Thursday, July 30, 2009

Promise 72: Eyes 11

Today's work. From a lovely drawing of a young man's face I saw in a book. I'll post the credit tomorrow. It's late and I'm pooped.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Promise 71: Two Apples, Again

Here's today's effort on the same two apples. Much improved I think, thanks to Karen, again! :-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Learning 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15

11. I learned that when I've been using one kind of paper for a long time, it takes time and practice to get used to a new kind of paper.

12. I learned, as per number 11, that I should practice on a new paper before expecting any real results the first time I use it.

13. I learned to make wrinkles or waves in a fabric napkin that look slightly real, using gentle, soft strokes, shading just like I do on a nose or an eye or a face. I think of Sadie Valeri saying to make soft light gentle marks that reach for the light.

14. I learned that I constantly have to re-learn to SLOW DOWN. I rush the drawing far too much, consistently! I have to remind myself repeatedly and continually to slow down.

15. I learned to put color or value on the ENTIRE drawing before darkening darks or working on any values at all! Working next to an area of white distorts all my value perspective.

Promise 70: Two Apples

I used the actual apple set up along with the thumbnail to do this drawing today. It's ok, not great. The edges, half tones and shadows are all poor. I like the wrinkles in the napkin...I spent a lot of time on those and should have stayed with that part of the sketch.

I used some new paper, supposedly better than the cheaper paper I've been using. But it was hard to make the change. I've been using the slicker white paper and grown used to it. That, and the heat of 90 degrees made the day a little difficult! Double click on the image to see a larger version.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Promise 69: Apple Thumbnail No. 2

Yea, another good day. I decided to to what you're supposed to do with the thumbnail sketches and draw a second one trying another composition, just a slight rearrangement. I was really ansy and anxious when I started, so I went over to the side of my paper to 'play' again, just like yesterday. Once I start just messing around and drawing and not trying too hard, it seemed to flow.

When I had it almost finished, I thought that the two apples looked lonesome and that a third apple tucked back completely in the the shadow would be nice. AND I was able to do what I was trying to do! I erased a spot, stuck in a third apple, and viola! How exciting to be able to actually DO what I intend to do!

So once again I'm happy and motivated. I think I'll try this version of the thumbnail on a slightly larger scale this week! Here we go....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Learning 8, 9 and 10

8. I learned that it is usually easier the second, third and fourth time I sketch the same thing, especially if I don't wait too long between sketches of that thing.

9. I learned that all the stuff I've been practicing and focusing on is paying off. I AM learning it.

10. I learned to use thumbnail, quick, five minute sketches.

I learned a lot more, but I gotta save it. Can't tell it all in just one day, now can I?

Promise 68: Apple Thumbnail

I am so excited! After working on the cast's nose, I went up to the studio, set up two apples with a cloth hanging over the table and decided to do what everybody recommends...a thumbail see if I liked the set up at all. (I also studied some of Paul Foxworth's still life drawings this morning and read more material on composition, lighting, etc.) So then, when I started the thumbnail, I went off to the side of the sketchbook to just play around...and lo and behold, it started working.

So now I have something ALL my own to draw. And I like it. AND the tiny thumbnail will be so helpful in doing another larger study. I can see how important that can be. I learned so many things today. Holy mackerel! Thanks for hanging on with me and offering your support and suggestions to my distress call the other day. I am not a manic depressive artist. Yet :-)

PS. We went to the antique store yesterday and I found the most beautiful, simple bowl to use for sketches of bowls of fruit. It's called a McCoy piece. Lots of info when you google it. But I liked the shape and lines. I feel like I'm moving forward again!

Promise 67: Nose 4 Again

Worked some more on the nose of the cast. And here's a picture of this crazy cast so you can see that it really does look something like what I am drawing! See the guy's nose on the right? I was sitting on the floor drawing, so I had a different perspective than the photo, but that's his nose!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Learning 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

3. I learned to look more closely at what I am trying to draw when I am having trouble making it look 'right' or real on the paper. If it looks strange on the paper, it's because I'm drawing what I think I see instead of what is there in front of my eyes. My brain keeps getting in the way.

4. I learned to go back and read my blog and see the things I've already learned and already forgotten (like a promise weeks ago to STOP using the same cheap, slick, white, hard paper that I've been STILL using this week!)

5. I learned that darks and shadows can get VERY dark very fast if I'm not patient and that sometimes I can't 'undo' the damge.

6. I learned that I draw my best when I draw gently and when I keep thinking to myself 'gentle, gentle, be slow and gentle.'

