inflection point drawings

“There is always the inflection point in a drawing-the point at which it takes on its own presence and becomes more than its content. There is also the point where others view it and it becomes their image. I know that if I create art, these points will occur, and I can work to control part of the process leading up to these points. Ultimately, however, not all of it is mine to control.” Mary Shindell

Mary explains Vector and Pixel files to me and another gallery visitor. And while I understand some things, I don’t understand all of what she says. To make it clear she describes how her lines are made. A Vector file makes a clean, intense line, she says as she shows me one and compares it to a pixellated line. Once I see the quality of the line, I understand. We discuss her digital drawings and compare them to traditional printmaking, both in quality and process. I suggest she teach a class ( teach me is what I really think).

There are three large works on paper, on the east wall of the gallery. Each of the compositions stands as a unique work though they connect directly through process. One design uses the other, and then again.  Mary draws with graphite, inks, gouache, and she also draws using her computer.

Below are details from the large 42 x 42″ works on paper. Can you see how they connect? One is a digital photo of the original graphite drawing. The second is the original graphite drawing with added media, all completed by hand. The last one is computer generated and uses the other two.

Note: My photos are not perfectly aligned. I shoot the right side (first 3)  and then the left (next 3 of the drawings.


Left edge detail
Inflection Point: Estrellas, Moon
drawing, graphite, ink, digitally archived



Left edge detail
Variant 1: Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Seed Pods, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
drawing, graphite, ink, prisma, pastel
42 x 42″s.


Left edge detail
Variant II: Fig, Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
digital drawing composited with graphite and ink archival ink jet print

Mary places the viewer above the work. We hover perhaps in space, and see the top view of a multi-layered landscape that in this case includes: the moon, the Estrella Mountains, and the beautiful Arizona flora.

I look closely at the work and identify elements but then I have to stand back to take it all in. The brilliant details captivate.


Right edge detail
Inflection Point: Estrellas, Moon
drawing, graphite, ink, digitally archived



Left edge detail
Variant 1: Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Seed Pods, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
drawing, graphite, ink, Prisma, pastel
42 x 42″


Right edge detail
Variant II: Fig, Bougainvillea, Sweet gum, Mesquite Beans, Moon Craters
Digital drawing composited with graphite and ink archival ink jet print

Along the west wall Mary shows a series of small drawings and digital prints. She explains she works things out on these smaller works in between stages of the larger works.  Here are photos of two and a detail shot of a third.


Fig Moon Drawing
Digital Drawing
composited with graphite and ink drawing on Arches Aquarelle, archival ink jet print


Fig Moon 
Prisma and Gouache on Johanna

I ask Mary about the title of the exhibition, Inflection Point. She explains the mathematical term.  An inflection point is a point on a curve at which the curve changes from being convex to concave. I understand, I am familiar with the concept. She identifies it as a changing point, a point of transition.

I’ve known Mary for a long time – she continues to mesmerize me with her curiosity, her attention to detail and her growing skills. She is always on to something new and wonderful.

I will drop in to see the exhibition one more time – in case I missed anything.


Detail: Mesquite Beans, Moon

Inflection Point drawings opened this First Friday and will run to the end of the month.

Who: Mary Shindell
What: Inflection Point drawings
Where: 515 arts – 515 East Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ 85004
When: 1/2/2015 – 1/31/2015 (artist’s reception 1/16/2015)


Mountain Mesh

I have been working on the color and the shadow of the mountain. The gradient mesh is the way I create the softness of shading that is an integral part of my drawing vocabulary. I have zoomed in to show the anchor points and gradients which are dropped into each point. When I work up close like this the piece becomes abstract to me. It is intimate in the same way that hand drawing on a large sheet of paper requires me to be right up in it. If digital drawing didn’t offer this kind of visual exploration it wouldn’t be half as interesting. It is easy to get lost in it.

This is my digital workspace. I have noted what each part of the screen contains. Sometimes the space becomes too crowded so I hide parts of it. I took this photo last week when I was just starting this layer, it is now finished.

Hit “a” point click hit “i” hit color click, repeat, repeat….. build the drawing, point click -save.


Mary Shindell Studio Visit- 7-25-12

The main attraction of artist studios is the evidence of the active, thinking, and creative mind.  There is an inspirational energy, much the way a really great sketchbook feels.  Mary Shindell’s studio is a stellar example of this.  Her space is full of bits and pieces of things that represent past projects, planning for future projects, art supplies, tech gadgets, and collections of visual things.  It is the kind of space that is full of possibilities.  For instance, our conversation leads Mary to dig through some files and images.  Every time she opens a folder, or lifts something up, there is something that catches my eye.  It leaves the impression that there are endless amounts of interesting things buried beneath what is visible.

Stuck to the handle of this cart, is a magnet, which nicely holds all Mary’s metal pen nibs.

One of the first things she shows me is a motion sensitive light board.  She overlaps it with a digital drawing printed on plexi, and the blinking lights shine through the drawing.  It is nice the way the movement within the drawing is connected to the movement of the viewer.

I also spot samples and maquettes for a recently completed public art piece in Goodyear, Air, Earth, Water.  Public Art is challenging for all the obvious reasons.  The artist has to pair durability and safety with originality.  Mary proposed inserting a colorful terrazzo material into grooves incised in polished granite.  The results are colorful and bold graphic images.

Mary Shindell  Air, Earth, Water 2012

Mary Shindell  Air, Earth, Water 2012 (detail)

Mary Shindell  Air, Earth, Water 2012 (detail)

Mary shows me her ideas for the January show, both in sketch, and on the computer.  I am interested in her use of scale and ideas for addressing the space in a literal way.  She confirms that her ideas have been influenced by the Goodyear public art piece, where she had to deal with two 50’ walls and the center of a vehicle roundabout.  This also ties in nicely with the fact that it was a City of Phoenix terrazzo public art project that got Mary started drawing digitally.  She needed to do it for the project, and she found that she related to it for numerous reasons.  The step-by-step, layered process connected to her background in printmaking.   And working digitally eventually provides a massive vocabulary in tools.  Technology can be a mixed blessing.  It is not easy to work digitally, but Mary feels it is important to originate the art in the computer rather than to scan an already completed drawing.  It is the comparison of origination verses transferring.  Until it is printed out, the digital drawing does not exist anywhere else.

Mary works on such large files that, in the beginning, she had to suffer frequent file crashes and losses of her images.  While this is still possible, it is happening less frequently.  And a big advantage to the digital drawings is the way that a finished drawing can lead to the next drawing.  Just the way I might look through old sketches, Mary can open a file and look at all the layers separately.  The “click and look” process can suggest possibilities.  Then after some duplicating and pasting, she can have the start of a new drawing.

And this just the kind of thing that Mary’s studio is full of, possible ideas for future projects.

The sketch is the beginning of planning for a sculptural light piece.