I made revisions today to the Holbein and I am happy with the direction it is going in the initial outline. The charcoal is really hard for me and I have been struggling with it a lot. I did just at the end of my session tonight feel a moment of fondness for it when I was starting to suggest more subtle areas in the drawing. I think I keep trying get it to act like graphite and it just isn’t going to play that way. Long way to go…
I love the expression on this Lady’s face. IO imagine what it must have been like to have been a woman during the Tudor era. Dignified, a little distant… and a little sad. Her expression enchants me. If I can capture that, that is all I want.
Today I began a sight-size master study of a Hans Holbein the Younger drawing in order to keep my eyes seeing well and in shape. Below is the initial block-in. It is totally in progress and just beginning. It is in charcoal and is my first charcoal drawing. It has already been too long since I did the kind of rigorous drawing that I have done recently in school. Your eyes get so fine tuned working on those drawings. It has been about a month since instruction ended for me and wow, do I feel a difference starting again. I am a little rusty.
I have been working on my oil paintings and some pastels but I have not been applying myself in drawing. More and more I understand that it is drawing that holds the key of doing anything well, and with any amount of ease. When I draw academically on a disciplined schedule I paint better. My pastels are better. I enjoy the creative act more.
That is because the eye is tuned and does not struggle so much. That is so important for me. The struggle distracts me, agitates me and reduces my productive art making time drastically. I can literally feel it when I do not draw.
That is why I started this master’s copy. Even without close critique and instruction my own eyes can now see many places that I wandered off path. Where I became distracted with what I wanted to see and not what was really there. In all of those places, where I put away truth for approximation I fell away from the copy and into interpretation. I see angles that have gone awry, marks that are not on point. The more I look the more I see.
Then I go in and adjust and correct, look closer. Making my mark, double checking the angles and the distances to the plumb line slowly the spirit of the copy emerges. It is a wonderful feeling. I move closer and closer to Holbein’s hand, guiding mine. That is important to think about; the artist’s hand in the work, their decision to make certain lines thick or and some thin, curved or linear, heavy or feather light.
Those are the good moments in a copy. Then there are the moments when you look at your drawing and see where you are off, where you struggled. Then it begins again.
School starts in a couple of weeks. The unfamiliarity of the medium is slowing me down and at times pushes my hand in directions it does not mean to go. Looking at the drawing now, I have made everything a little to big, the eye is exaggerated (THAT drives me crazy) the angle of the cheek bone line is quite off and the torso line is too far over to the right – among many other things. I got too precious on the face too early and will have to significantly adjust everything.
The critique is part of the process. It sounds harsh but it is they eye pushing itself to see and to work with the hand to translate what it sees accurately.
This Holbein in charcoal is going to keep me busy and is a perfect warm up to the Bargue I will journey with for who knows how long.
I’ll post the Holbein copy along the way. I am wanting to finish it before school starts.
I am slowly getting my mind framed around going back to school in the spring. I cannot wait. Over the last few months, I’ve had to take a step back from my classical art studies and admin work at the school to take care of some time consuming personal stuff. I am really missing it. I am SO very much looking forward to the start of 2014 and getting back into an academic discipline and structure. It is really good for me, even when it is hard. The irony of it. I miss my friends too from the school, very much.
We had our First Annual Student Show and I was so excited to have my work a part of it even though I was not able to make the opening. Here is the beautiful flyer Mary Weeks did for the show and my ‘all dressed up’ leg. If you scroll down to previous posts a bit you can see the in progress shots of the Bargue Leg.
Before I had to take off from the school I was able to spend one day with my new Bargue! I spend a couple hours just working with the medium. I have never used charcoal before in any serious way. I spend a good fifteen minutes just sharpening some Nitram and another hour and a half making marks, learning to dust them off with the chamois, trying to get some weight behind my marks but not too much weight – ha! I gave myself a sheet and basically did a box of the form and played a whole bunch. Then I set up my sheet of paper that will have the real drawing on it. This will be the hardest drawing I have ever done I think but not for the reasons I am expecting, I suspect. Below is my first date with the Angel Bargue. You should definitely let loose sometimes. This was a really good exercise.
Just looking at this Bargue makes me so excited to get back to the studio and get to work!
Lisa told me some exciting news and rumors of a painting program abound. During my break I have been working on my Grisaille diligently and have nearly finished the still life and have gotten quite a ways into the woman in a chair. The figure is a study I just started from a psychiatric patient photograph by Dr. Diamond from the 1850’s. I eventually want to bring color into the work but I am taking really slow steps and probably wont touch it with color until I am ready to get into color in oils at the school. I hear, and I am so excited that they will begin with Cast Painting in Grisaille! That is exactly where I want to start!
So that about wraps it up for 2013. What a year. What a really significant year for my growth as an artist. I have no doubt that 2014 will be even more remarkable.