With company over last weekend and this week shaping up to be very full as well–we have a toddler starting a Mommy and Me gymnastics class and a husband who has started school again–I haven’t found the energy to post something lately.
So: for now, here is a quick sketch of M., happily stacking plastic rings after dinner this evening.
I had a realization yesterday afternoon that just about shook me to the core.
I was toying around again with the idea of going back to a personal project I had shelved more than a year ago, (more on that to come), and had even hauled out my watercolors to start painting, when a distinctly and increasingly uncomfortable feeling began creeping up my spine. As I watched the painted sections dry, a sudden awareness came into focus like a developing polaroid: I no longer like to work in watercolor the way I have been. The worst part? I can’t remember a recent time when I did.
For an artist whose current career has been built on a certain medium, this is akin to waking up one morning and suddenly realizing that you have been in a souring relationship for many years and despite your numerous, desperate attempts to save it, it has, in fact, gone permanently south.
And, like many relationships that fall apart, there have been obvious (ignored) signs along the way. So many signs that you feel like a total idiot for not recognizing them in the first place. (Or, perhaps, it was the refusal to recognize them).
I’m not saying it’s time to chuck, along with my brushes, every single tube of Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton out the window, but this is a sure sign I need to step back, scrub out my old painting palette, reevaluate, and ask myself some questions. Maybe I need to expand my current color palette? Maybe I need to try some dyes? Maybe I need to take a seriously long break from watercolor altogether.
The long and short of it is, the current situation of this “relationship” needs to drastically change. I don’t know what it will look like in the end, but for now, there’s a road ahead of me and I have to travel it.
Tonight’s drawing of my snoozing son is inspired by a sweet aria entitled Evening Prayer from the opera, “Hansel and Gretel,” by Engelbert Humperdinck. (And no matter how beautiful the music is, I cannot for the life of me get over that name. What did his mother call him? Lil Dinkey? What did his friends call him? Bert? Did he have any friends named Ernie?)
I digress. To the point, it’s a wonderful lullaby and a dreamy tune, with lyrics which I will inscribe herein:
Whenat night I go to sleep,Fourteen angels watch do keep, Two my head are guarding, Two my feet are guiding, Two are on my right hand, Two are on my left hand, Two who warmly cover, Two who o’er me hover, Two to whom tis given to guide my steps to heaven.
Sleeping softly then it seems, Heaven enters in my dreams; Angels hover round me, Whisp’ring they have found me; Two are sweetly singing, Two are garlands bringing, Strewing me with roses, As my soul reposes. God will not forsake me when dawn at last will wake me.
Happy Saturday! I know it has been several days since I have posted, but hopefully the wait will have been worth it since I had to spend some time filming and troubleshooting a: (drum-roll please…) time-lapse video for the first timeever!
That’s right, folks. Today you get to see one of my drawings come to life before your very eyes–several hours worth of work blitzing by in a matter of seconds for your viewing pleasure! (And maybe for your inspiration as well.)
As you can see in the video, this piece is a bit larger and more involved than most of the work I have been posting here of late, so it was filmed over two days. Unfortunately, on the second day my filming angle got a bit off-kilter, but you get the bonus of seeing my wonderful mother-in-law drop in to chat with me about family resemblance and the dog chase our cat out of the frame (Ah, family life!)
As a double bonus you get to hear my lilting voice describe a few of the techniques I’m using so any viewer can take those little nuggets of knowledge and apply them to their own pastel adventures, too.
There is something about pastel to which I keep getting drawn. (Yes, yes, very punny.)
Maybe it’s because it is a drawing implement that you actually PAINT with, (and that is, in fact, its proper term–if you use pastel, you say that you “paint” with it, as opposed to drawing with it.) yet there is not water or brush involved.
It’s like the best of both worlds, sans drying time and plus portability.
Often, the most bland photographs make for the best drawings. (Likewise, the best photographs make the worst drawings. No one looks good in a drawing when they are smiling. EVER. And I stand by that!)
Take this one, for example.
As I said in a prior post, it is best to draw from life–especially if you aren’t very familiar with drawing the human figure–but this is not always possible once you step outside of art school. People generally have very little time or patience to sit for long periods of time like a paid model is willing to do.
This picture was just a snap shot, one of those you take with your phone that you’ll likely completely forget about soon afterwards. However, it stood out to me in a way that all of the other smiling family portraits did not. The composition of the figures, the positioning of the limbs and fabric (ok, I added the stripes. Artistic license.) and the contemplative look on both girls’ faces screamed to be turned into a drawing.
Many people erroneously think they would make terrible models.
“Oh, I couldn’t,” they say, and list off a myriad of excuses, “I’m not attractive enough. I’m too tall/short/old/petite, I don’t like my face/arms/flab/wrinkles/scars”…you name it.
But I’m convinced something magical happens when a person is drawn.
One of my college professors once told me about a figure drawing session in which the model, after taking a look at all of the artist’s studies of her, said, “Wow, is that me? I didn’t know I looked that good!” To which, everyone responded emphatically, “UM, YES! You do look that good!”
And guess what? The model was a regular person. not a swimsuit model, not a runway model, not a Maybelline model, not super young, not super fit, just….an average person with an average life.
We artists see the beautiful in the average. So go ahead, artists: talk your friends into sitting for you in a drawing session. They may be pleasantly surprised.
I love using Neocolor crayons because 1. I have an absolutely MASSIVE amount of them, thanks to a gift from a dear friend, and, 2. because they are considerably less messy than soft pastels.
I don’t really mind a messy art evening, but after a long day the prospect of cleaning up large amounts of paint-dust and little finger-printy bits that have been accidentally stamped everywhere by yours truly isn’t a very enticing one. Maybe one of these evenings I’ll be feeling some soft pastel love, but not tonight, I’m afraid.
Although this one did turn out much tighter than I’d really have liked, what I wanted to focus on most was playing around with color. So: I had my fun, mission accomplished. Consider this blog entry posted.