Well, all good things must come to an end, and what an end it was. My post is two weeks after the fact, but the final drawing session was another one that amazed me. For what ever reason, there are some days when we feel like we couldn’t write our name well, and then there’s the other days. The days when all is well in the universe and we are in harmony with that. This is how I felt about this past session.
Maybe I’d eaten well that day, maybe my mind was relaxed, maybe the planets were just lined up just so, but whatever the reason I felt confident in drawing. Also, the drawings were remarkably free of the usual mental strain that I put on them. Maybe simply allowing them to be what they are was enough to release that critic that resides in the dark corners of my mind.
These first drawings are just that, the first drawings. Almost immediately I liked the model, enjoyed her poses and figure, especially her nose. Weird right? Anyway, this first page is obviously very loose, 1 minute drawings.
These next two drawings are moving into the 5 and 10 minute range. Somewhere in here the pencil started to live a life of it’s own. Really, there’s sometimes no other language but poetry to describe the feeling when drawing is happening well. That’s not to say drawing is happening “accurately,” or “precisely” these are, I think, the ideas that need to be removed from ones mind.
It’s an important fact to remember that we are not cameras, that we are not creating photographs, but drawings. An impression of not only that which is before us, but as in the case of master works, that ineffable feeling that a drawing can allude to or call for from with in us.
I feel that the beginnings of that are what is going on when an artist is surprised by their work, or something “falls off the brush,” this it is the case when the drawing is leading the way.
These next two pictures are an interesting set. I think it is of note to talk about how I created these. Basically, I am drawing and painting on a semi flat board. The foot of a drawing horse set on end. I mention this only because after looking at these pictures, the dis-proportion starts to make some sense.
The first pic is how the drawing looked to me while I was working on it. Notice that there is perspective, evidenced by the convergence of the the edges of the paper at the top of the image. All seems to be well or well enough with the proportions.
Yet…. when I look straight on to the piece… whoa! She’s got a mondo head. This one had drawing creep from the start too. Notice the extra paper that’s attached to the top. Drawing/ painting with watercolor is a little like being a train conductor, once it’s moving forward, there ain’t no reverse! This pose was about an hour, and probably 30 minutes of that time was spent wrangling the proportions around. Clearly the drawing won that match.
Finally we come to the last piece. There was some extra time at the end of the session that the model sat for about 20 minutes. In a flurry I decided that the earlier drawings utilized the pencil well, and that I would do the more traditional approach of pencil first watercolor second. (Off the top of my head, I do believe all the other watercolors were done just with a brush, in other words, no under-drawing.) So, quickly, lightly I worked around the figure for about 7 minutes, then for the remainder I painted in a semi-planer way. With a short time to go, I charged the brush with the Windsor Blue (red shade) and popped in the background. There wasn’t any logical reason at the time, or at least none that I was consciously aware of.
I was stunned at my own audacity at that moment. I felt it was a bold risk, and one that paid off in the end. Heck, you decide.