A damsel in emotional distress.
unfinished82
2014/2015. Working title is “A Hamster in the Hand.”
unfinished83
2014/2015. I think this was going to be another part in the self portrait series.

Off the Page

OffThePage
Off the Page
Alex Hinders, 2016.
Colored pencil and pen.

I haven’t really felt like writing for these drawings much lately. Sorry about that. I’m sure I’ll come around again one fine day. However, I still want to share my art with you.

Third Eye

SensesThird Eye
Alex Hinders, 2015.
Colored pencil and pen.

This was another drawing from last year during the period when I was intensely interested in the combination of red and purple. Usually the title of a drawing is easy for me to pick out, but I have to admit, I have no clue what this drawing is about or means. I noticed that there were three eyes featured by themselves within the tangle of the blue frame and so I settled on the title of “Third eye”, even though technically there are six eyes in the picture.

Zebra Wilde

ZebraWildeSmall

Zebra Wilde
Alex Hinders, 2016.
Colored pencil and pen.

Shortly before coloring this I realized that I was bored with how I colored my abstract drawings. I figured that adding some random patterns would spice up the procedure — and it did! Originally the black zebra stripes in the background weren’t planned. However, there were some dark smudges on the paper that were distracting and I figured I should find a way to cover them up. It added an extra layer of dynamism that a flat white background would’ve lacked in this instance.

You might also note that the piece of paper got bent sometime during the process of creation. (A diagonal crease can be seen in the upper left area of her hair.) Although I worry that this might bring somebody out of the drawing, I personally like to think of it as a reminder that art is something physical and imperfect. A regular mortal sat down with a regular piece of paper and created this. The artist is fallible as a person and the paper is fallible as a physical medium; the artist can get hurt and the paper can be damaged.

I think sometimes we forget that simple truth. Because the viewer is disconnected from the mind of the artist the artwork can seem perfect unto itself and to have otherworldly origins. This feeling can especially be true of the work of artists we most admire — but they too are mere mortals, and their art the product of mortal hands.