|John Terwilliger, "Raining Rings", Pastel and Charcoal on paper, 22T"x30W", 2014/03/21|
A construction line is used in the building industry to insure a straight line for layout and/or cutting. In the housing trades it is normal to see these as blue chalk lines on lumber etc. The chalk comes in various colors some of which the manufacturer warns are "permanent" which means they won't wash off and will bleed thru paint and sealers and will stain the substrate.
I started adding construction lines as non sequitur composition elements to my drawings after I began using found/scrap plywood from various home renovation jobs I was on. These lines were all chalk line blue and I simply drew my picture over them as if they were not there. As I had previously created works with grids in the background the lines appealed to me from a composition standpoint so I started using them. Though, I draw the lines in with a straight edge instead of a chalk line and use whatever color suits my fancy.
In my treetop drawings the construction lines can be read as power lines but that is not my intent when drawing them. For me they are pure abstract forms adding (usually) color to a composition which needs something. And it is that "something" which is most interesting when creating an artwork as the process, for me, is intuitive.
The intuitive non verbal part of creating artwork when looking at the piece and knowing it needs something more/less or different is a bi part of the fun. In the drawing above I drew in the tree and all the branches with the white paper as a background and spray fixed it. I knew the work was not complete but I did not know what it was going to need.
So I had lunch and thought about it, and it came into my to place blue rings around the tree. I was going to do a more clustered background with the rings building up tonal gradation but as I started adding them it became necessary to just put in a thin spattering of rings, like the rain. When I stood back and stared at the piece it demanded a compliment to the blue so I added the construction lines with the tangent circles.