7. I learned that I need to leave my sketch every 15 minutes and go in the other room and breathe.

Learning 1 and 2

1. Yesterday I learned that it helps to talk to myself and to you all about what I am feeling.

2. I also learned--again--that my friend Karen can be the most helpful and inspirational person I know with the things she says to me when I'm in trouble. I don't mean to embarrass you Karen, but honestly, you DO keep me on track. Thank you so much.

Promise 66-67: Noses 4 and 5

Here's the first nose, which I didn't post, and then the second sketch, same nose, today.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Promise 66: Nose 4

Ok, I did sketch yesterday, a nose from the cast we have. But I'm not posting it because I need to talk...

I'm feeling like I'm flailing about, just all over the place. Sketching legs, eyes, lemons, faces, seemingly random 'items' with no real direction other than this nebulous goal to 'learn'--whatever that means. There seems to be no real direction or coherence to what I'm doing.

Originally I was thinking along the lines that if I want to paint still life, then I should learn each part of that still life, i.e. the bowl, the cherries, the cloth, etc. then draw them all together. So that was somewhat of a start, thus the lemons, limes, bowls. Then I grew tired of those and felt limited and bored. And setting up a still life where I like the composition is so difficult that then I think I need to study composition before setting something up. Then I always feel rushed so I just sit down and sketch whatever is available or that I have easiest access to. I know, I even sound flailing as I write this...

So, I just don't know what to do. Which book to read, which 'thing' to draw, which part to focus on....lost and floundering...again. I know, I know, you're thinking 'why doesn't she just enroll in a class?' Well, cause I am lazy and scared and do not want to be in a group with others and I know I am just plain not going to do that. So any other ideas?

My idea is to think more, rethink more, establish some direction, and to not be so focused on posting sketches but on posting LEARNINGS. Bill and I were talking about my problem this morning and he helped me see that whatever I sketch, leg, arm, eye, that I LEARN something from that sketch.

So here for a while, I am going to keep track of what I learned each day. I think I'll be sharing that with you, because this blog is like my 'art journal' and I enjoy having it to look back on.

Thanks for reading all this rambling. You know if you click on the WORD 'comments' below this post you can leave a comment, signed or anonymous. I appreciate all your input and opinions and ideas.

I'll be back later, but maybe tomorrow. Company for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Promise 65: Copy of Michelangelo's Drawing, Day 5

I got up at midnight to work on little Andrea. And today, thanks to Karen, I've decided to leave well enough alone and to quit.

I googled Andrea because it occurred to me that maybe he was a girl, not a boy. Here's what I found. Incredibly interesting:

Michelangelo Buonarroti

"Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi" a drawing - Around AD 1532

His only surviving portrait drawing.

According to Giorgio Vasari, one of Michelangelo's biographers, he was most reluctant to make portrait drawings 'unless the subject was one of perfect beauty'. This is the only surviving portrait drawing by Michelangelo. Drawn in black chalk, it shows the head and shoulders of a young man, Andrea Quaratesi (1512-85) who was one of several noble youths much admired by Michelangelo. Though from a noble Florentine family, it is possible that Michelangelo tried to teach this young Florentine how to draw, as the artist wrote on a drawing now in Oxford: 'Andrea, have patience'. The young man wears contemporary dress, a cap flat on his head, as he looks out to his left. The drawing is lit from the left so that the delicate shadows are formed by small, careful parallel strokes of chalk.

Michelangelo rarely gave his drawings away, other than to close friends or pupils. He presented these carefully finished 'presentation drawings' only to those whom he admired and loved. In his own words, they were carried out 'for love rather than duty'.

Information provided by the British Museum.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Promise 64: Copy of Michelangelo's Drawing, Day 4

Holy cripes this is hard. Look at the difference when the big white space on the right is blocked out. Adjoining contrasts make such a huge difference. Guess that's the learning for today. I am discouraged.

Promise 63: Copy of Michelangelo's Drawing, Day 3

Oy, here we go again...

Promise 62: Copy of Michelangelo's Drawing

Michelangelo's Portrait of Andrea Quarates, 1528 is so very lovely, it seems an insult to show my attempt at copying his simple and elegant work. Here's the first try at the whole face. I've done the eyes and nose once before...

Promise 61: Leg Two

Same leg, trying again...

Promise 60: Leg One

My copy of a study sketch in Harold Speed's book on drawing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Promise 59: Cowboy, Day 3

Hmmmm, kinda fun. Whatdya think?

