Volume 1- Issue 2
June 8, 2004

In This Issue:

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Introduction

Hello Friends..

I am running behind on my personal deadline to get this newsletter out. The Bethlehem Steel Prints have been out for a few weeks now. However, my failure to let you all know right away was for a very good reason. I've been busy working on the drawing for the poster for the upcoming "Bethlehem Historic & Cultural Festival" on June 11, 12 & 13 under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge in Bethlehem..

This particular drawing started out as any other drawing but it soon took on a personality of it's own. A very demanding personality, I must say, because it took control immediately. I was helpless! It led me in directions that I've never been before. My pen and I did everything we could to keep up as it twisted down one treacherous path after another. This drawing was merciless!

I've seen these paths before. In fact, Ive been on them before... with my pencil, not my pen; The idea of using ink to create things like glowing light, sparks, smoke, clouds or people was terrifying, not to mention presumptuous. These elements are easily handled with a pencil (and a little help from a shading stick and an eraser), but I've always used my pen strictly for architecture or "man-made objects such as brick, concrete, steel, etc. And, of course, trees and landscaping.

Pencil can be manipulated much easier and can always be erased and redrawn in the unlikely event of an "ooops". Not with a pen! When you put a solid black line on a solid white surface, it's there for good. No mistakes allowed! If your pen decides to get an attitude and leak a large blob of excess ink onto your drawing, the only thing to do is wipe the tears away, curse at yourself for not paying attention, and grab a new sheet of illustration board. And this drawing cared about none of that!

So, after my intended 50 or 60 hour journey turned into a 150 hour journey, I was tired, beaten and torn... but I survived! And as they say, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger"... so now I rise up and dust myself off, and proudly present to you the drawing that took my skill to the next level, and is perhaps the best drawing I've ever done.

I hope you enjoy my efforts.

- David Sullivan

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Art Preview


"Bethlehem Steel Festival Poster"

click here for larger image
based on the drawing
"Molten Memories"


medium - pen & ink
image size - 13" x 15"

aprox. drawing time: 150 hours

And here's the culprit. It's a beauty, isn't it?

I was given free reign by Bruce Ward, the president of The Steelworkers' Archives, to create a poster for the "Bethlehem Historic & Cultural Festival", an event to celebrate and recognize the heritage that was produced by the Bethlehem Steel and it's workers. Bruce, having worked at The Steel for many years as well as being a photographer, had many images at my disposal. I am usually very adamant about using only my own photos for my drawings, but when the images are no longer attainable... I have little choice but to accept the images from someone else.

Almost all of the images are of actual steelworkers. Some are as current as the past ten years, and some are from the early 1900's. Take note that some workers aren't wearing hardhats or protective gear... only cloth caps, overalls and the shirts on their backs. I suppose OSHA wasn't around yet. However, the two men working at the "48 inch mill" (5 o:clock on the drawing) were wearing wooden shoes to protect their feet from the heat.

There are two people in the drawing that were not steelworkers. The first is my son, Dave Jr, who can be found at the top right corner holding a sledge hammer. He modeled for me as the token "muscle guy" and as a representation of the young men who didn't get their chance to work at The Steel.

The second is the man on the left who's image is coming from one of the stacks. He wasn't a steelworker, he was a miner. He's also my best friend's father who passed away nearly thirty years ago. My friend Gary Stahler was left with only two pictures of his father. This was one of them.

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Announcements & Good News


Bethlehem Steel Prints
- now available -

Hot off the presses... my first three drawings of the Bethlehem Steel are now available as hand-signed open edition prints. The prints are 14" x 18", suitable for framing in a 16" x 20" frame.

Stacks from the Past
The A Furnace
Forgotten Tracks

These prints are available locally in Bethlehem, PA
at the following retail shops:

Moravian Bookshop

MaryBeth Baron Gallery

The Banana Factory

If you live outside the Bethlehem area and would like to purchase
one or more of these prints, please contact me.

In an effort to spread my artwork around the world,
I'll give you a great deal!


The Festival is Coming!

June 11, 12, 13, this coming weekend under the Hill-to-Hill bridge near Lehigh & Conastoga Sts. There will be music, food, crafts, displayed steel artifacts, a moon rock from NASA will be on display, bus tours through the Steel, and the fun just goes on and on!

Oh yeah... and I'll be there handsigning the posters which will be in a limited edition of 500. During the festival, the cost of these posters is $20.00 ea. (tax included). A portion of the proceeds will be going to The Steelworkers' Archives. After the festival, the posters will be sold at $40.00 ea (if there are any left).

So, if you're in the area this weekend, try to stop in and say hello.

Click here for more info about the festival


Poster Drawing to be Unveiled

The festival poster is going to appear in "The Go Guide", a weekly excerpt in Thursday's Morning Call. It's to accompany an article about the festival.

And still in the works, is the official unveiling of the poster for the media. It was supposed to be early this week, but that didn't work out. I'm thinking it may be at the festival on Friday night, so I can present one to the Mayor.


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The Answer

 

This is a feature where I answer one of the many questions
people often ask me about my artwork or my ability to create it.
If you have a question you would like answered, click here.

The Question:

"How do you know when you're finished with a drawing?"

My Answer:

This answer is really very simple... I'm done just before I think I'm done... and not a second sooner!

It's like gambling at a casino. The longer you play, the more chance you have of doing something stupid, such as trying to increase the perfection of the shadow on someone's nose or betting your entire purse on a single bet.

I've learned the hard way that I have to be careful not to "overwork" a drawing... something I happen to be really good at, by the way. I'll stare at a drawing and begin to find things that could be, maybe just a little bit better. So I'll grab my pen and add a line here... and another line there... and then here... and then... oops, a bit too dark. Okay, I'll add some lines to the surrounding area. So, in a feeble attempt to blend away my mistake, I begin adding lines. The harder I try just makes things worse until I finally reach a panic stage as I'm hastily scratching lines into the surface of my drawing.

Eventually I'll get caught by a wave of reality and accept defeat. Then I'll throw it away. Yes, I must say I've successfully destroyed many fine drawings. Most of them are gone forever, but I do have a few lingering about as a reminder for me to stop drawing before I'm done.

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Acknowledgements

 

This is a regular feature  where I acknowledge and thank those who've helped me in some way with my pursuit of artistic success.

I would like to acknowledge:

Bruce Ward

I would like to thank Bruce, the president of The Steelworkers' Archives for giving me the opporunity to do the festival poster. He believed in my ability to produce something of quality and substance to represent his festival, and it was that belief that pushed me to do the job that I did.

Also, I owe him thanks for all the photos and images that he allowed me use. Without them, It would've been a boring poster.

Thank you, Bruce.

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copyright © 2006 David B Sullivan.  Please read my copyright notice.