Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Steps on the Road to Art

I've been spending more time drawing and a little more time working with the colored pencils. I have found that there is a lot of flex using colored pencils that makes it more like painting and not just drawing, although the drawing is also necessary. Oh, you can trace and transfer the tracing to paper and color or paint the drawing in, but I've always preferred to rely on freehand drawing. My skills, as I've said before are rusty through disuse, but they are basically intact without too much rust needing to be brushed -- or banged -- off. That at least is comforting. I had worried I had lost even that much ability. Good thing something has remained.

The following are a few preliminary sketches and some color experiments with the colored pencil. I still have so much to learn -- and relearn -- but I'm getting there.  As one friend reminded me, the only way to resurrect one's skills is to practice, practice, practice. I believe I may even have mentioned it in previous posts.

I am excited about delving into the realms of transparent objects (glass, water, etc.) and discovering how to do glazes and washes with colored pencil, which will also require the use of solvents and oils. Not oil paints, but mineral oil, like baby oil, especially where the Faber Castell colored pencils are involved. And now, on with the show -- sort of.

In one class I am taking, the assignment was to paint a couple of cherries. I'm afraid my shadows are too dark, but it was a first try. I will redo them when I get the time. It's a good start -- not great but good. Must start somewhere.

In another class, the assignment was to have fun with the circles. And I did. To me, circles mean more than just circles and spheres. Sometimes they can be olives or eyes looking through a hole in a wall or through a hole in the door. The triangular white infiltration on the left side is light from the window shining on the paper. That's actual natural sunlight streaming onto the page and not, as I first believed, a fault in the camera from when I installed new batteries. Murphy's law -- or, if you prefer, Murpy's law. They are the same thing after all.

Yes, those are my granddaughters, Addison and Victoria in one of their modern poses. The sketch below is my attempt at blocking them in colored pencil, a beige, I believe. The positions are a little off, but what would you expect for a drawing that took about 15-20 minutes? Again, beginning somewhere. I really don't like the dark colors of the photos and would have preferred something with more light, like their Easter pictures from a couple years ago, but these are recent and they were what I could download off their Mom's Facebook site and are -- yes, you guessed it -- a beginning. My focus was on trying to get their faces right, even with Tori doing the fish mouth kissy thing. Kids!

As always, if you click on the pictures you might even get a better view of the drawing. It's not bad for a first sketch, especially when considering it has been a couple of decades since I picked up a pencil to draw anything, let alone portraits. It's rough, but it's down on paper.

The debris in the picture behind and around the sketch is my cluttered desk and art supplies. I need a studio, but this will work for a start. Again, have to start somewhere -- and I'm not even finished buying what I need to draw and paint with. Yes, you do actually paint with colored pencils. You can draw with them, but the finished product is painted in a sense, so drawing with colored pencils -- as opposed to using them on a coloring book, especially when you've drawn the images -- is painting. Colored pencil is just another painting medium. Ask any artist.

The final indulgence I will ask of you is a sketch in the truest sense with graphite pencil of my grandchildren, Sierra and Connor, my son's twins. The picture is before Easter the year Connor died modeling the clothes I sent them for Easter.

Connor is the handsome little fella on the right and Sierra is obviously the drugged-out looking Pebbles-looking beauty on the left. The colored sphere in the lower right corner beneath Connor is a sphere I was working on when I decided to take these pictures. I may share it at another time when I've finished the other spheres on the page for that particular assignment.

As you can see, a rough sketch -- very rough -- of the twins. I had decided I needed more practice sketching before proceeding to paint the portrait. It's the largest photo I have of the twins that is usable for a reference. I didn't do too badly, but some of the rust is still showing. It takes me longer to sketch something like this than it used to, but more practice will mend that little hiccup.

One thing I had forgotten over the years is how much I enjoyed sketching and painting and observing the world closely the way I once did. An artist notices all kinds of details, like Sierra's drugged out appearance and the redness of her nose and upper lip where it has been repeatedly wiped and the way Connor's jaw line is so much like my sons (including his father of course), but also his grandfather, my ex-husband, Dave. I drew Dave many times when we were married and Connor has the same rounded and somewhat fat jaw, as a child of 2 years old would have. Sierra also has baby fat and the same rounded jaw line.

I'm not happy with the eyes or Connor's nose, but that is what practice is for, smoothing out the flaws and becoming better at drawing. These likenesses are fair to middling and not too awful (no, compliments are not being fished for here) and that is a step in the right direction.

Click on the photos to get a closer view. 

That is all. Disperse.

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