Today at the National Gallery of Art, drawing with my friend, I made this drawing after a Rodin marble sculpture. Drawing faces helps get me ready for an upcoming project and it offers also a pleasant form of separation from my current painting. After drawing faces I come back to the frog teapot and other objects with a fresh eye.
I took a picture of the sculpture with my low resolution dumb phone.
The gallery’s superior photo and some information about the sculpture is available at the link:
I find myself thinking about all sorts of things while I draw. Because the marble sculpture had such broadly generalized forms and smooth transitions, I found myself having to deal with line in as precise a way as I could manage.
But I found a small, very amorphous sculpture of a head in one of the display cases, a small unfinished study by Degas. Drawing it, I thought about using an amorphous approach with the clay pencils. I imagined that I was working with clay myself, that the patches of dark were slabs of clay. And I saw the masses of darkness as inchoate shapes that suggest the emergent form rather than as specific features.
The picture at NGA’s website shows the object in more definition than I could actually see while looking at it through the display case, no doubt a characteristic of the particular lighting.
I try to give myself as much freedom as possible in these drawings. You can feel a little inhibited when you’re drawing in a public place, but I tell myself that I can do whatever I want while I’m drawing — that I can ask any questions I please, use whatever method, that I can finish a drawing or not. Drawing this particular object was a really pleasant experience. It seems to me that Degas was telling himself that he could do whatever he pleases as well.
Information about the object is available at the link below: