The woman is from an exercise in a drawing book, Bert Dodson’s Keys to Drawing.
The second is a draw-anything-that’s-right-in-front-of-you in five minutes kind of drawing exercise (I took the suggestion in this instance from Dodson’s book as well, where he calls it colorfully the “five minute burn.”)
Lastly is another rose from my scheme of drawing my still life one corner at a time. (This is the same rose as I’ve drawn and posted before — it’s becoming a subject of enduring fascination.)
So, what do my pictures add up to? I’m beginning to wonder if my mind is telling a story. The sultry young woman, the couch, the rose — could she be looking for a story to inhabit? If there’s a story, I’ll probably never know. I just draw the pictures.
Life can alter how an artist works in beneficial ways whenever one learns to accept complications as challenges. I find myself in circumstances where I cannot paint because of continual interruptions. It’s just the nature of my schedule at present. My schedule will change, but in the interim I use the challenge to approach my art in new ways. I never have been one to paint a still life from composite imagery. Until now every still life I ever did was made in front of a subject and invention played no role. Yet one knows that the old masters did perhaps most of their painting from composite situations of one kind or another. (Take for example the seventeenth century conceit of bouquets assembled from flowers that never bloom together such as one sees in the works of Ambrosius Bosschaert and others.)
Toward my aim of painting without depending so much upon the still life, I’m making drawings of parts of the composition. Granted I do have a still life set up, but I’m using it in different ways. Thus some of my drawing-a-day images are vignettes of flowers.
This is as far as I got with drawing yesterday. I’m pooped! (How about you?) I began copying an Annibale Carracci drawing from a book, but I wasn’t able to finish. I post my fragment drawing post-facto because though I may draw everyday, I cannot post everyday. Nevertheless, I kept my resolution, and then the eyelids fluttered, and I said “to sleep perchance to dream” and after that all I said was “Zzzzzzzzzzz.”
Here’s wishing you a restful Saturday, or whatever day/time it is wherever you are….
My companion, my mom, had to write in her diary and I drew bottles while she did. It can be disconcerting what to write. Why should I write that? What does it matter? But, it’s the truth I said. What does it matter what I had for dinner? Because it’s the texture of your life, I said. (I guess I can be really annoying, but remember I majored in English.)
While she wrote, I drew bottle tops. Why bottle tops? What do they matter? They’re just there. But, let me tell you, those bottles were (are) so incredibly beautiful, and I never noticed until I started drawing them just because they’re there. It is reality we’re observing. It is light curving toward us, bending, reflecting, distorting, refracting, scattering, hiding — doing all the things light does to objects in the universe.
Why draw ordinary things? Because they are true, because they are there. (And so are we.)
How I wish I could have brought you the beauties in our bottles, but it eluded me. I guess you’ll have to draw your own bottles. Meanwhile, this is all of the beauty I could catch.
When I was young, I thought that every centimeter of a work of art was supposed to matter. Ah, youth! I suppose I’ll still grudgingly admit that every centimeter ought to be trying to accomplish something, not just sitting there reflecting back photons. But time has tempered an idealism that I was not in any case capable of attaining in my youth, notwithstanding how charming an idealism it might have been. Today I realize that sometimes a drawing doesn’t get what you were after, no matter how earnestly you search or how boldly or sensitively you work, and that’s okay. That’s the reason God made trees so that we’d always have more paper lying around to use for having another wack at it.
Even if a particular drawing doesn’t capture your goal, it may supply the experience you need to get where you’re going. In drawing we learn stuff about reality. If you draw flowers, you learn about flowers. Often we think that we already know what we draw — even that we know what things look like. Yet if we really look deeply, we discover something new about the familiar world.
I started a drawing as a study for a painting. I work on it in sessions — but I figure that of course these sessions still count as “drawing a day.” Here’s a few peeks at the parts. This drawing doesn’t feel to me like it’s going anywhere, but I work steadily all the same because sometimes you just go along for the ride. The moments spent looking are taking you somewhere unknown.
I found a way to solve the problem I mentioned yesterday of the shy artist who is uncomfortable drawing faces from live models. Today I found a very cooperative model whose face I was permitted repeatedly to draw. And I’m happy to say she was pleased enough with the little sketches not to scratch me.
These sessions took place during my kid’s violin lessons. These are views of the violin Master’s cat. (Not just any old cat, you know.)
You don’t know the bribery I had to use, though, to gain so much cooperation.
However, I was adamant refusing on one score: No, I said, you cannot have a hamster.
I wanted to make this drawing better than it is — but I got tired before my model did.
I based this drawing on one from a “how to draw” book, changing it enough (I hope) that perhaps even the original artist would not recognize it. My aim was to get back into the habit of drawing faces, also to do them quickly, and to use whatever means are lying around. Perhaps I’ll get back into the habit of asking people to let me draw them — and overcome my shyness! perhaps we can create an “a-day” motivator for that too! — un-shy-thing-a-day that I did today — any takers? Any reticient types out there ready to join me?
My thinking is that the more I’m able to compose a face quickly, perhaps I won’t even have to ask people. Maybe I’ll just transform into a camera. The second virtue in using other artists’ drawings and transforming them is that you gain experience in innovation. You are using a thing, but changing the thing too. And the use doesn’t really quite count (as innovation) unless you change it a lot. And yet it doesn’t count as “copying” unless it’s reasonably faithful to the original. (Jazz musicians will understand what I mean.)
Was also thinking I might find a husband for Renoir’s sweet looking young woman. But neither of these will do. One’s too old, the other’s way too serious.