Where does the time go?
I’m finding it harder to keep up with my drawing and keep my business together at the same time.
I’m torn between wanting to do a good job for my clients and also wanting to throw myself completely into drawing and painting.
I can’t do that while painting isn’t earning me a living, and I have the mortgage and bills to pay, so I’ll just have to find a way to make it work in the meantime. Clients pay me to work on their web sites and expect good a service, and rightly so, so that has to be my priority.
Over the weekend I did three more hand drawings, which is pretty good I guess, and made an attempt to do some drawings of Michelle. I left the drawings of Michelle a bit late though I think, It was a busy weekend and I didn’t start them until ten o’clock Sunday night, by which time I think I was probably too tired to do a good job of them.
I had a long talk with Michelle over the weekend about portraiture, what works and what doesn’t. This conversation was partly inspired by coming across the beautiful work of US-based portrait painter Linda Tracey Brandon. We came to the conclusion that producing a good likeness is not just about good drawing. For the portrait to work, it needs to capture something characteristic about the sitter, perhaps the way they habitually sit, or the way they hold their head.
Its been interesting that during my self portrait a day series, some of the drawings I was most pleased with looked less like me than some of the ones I was less happy with, at least according to people that know me. I think it’s probably because when I sit down to draw myself, I’m not in what my friends would recognise as a characteristic pose. Some of the drawings which I don’t think are as good, other people think are better. I think its because they recognise something more characteristic about the drawing, regardless of the quality.
I’m coming to the realisation that there are going to be two stages to me learning to paint portraits: Stage one – learn to draw and paint again. Stage two – learn to catch something characteristic about the sitter.
I’m also going to need to be much faster and more accurate, in order to catch that characteristic something. I was reading about Rembrandt recently, (I think it was Rembrandt,) and apparently, when he used to teach his pupils, he would have the model in one room and his students in another. What the students had to do was go into the room where the model was, memorise the part they were drawing, then go back to their work in the other room and try to get it down as they remembered it. Wow. Hard.
So yesterday evening I tried to do something similar with Michelle.
She was practicing at her piano, so moving about quite a bit, and I was trying to take a snapshot in my minds eye and transfer it to the paper.
As you can see the results were less than successful.
Usually this sheet would have ended up in the bin, but not today.
I’ve decided to keep failed drawings like this and to post at least some of them, to remind myself of what I was going for and what went wrong.
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