I could probably finish this tomorrow. I’m looking at a book called “Drawings of the Masters: American Drawings” which is part of a series of books on drawing that I found at a library booksale. Thinking hard about what drawing means to me and what place it has in my work. There are drawings that I admire but have no desire to emulate, yet I have always wanted a certain ease of rendering that which is seen whether it is a building, a tree, or a musician. I have an idea to do some charcoal drawings of figures doing yoga poses on good paper. I need to work on getting some pictures- or using what I have. Hmm.. I could at least email a few yogis I know.
Oh this is slow going indeed. It makes it clear to me why I gave up my art practice when I had a 2nd and then a third child. I couldn’t fit it into 15 minute increments. Today a 1/2 hour went by. No big deal you say? Half hours are precious fare in my life. Meanwhile the kids watch a video, the dogs look on longingly, supper is delayed. My time is coming, I tell myself. My time is coming.
My daughter says that this looks like scribbles. Hopefully when it is finished it will look like leaves floating on reflections. It was nice to work tonight with some suggestions from the book on drawing I’m reading. I put a desk light in my work area, over my right side since I’m left handed so I don’t have to worry about cast shadows from my hand. Working from right to left to avoid smearing the paper, putting a piece of paper underneath the drawing hand to keep it from smearing the graphite. Also, I was extra careful to wash my hands first to avoid getting oil on the paper.
Must go, the children call.
I thought that I had more photographs of reflections than I do. I actually have tons of pictures of mushrooms but that’s another story. From now on i will be on the lookout for good reflection compositions.
This is going to take a few days, but it’s a start. I’m not totally happy with the cream paper, I thought it was white. Funny, so far it seems a lot easier than drawing from the figure.
In thinking about what to draw, I read something by the musician Bill Frisell in the liner notes for “all we are saying…” He writes: “Ever since I’ve entered into the world of music, I’ve never really had to figure out what to do. The music always tells you what to do, where to go. There’s always something new waiting right there in front of you.”
Yesterday I drew this:
Coincidentally at the library the same night, I found a book on drawing that includes exactly such a jar. Much more meticulously drawn than mine, i might add.
But I keep thinking about this Escher print which I saw in Art New England:
Click on the image to get to the Artists’ Market website in Connecticut, where this print can be found. I have a feeling the price is out of my range.
I have all these photographs of reflections that I have taken over the years while walking my dog. This may be just the thing to work on for while. Here’s a sample, but I’m sure I have better somewhere. If not, I’ll take more.
Just for the record, I don’t like this drawing at all, but I did draw yesterday and here is what I have to show for it.
But it did get me to thinking. I’ve set out this project for myself to draw daily, something I’ve been meaning to do for years. So now… what do I draw exactly? I love to draw from the figure and if I had a model I would do that every day. I don’t have a model, but I do have kids who occasionally sit still and lots of pictures of yoga poses. The problem with those is that at some point you have to ask permission of the person who is doing the pose. I have thought of 2 remedies for this. I could ask friends to either pose for me or send me pictures of themselves in yoga postures that they wouldn’t mind me drawing. I have on occasion photographed myself in poses, but that’s not always satisfactory.
So that’s part of it, at any rate. But I have to ask myself what I want to accomplish here. Why is daily drawing important to me? So important that I would carve precious minutes out of a day to work on it. Do I want to become expert at rendering all manner of materials? The folds of fabric? The lines and gradations of plant forms? The way light falls on, oh, anything at all? I’m not sure in the end it matters at all what you draw, but rather it is the constant training of hand/eye coordination, of making drawing so integral that it is absorbed deeply and becomes sort of an automatic tool, freeing to you focus on other concerns and not worry so much about rendering.
It’s terribly old-fashioned, in a way, this focus on drawing, and you don’t see much of it in contemporary art. I am moved by artists like Jim Dine who began their careers on an abstract/ conceptual route and later took up drawing as a crucial part of their artistic practice.
That doesn’t really answer the question that I set out for myself of what to draw. It may take a year to answer that question. So really I am setting sail on a year long exploration of drawing and what it means to me. I promise that some better drawings than the one above will follow, although I also intend to take risks so not everything will be pretty and nice.
Now that the holiday whirliwind is over, I am committing to daily drawing. Here are the first drawings of 2012:
This is a portrait from memory, drawn in a coffee shop. I’m not actually very good at drawing from memory and much prefer a model in front of me, so it’s a stretch for me.
We took the dogs for a walk, and my kids all took a moment to pose. I’m at the end of this moleskine notebook, so the sketch in the upper right is a yoga pose I drew in an attempt to explain something to my husband.