More people watching on my lunch breaks (marker line drawings) … a pencil drawing from reference… playing around with styles on a suit-guy (he looks so 70s!) The one on the left needs to be colored in with black ink and then have a psychedelic though cloud bloom from his head à la Milton Glaser or Peter Max. I like the wobblier one on the right, too; it’s a bit more like the way I used to draw. On Friday, I got luck to get the back corner seat on the bus one morning (I can brace my leg to keep the paper steady enough to draw) and even luckier at the subject who sat near me: jaunty cap, great long beard, and as a bonus, he fell asleep. Today, I dabbled in watercolor. The original intent was to combine the watercolor with marker, but I liked it as it was and stopped.
These weekly reviews always seem way too sparse. I have so much enthusiasm to do things, so many ideas, but find myself always short of time and capacity. I just plain wear out. Maybe that’s why they say you need to start a career like this when you are young; I have the desire, but I don’t have the energy of a 20-year-old. I’m going to have to use experience and wiles to make up the shortfall. Right?
Really a week of ups and downs….mid-week I was about useless and did very little, but what there is has a nice variety. I felt very strong this weekend especially… I started with color and a very loose style of drawing, very exaggerated, much like the wild style I used just out of high school. I just can’t seem to let go like I did then, but then, I felt I was lousy at art and had no audience…no more art class at school (same place I learned I was mediocre at best)… so it didn’t matter what I did. Funny how it’s that style of all the ways I’ve worked across the years that I wish I could get back, that and the feeling of pressure-less freedom, of drawing just for fun. Now I’m ambitious to improve, to make beautiful things, and it’s probably holding me back.
The marker drawing was one in which I was trying to incorporate things I was learning from a curmudgeonly Loomis book, The Eye of the Painter (1960) and from Pen Drawing by Charles Maginnis (1903). The woman, Joann Gonchar, is an editor for Architectural Record which I get at work. I liked her face and made the picture. I went a little too far with the shading, but overall it’s good. The Loomis book has its moments, but he’s so cranky and judgmental in other sections it bothered me. The Maginnis book though was great. I love books, art, just about anything from that era. Real skills, technique, concern about Beauty. Love it. Great illustrations, too.
I did a number of very quick sketches of the lunch crowd during the week, trying again to loosen up. I liked some of the poses and want to do more with them, but they are nothing much to look at. I did like the line drawing of the man on the phone. He’s a very elegant older gentleman I see around sometimes, but he rarely stops in the lobby. This time though he did (must have been me repeating stop stop stop in my head that changed his mind.) I may have elongated him a bit but he had great style. What a pleasure. I hope my drawing like that doesn’t annoy people.
The photography of Daniel Murtagh inspired the watercolor/marker drawing (I found his work through Pinterest). I liked the way this one came out; it did pretty much what I wanted it to do. The ink drawing was less satisfactory, always the problem of what you imagine versus your skills (or lack thereof). But I kind of like the pencil drawing, especially the silvery way it scans. I took more care on laying it out than I usually do, but my pencil skills were the really stumbling block. So it goes. practice, practice. And that’s the week!
I really do love working in watercolor. Well, in color of any kind, but especially with paint, building the forms tone by tone, making use of the medium’s happy accidents. It’s a dream to some day learn to work well in oils, but for now, this year, I want to do more watercolor.
A brief summary of some of the work I did last year. Enjoy!
Still Life, watercolor, 2013
A rare inspiration. I used to do watercolors a lot and really do love working with them, but it requires time and a state of mind I find it hard to conjure after a 10 1/2 hour commute-work grind. So, with five days off to draw and drift through inspirational blogs, I found the photography of Amy Merrick. I just couldn’t resist making an homage to her work. It’s a reminder that I need to try a few tableaux of my own, when next time avails.
I’ve had a lot of weird, uneven results with my drawings this week, possibly because I’ve been doing more live sketches which can get so messed up as people move. Here are two unsuccessful efforts, odd palimpsest effects created by trying over and over to get pose and likeness.
The first went wrong because the man shifted his pose, along with the fact that I somehow made an older man look young on the first try.
The second one I rather like, except that I never got the full pose on the page. This man was quite a character. Everything about him was unsavory–his threatening tone of voice, his sidewinder pose, his appearance (a slinky, disco-tight striped shirt over dirty dark blue workman’s pants and expensive loafers, burnt-red skin tone livid against the green shirt, thinning hair greased into a nub of a ponytail). Then there was that pose. It was as if he was hiding something (or from someone), but he was in a large public lobby on a comfy couch, coiled tight, left hand cradling his phone, right wedged between his knees. Maybe Elmore Leonard or Quentin Tarantino could have used him; he was that kind of guy. I sure would like to do more sketches of him, but I’ve never seen him there before; I don’t think he’s a regular in this boutique mall with an office tower full of lawyers and accountants.
These are the better things I made. There are flaws in this Marie Prevost drawing, but I’m enjoying the play between detail and massing of tones in this series. I continue to enjoy the watercolor/colored pencil fashion sketches; there will be more. As for the life drawings, my shading patterns are becoming more consistent and effective, but I’m wondering how I can push them toward something with a little more texture or aesthetic interest. Just a thought for the week ahead.
Unexpected results from correcting mistakes. Fun. The week’s themes, it seems.
Another smoker. I don’t know why I am attracted to the subject, but I am. The drawing of this guy didn’t come out as I wanted and the scan was “dirty,” but the clean up, turning the murk into a smoky frame, was the fun part.
The little girl is straightforward pencil drawing is another in a series of child-portraits that have been cropping up since summer. Not my usual subject matter at all. This gal is quite solemn, her eyes locked on yours, about to say something, though I have a feeling it’s not what you are expecting.
Then there is River from Firefly, almost the last in the cycle of character-captures my sister and I have been doing from one of our favorite shows. I love to do them fast and it’s a blast when I can get the character down in the first, wild, looping lines. The rest is just scribbling.
Finally, two ballpoint pen sketches on a night when I didn’t want to draw, but felt obliged to. Small surprise that the likenesses weren’t good, then I messed up one of the eyes with too much reworking. I trudged into the studio for a bit of Chinese white to fix it, and, while I’m in the paintbox….why not a dab of blue? What harm can it do? They weren’t great drawings anyway. Until they were; and if not great, it sure was fun adding the color. Magenta, orange, green, blue, aqua, yellow. Did I learn something about the pupils of eyes as they turn? Maybe. I need to study some more. My sister said the sketches had “fun-ness” and I hope they do; it’s a quality to aspire to, in my days and in my work. I’m not making any predictions about the week ahead, except that I’ll try to make the most of everything I do wrong.
Let’s see… was away in Wisconsin for a much needed vacation–drew everyday, but only made two things I was really proud of–came home and promptly got sick… so there isn’t much to show recently, but there are a few really nice things. Pencil took a supporting role to pen, markers and watercolor. Fashion is back on my mind: with the SS 2014 Fashion Weeks now wrapping up, I took a look back at last season before diving into the new one. I especially like the sprightly Duro Olowu-inspired watercolor. I also looked to television for study opportunities–TV as Art, as my sister puts it–this time using Project Runway to study emotions. (Check out my sister’s version, here.) Last is a postage stamp size drawing for Adam Wiebner’s #DRAWtoberfest challenge on Twitter. The theme was “The Kiss” and I got mine in rather late on the very last day. Better late than never.
Fashion will probably stick around this week and maybe I can find some time for life drawings, too. I have story ideas I’m itching to write; well, less story ideas, than a character situation I’d like to work through. I’m definitely feeling better and in a groove of good work, so here’s hoping for the week ahead!
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…