Castle’s colored work is often minimal with imagery reduced to the most elemental of forms, leaving nothing but familiar colors for reference.
This detailed drawing, copied from an advertisement, demonstrates Castle’s deft line work and ability to copy detailed imagery. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, depicted in the drawing, is in Indianapolis, IN.
The rich, purple hue of this monochrome drawing likely came from water-saturated crepe paper, which Castle routinely used as a color source. To ensure the materials absorbed enough color, Castle roughed up the surface before starting his drawing.
Castle often included small portraits in his text-based works - possibly intending them as authors. Prominently featured in this two-sided drawing, “Blaws” is one of several portraits that made frequent appearances in Castle’s handmade books and drawings.
Castle uses several visual devices to bring the viewer into this drawing. Initially, the viewer enters the room after scanning the tabletop in the foreground. The geometric patterns on both the ceiling and the floor then add to the perspectival understanding of this heavily patterned room.
It is unclear whether this drawing depicts an actual scene, or one composed from Castle’s imagination. He often presented objects in unusual or atypical places within the pictorial space of his drawings, e.g. the ladder in the center of the room.