Being Studious

Today was drawing day.  I made three studies for the koi paintings.  The freedom of drawing is exhilerating.  Beginning an idea from the blank page always delights me, but I am supposed to be finishing paintings.  Well, this way I get to eat my cake and have it too.  I am “working on” the painting — indirectly.  I am trying out ideas, rehearsing my lines, all of which gives me necessary practice for the painting.  But I still get to begin from blank.

The version above is a compositional sketch for the whole painting.  In the next couple posts I make studies of the group around the dark fish.

My Nice Shoes

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]

Getting Squared Away

Squaring up: the technique of copying that uses a grid.  Comparing the squares of the source image to the drawing underway helps an artist draw the relationships between visual elements correctly.  It’s especially useful when an image needs to be enlarged. 

And that’s why I used it.  I was painting this bridge into a large portrait and needed to get the architectural structure right.  I made this little version from a photo, then enlarged this image by making a similar grid on the canvas I was painting.  So it had this very practical purpose.

Still I think the gridded drawing has a unique charm of its own.  It turns each square into an abstraction and heightens the abstraction of the image as a whole.  The order that it imposes is also comforting somehow.  Having these grid lines here, I feel confident that this little bridge isn’t going anywhere.  It’s locked down on the page. 

[Top of the post:  Little Bridge by Aletha Kuschan, colored pencils]