In addition to getting a few thousand words this week toward my current writing project, I also had a variety of drawing and painting opportunities. To the usual fashion sources, I added a study of Braque, David Levine and Jamie Hewlett, some new to me, some less so. In the week ahead, I’d like to continue to paint when I can, but also return to pen and ink. I was looking through some ink drawings in an old sketchbook this morning and was struck by the pure, dense black of the ink. I want to play with that again.
Another incentive to more work was my greater participation in Adam Wiebner’s Twitter page @Draw2Live. Adam curates a collection of posted drawings by a variety of artists, which lately has been sparking some lively conversations. Talking about my work and interests with the others there on Twitter makes me feel engaged in a real community. The feedback is such a motivator! It’s been 4 months now since I decided to start drawing again and it has been every day since then, and every day I want to do it more and more. I’m very excited. I just wish there were more hours in the day…
Friday night is the happiest time of the week. I get bouncy with it. Two luscious days just for me stretch out languidly before me. I can do so many things I want to do…draw, paint, write…But will I?
My weekend record is not so good.
I’ve had a tremendous amount of drive these last few days to get some drawing done, and sure enough, I have. But it’s a radically different energy involved in trying to squeeze a few sketches into a busy working day compared to waking up free on a Saturday morning with 48 hours entirely at my disposal. I’m not “on” the way I have to be at work, I’m not scanning the minutes for opportunity–it’s all opportunity. I have the drive alright, but how do I get it in gear when everything in me is on idle? Exhaustion is no excuse.
But… there is light. For months I’ve wanted to start developing sketches for a character of mine, and in these last weeks, I’ve finally been making small steps in that direction. I’ve wanted to work more in color and there has been a little more of that around here lately. Minute by stolen minute, I can feel the momentum building. It’s slow and halting and frustrating because I want to experience speed that is measured in G-forces when it comes to my making. It isn’t realistic but that’s the thrill I crave. The real question is:
If I can summon the energy to work hard enough to see the improvements I want, if the rocket fuel ignites, where do I plan to go with this thing?
I honestly don’t know. I have ideas–always, always, the words and the images–but I don’t know. Yet.
Fashion Figures, 2013
Fashion sketches (3), pen, marker, colored pencils, 2013
Stripes, pen, 2013
I usually post my sketches to Twitter (@mksolomon1) as I do them, but here is a summary of the fashion sketches I’ve done in the last week or two. I’m still struggling to master the figure, color, shading and a kinetic sense in these drawings, which leaves these sketches a bit raw, and yet there are successful passages and glimpses that say “there could be something here.” It’s heartening. At the same time, I am bursting with ideas of things I’d love to play with–what I need to do now is carve out the time to try them.
“No thing is beautiful. All things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”–Robert Henri
Reading Henri’s Art Spirit again, a thing I’ve done every now and then over the past 30 years or so, I came upon the above remark, which I find to be a significant truth. Later, Henri goes on to say that it is useless for the student to do endless practice drawings to perfect technique if he cannot find something in the subject that excites him. He’s right–how dull that is! And yet, there are times when I pick a subject by default–I want to draw and there is a person sitting nearby–and so I begin, but in the process of observing and trying to make the drawing, I fall for the subject a bit. The man at the bottom of the page (center) was like that; he was just there and sitting still, so I had a go. I never did get him right, and I feel a little regret about that, even if it’s a nice drawing. Maybe my fondness is what makes the drawing work. I don’t know. It’s interesting to think about.
I have been able to keep up with my daily sketch outings pretty well this last week, with the usual good and bad days, fine sketches and ugly ones, but added to that has been a new desire to branch out into new media. One of the recurring criticisms I received back in my art class days was that I never pushed myself far or hard enough. One of the reasons for that, which I never confessed to my teachers, if I even knew it then, was that I hate to fail. HATE. IT. But I’m getting used to the rhythm of good and bad days, fine and ugly sketches–even in the bound pages of the sketchbook, God forbid!–and find myself far more comfortable with making a mess. So I’m pushing… playing a little maybe. And two months into this experiment, I think the results are good.
This is a sketch I did yesterday from a 1959 fashion photo. That hat is so fun! Lead pencil with red and lavender colored pencil, and black marker.
Playing around in ink, watercolor and colored pencils this evening. I’d love to do something wildly photo-collaged for the dress, but I’m not that savvy. I’ll keep playing and see where this goes.
Today’s sketches courtesy of Alexander McQueen’s Pre-Fall 2013 collection. God, I love this collection!
A few sketches over lunch time from the Chanel SS 2013 collection.