A certain kind of drawing is fast and free. If you were trying to think out loud about something, you wouldn’t worry about eloquence. And in a certain kind of drawing you don’t worry about eloquence either.
It’s like writing a “to do” list for yourself. It’s like quick catching a first impression. It’s a form of play. You create your own coloring book drawing, rapid-fire lines that you fill with color — or that you leave empty — it doesn’t matter.
It’s like mumbling to yourself. Hmm … this goes over here. This goes over there ….
It’s really not a big deal. That’s a kind of drawing, too. I drew this tea pot as casually as I would drink the tea.
[Top of the post: Tea pot and Cup, by Aletha Kuschan, pencil and watercolor]
When I was working on one of the commissioned pictures I alluded to earlier, I made numerous studies of individual parts; and in the process of drawing and redrawing the face of one of the figures I was painting, I began more and more to identify with her. She became for me like a character in a story. As a novelist learns to watch the people in her fictional world, I began to “watch” this woman I was drawing, and I tried to figure her out. Or, like an actress learning a part, I tried to learn who she was merely by prolonged peering into her face.
I had a group of photographs to work from, and one photo was the pivotal one. I redrew this photo several times. And each drawing was a little different from the others. Sometimes artists worry about the differences between what they are seeing and what they produce in their drawing. But I liked and sought subtle differences from the photo.
The photographic image never changed, but my drawings did. Even though they captured the general likeness of the photo, the act of drawing brought out various little bits of expression and emotion and thought. For me, it animated her photograph. I felt like I had drawn the woman herself — from life — rather than having just copied something static. Looking at this, I don’t think anyone could tell she wasn’t there in front of me though she had died a decade earlier.
[Top of the post: Study for a Portrait, by Aletha Kuschan, pencil drawing]
Would that I’d had a model, but I couldn’t afford to hire someone. So, I became my own model for hands too. I sometimes used a mirror and sometimes photographs. Regarding these drawings, I don’t post them as exemplary of good drawing, but as instances of everyday ideas being tried like scales and riffs on an instrument. They were casually and quickly made. And they, too, offered me freedom.
I was painting a commission, the kind of thing that pays bills. But in the studies, I could explore ideas.
[Top of the post: My hands, by Aletha Kuschan, pencil]
Art happens as a consequence of many small decisions laid out over many days and years. I was doing a historical portrait for a commission and needed some feet for one of the subjects so I became my own model. This isn’t the only drawing I made of me wearing my nice shoes.
This was actually very enjoyable to draw, too. I found freedom in the drawing that wasn’t available in the commission (for fairly obvious reasons).
I think the shadow served to give me some ground to stand on. That’s always a good thing to have when dealing with feet and shoes.
[Top of the posts: Drawing of My Taupe colored Pumps, by Aletha Kuschan, pencil]