A few short weeks ago I joined a drawing class. I am very aware that my skills are limited and this is an area where I need to concentrate on improvement.
In anticipation (and trepidation) of the first class I picked up my coloured pencils and tried to free up my precise, neat, has-to-be-right personality by sketching whatever came into my head first, quickly.
Now, several weeks into my class, I can look at these for what they are: a knowledge-less person struggling to put something on to paper with no sense of direction or understanding of what she is trying to achieve. The idea I had a while ago to draw things in a theme as per my Sports Round-up post has some merit.
The saving grace is that at least I tried something before turning up on the first night.
Whilst this drawing of the end of my pencil, done during the first class, is terrible it does at least show my progression from flat stylised work to an attempt to show dimension with a light source.
The top left hand pear is the first one I did, just on cartridge paper, with pastels. What a difference it made when I was given a piece of proper pastel paper to try. I started with a better shape and blended the colours more evenly.
From here we went to our graphite pencils and drew a stack of books. I’ll post that one later as I was ill and unable to complete it at the time.
Following that we selected a photograph, taken by ourselves, to copy.
This picture shows one of the installations in the Sydney Biennale Exhibition on Cockatoo Island I recently went to. I mean, how hard could it be to copy that? As it turned out, very!
The size of the piece is about A4 and it took me around 12 hours to complete. Many things are wrong about it, especially the lower windows where the angle just got away from me and I wasn’t able to correct it later.
As I know the order in which it was drawn – where I started and where I finished – I am able to gauge my progression and gradual improvement in interpreting what I’m seeing and reproducing.
This project has been one of the hardest things I have undertaken for a long time. Did I enjoy it? I’m not sure. Yes and no. I felt sick every time I worked on it in case I mucked it up and as I got further along I became even more anxious because of the time invested in it. I’m smart enough to see that it isn’t fabulous but it is a massive step forward from the pieces shown at the top of this post from about 6 weeks ago, so I feel extremely positive.
One huge observation I’ve made whilst doing this is that maybe, in my case at least, having a precise, neat, has-to-be-right personality isn’t quite such a bad thing.
I think you’re doing really well, Claire! Remember, you see the faults before anyone else does. Like everything, it’s a matter of putting in the time and effort. I don’t draw as well as I could because I don’t put my time and effort into getting better at it. I put my efforts into getting better at other things! So, since time is finite, you have to decide whether being good at drawing is important enough to you to let other things go.
Oh forgot to say, the style of drawing shows your precise, need-to-be-right personality. Just for fun, you could try drawing the same scene by deliberately leaving out most of the fine detail. Is it still recognisable as a drawing of that scene?
What a terrifying, but thought-provoking, idea! It would be lovely to just lay some lines down and see what comes out of it without the need for accurate detail.
Yes! I’m a person who feels the need to add in details, more and more details! But it’s really interesting to see how little of that detail your mind needs to recognise an image. I love drawings like this one by Matisse http://artslosangeles.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/illustrated-love-poems-at-norton-simon.html He did a lot along these lines and they are so powerful in their simplicity. Darned hard to do, if you try….
Wow! Impressive result and a major effort. I think the sign and rolling door work well (other parts too, just trying to be specific). I particularly like the reflection in the top window. I know you want to go further, but what a great start.
Thanks Judy. The very front part of the picture (ie the main rolling door, sign and closest part of the siding) was the last part to be drawn and it’s easy to see the improvement. They sit quite well into position as opposed to some of the more distant parts – and earlier work – where it looks a bit out of shape.
Gosh, it’s painstaking work though.
looking impressive, and I can appreciate the work it would have taken. I like the little one of the pencil too though