Lora, Two Ways

“Lora” – trace monotype print, detail added. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

You know how at some fine dining establishments they often have those dishes that are supposedly served “two ways?”

Well, here is my friend, Lora, who now appears on tonight’s blog in two ways!

The below image is a pencil sketch I made in order to create a trace monotype print (like the image from the last post), only this time I used standard Kozo paper (a good idea–the Strathmore was really too thick for it, and I knew that at the time, but I figured what the heck, why not give it a try?) and burnt sienna Akua ink to give the finished product a warmer tone.

“Sketch of Lora” – pencil. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not reproduce without permission.

I drew the sketch during lunch–dodging M’s spaghetti-flinging and meeting his rowdy, medieval tavern-esque demands for more milk–in the hopes that it would save me time on the printmaking end, which it did. Huzzah! This also means an earlier bedtime for me, DOUBLE-HUZZAH!

Until next time, folks, thank you and goodnight.

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Get Your Friends To Sit For You

And I don’t mean babysitting!

“Connie Seated” – charcoal on Strathmore paper. ©Katie Kath 2022. Do not use without permission.

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.

Behind Blue Eyes

Much as I love “The Who,” the title has nothing to do with this post except for the fact that I began humming that tune as I began to draw and I figured someone else should get it stuck in their head tonight, too. You’re welcome.

I took up piano 4 1/2 years ago as an adult (the extremely brief time I tried to take piano when I was quite young doesn’t count because it lasted for about two seconds before I got very bored with some of the monotony involved and decided I wanted to draw stuff instead) and when I began taking lessons I could maybe tell you where middle C was and that was it. I started off playing what probably everyone starts off playing, which was “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Au Clair De La Luna.” Talk about swallow your pride.

I wish I could say now I can play Rachmaninoff, but that’s not the case. I can, however, definitely play more complex pieces these days and I love that the decision I made to learn to play piano is probably one of the better ones I’ve ever made.

Now, go forth and make some good decisions, folks. Good night.

Friday Nite is Selfie Nite

Some days are just devoid of inspiration. You want nothing more in the evening than to just hit the sack. And there’s merit in this–I am in full support of sack-hitting: sleep is the Great Restorer.

But sometimes, like exercise, it’s when you don’t want to do a thing that you should do that very thing. Starting a visual journal blog is fun. Keeping it up regularly is a different story. It’s when you are about a week into a new workout that it begins to hurt and you can either give up because of it or push through in spite of it, and end up being glad you did in the end.

Needless to say, tonight was one of those nights, but I wanted to draw something. I said in a previous post that self portraits are generally my go-to when all else fails, so for lack of something better and more creative and certainly more exciting than my face, I stuck with the fall-back plan.

Hey, at least my face is always there and always free. You gotta pay a model.

Blue Girl Waiting

I used to be vehement (adamant?) about drawing from life in the sketchbook. While it is true I still hold the sentiment that one of the best forms of artistic discovery does lie in drawing from observation, (and ya just CAN’T draw a bicycle or horses correctly from memory) I’ve since modified this belief for several reasons. Principally, since becoming a mom my time has become a series of slots throughout the day, most of which are taken up by caring for my toddler, M. The rest of the slots are generally allotted for chores (no longer having ANY clean underwear, for example) or appointments. This leaves just a very small slot for me in the evenings to draw, so I need to figure out what to sketch, and fast.

Sometimes the opportunity presents itself for drawing from observation, other times I utilize reference photos I take myself, and sometimes–like today– I’ll just dream up something. The mental image usually comes to me at some point throughout the day, making itself clearer as the day progresses, only to be completely sharpened once I put it to paper.

I mentioned I’ve been on an “old masters” kick recently (Maybe not the old old masters…more like the 19th century-masters? The Impressionistic masters?) and because of this I’ve rediscovered the luscious, page-scratchingly tasty wonders of compressed and vine charcoal. In fact, I think I’m falling in love!

Sorry, watercolors, we might need to take a little break. It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.

Hot Hockney and the Degas Blues

Today was hot. Like, high-noon in August at a New Orleans Jambalaya fest hot. So, rather than traipse outside with a paintbox, a sweat towel, and a gallon of iced tea, I stayed in and went with the sketch default: self portraiture! as my late friend and mentor once said, ”If it’s good enough for David Hockney, its good enough for me.”

Speaking of late and great, you know who we don’t talk about enough? Edgar Degas. Yes, his pastel paintings are all over mugs, cards and other kitschy paraphernalia, and I think—very unfortunately—his work has generally become, for most people, a tired old LP on repeat because of its ubiquitousness. But oh my goodness, HIS DRAWINGS. I mean, this guy is a master. He knows line, he knows shape, he knows shadow. He knows what to show and what to hide. And most important, he knows the value in simplicity.

So here you have it. One simple selfie in charcoal, with hopefully, more to come.