Artist Melissa Tubbs
Melissa B. Tubbs creates finely-detailed pen-and-ink drawings of architectural subjects. It was after completing her first pen-and-ink drawing of a house that she discovered her love of architecture as subject matter. She is a preservationist with pen and paper who whole heartedly believes in the old proverb: "The wise man preserves that which he values and celebrates that which he preserves." Form, line, and light have more emphasis in black and white, perfect for rendering architectural elements and ornamentation. She is interested in conveying the depth created by the contrast of bright light and cast shadows.
Ms. Tubbs work has been shown throughout the United States. Her accomplishments include: 75th National Midyear Exhibition, 2011, at The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; "Drawing on Alabama 2011," Auburn University, Auburn, AL; "The Ink Drawings of Melissa B. Tubbs," solo show at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; "Carnegie Hall, NYC" included in Strokes of Genius 2: The Best of Drawing Light and Shadow published October 2009; an article featuring her pen-and-ink drawings in the November 2004 issue of American Artist magazine; one of three artists exhibited in "An Absence of Color," 2004, at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City; represented the state of Alabama in creating a three-dimensional architectural ornament of a historical home for the Official White House Christmas Tree for 2001 (the ornament is now in the White House permanent ornament collection). Melissa lives and works in Montgomery, AL.
Interview with the Artist
How did you interpret using the Strathmore Thistle for the pad cover artwork? Anything else you'd like to share about your piece?
I decided the right place for the thistle in my drawing was as a bas relief on the bottom of the ring hanging from the lion's mouth. Integrating it into the drawing this way made it look as though it has always been there. I chose the terra-cotta lion head mask for the cover piece because of its powerful look, especially with the strong sunlight and cast shadows.
How did the Strathmore paper you used for the project affect your drawing (or painting) techniques?
Drawing on the buttery smooth-surface 400 series paper is pure pleasure. My pen point just glides along with each stroke. The lines are crisp and clear which makes a beautiful finished piece as well as perfect for scanning for reproduction purposes. It makes it easy to focus on drawing because I don't have to think about technicalities with my materials.
Which artists inspire you?
Two artists have influenced my work: Albrecht Dürer and Barry Moser, both printmakers. I have looked at Dürer's woodcuts and Moser's wood engravings because there is nothing tentative about their line work and I want the same feel for the line work in my drawings. When I put a line down, I know that is where I want it to be and how I want it to look.
What advice would you give to beginning artists?
Draw, draw, draw and then draw some more. Drawing is the foundation for being skilled in whatever medium you want to use. Picasso, among many other artists, was a great draughtsman before he started breaking the human figure apart putting noses on the tops of heads and eyes here and there in his paintings. You have to know the rules well before you can break them. Drawing comes first.