Promise 58: Cowboy, Day 2

Lots of work on this little guy. But I do see some changes for the better, so I'll keep on til he's finished. And yes, I am learning from him too. The wrapped part around his hat is really fun. Like everybody says, 'turning the form' with the lights, darks and midtones is the best part of all!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Promise 57: Cowboy Study

The day and the sketch started badly. I quit, then went back, two--maybe three times. Finally it started coming together. Interesting how that happens. I still call it 'magic' but now I'm fairly certain I can make it happen again, a little bit, sometimes anyway!

Promise 56: Disaster Day

OK so here's what happened. I started by planning on and sketching a nose. But then I thought, oh what the heck, and I added the mouth, then an eye, then another eye. All without benefit of any scaffolding or lines to relate the parts of the face to. What a disaster. It is so bad it's hilarious and I was tempted to post it...but not quite! So here're just the two eyes and the nose. Everyday I learn or re-learn something important.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Promise 55: Bill's Hat

Absolutely forced myself to draw something from life instead of a copy. I thought this old hat of Bill's would be a good subject with good shadows and interest. OMG. It was impossible. All day on a silly hat. But it's learning that matters, right? Right.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Promise 54: Bowl & Cherries

Just a quick teenie tiny little sketch about 1 x 1 inch! And on this awful brown paper. I worked on connecting and re-connecting three! DVD players, the sound system, the iPod and the TV today and when it was finally done I was just plain too pooped to do anything more. Bill helped me rearrange the studio (again) for setting up a still life where there will be only one light source and I can sit and draw comfortably. We'll see what this brings. I'm motivated to do more than just single items by yesterday's bananas and apples.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Promise 53: Bananas & Apples

Ah, my old friends the apples. I was wondering if I could still draw an apple--it's been so long. And I've never drawn a banana. So I was very proud of myself with this drawing until I took the photo. The apples are far too small for the bananas. Oh well, again, tomorrow :-) The drawing is tiny, only about 2 x 3" and it WAS fun.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Promise 52: Curl

Just a tiny curl of mustache from the drawing of the cast I've used to copy. Not much time today, too many errands to run, things to do. Tomorrow WILL be more calm.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Promise 51: Nose 3

From a drawing of a cast in a book. I like this much better than yesterday's. The model has more character to begin with. Not a nice thing to say, but this face is astounding. Someday I'll show you the whole face...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Promise 50: Nose 2

My second try at a nose. Learned a lot. This one's for Cousin Nancy. And the answer is 'yes, noses are hard.' Don't know how hard, since it always seems really strange at first...more tomorrow.

Promise 49: Eye 10

My version of the left eye of Sargent's Lady Sarah Spencer, 1916. A quick sketch at the end of a long day, and remarkably it worked. Pretty much anyway. Always lots of room for improvement. But my TENTH eye sketch. That's an accomplishment for me! Actually going to start a series of noses today. You can probably guess what the goal is...a whole face!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Promise 48: Accuracy

OK, so today I was looking at yesterday's sketch of the bowl. I was thinking it was a pretty good sketch, but truly it doesn't look anything like the real bowl. So I went back to--guess what--scaffolding--drawing lines in the drawing first and using them to check the dimensions and the curves. Here's the result. Not much, but closer in shape to the real thing. Boy does it take a long time!

Promise 47: Bowl No. 7

From yesterday. I tried to apply the lessons learned from my shaded sphere practice to the little bowl. Some success I'd say. Going to give it another try though.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Promise 46: Eye No. 9

Worked a little on my own eye drawing of yesterday. When I stopped looking for what I THINK I look like and started drawing what I was SEEING, it went a little better. I think I improved it? Not much sketching for today and I have to quit now. Company coming for dinner and I've lots of cooking to do. Tomorrow is all company, no restaurants. Hooray!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Promise 45: Eye No. 9

Ugh. A difficult day. This is my own eye, my first try at drawing myself. It was hard looking at myself so closely, especially with the years showing clearly. It seems I left all the wrinkles out of the drawing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Promise 44: Shaded Sphere 1

Wow. You can't imagine how much I learned today about mid tones, pencil strokes, shading, and the use of different pencils! This is from an explanation of drawing a shaded sphere by Sadie Valeri. I know it looks incredibly simple, but it just SHOWS me so much in how to present light, shadow, midtones and to not smudge my drawing with my finger to get shades and shapes. Thanks Sadie, Karen Appleton, Paul Foxworth and my sweet supportive husband who says everything I do is 'great"...everybody who is helping me on my little journey! It is so very important to me.

Promise 43: Eye No. 8

Here's the other day's eye with a little finishing to it. It's my copy of Paul Foxworth's sketch from a portrait by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a 17th century baroque artist.
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