When I work from a photograph (this one taken up the road off Smith Hollow Lane), I can take my time considering how best to translate into lines what’s going on in the image. The great thing about a Bic pen is that you can vary the values not only by the density of cross-hatched lines, but also in the pressure of the pen to paper. Some areas get a more defined treatment (ie. the horse) and some areas seem like glorified doodling (the woods behind the field of horses). But even in the doodled area, there is an attention to values and mark-making to suggest branches and foliage. When I draw “from life” (no photo, just direct observation), I don’t have a lot of time to think about these things…the action of drawing goes on autopilot and decisions are made on the fly so-to-speak, or quite subconsciously.
Here, in this quick sketch of my son (drawn while he facebooks:), I only had time to work with the strong shadows. There’s so much about “from life” drawing that I love, particularly the fact that one can’t get bogged down in recording ALL the details and values one sees. I’m constantly having to squint to shut out all the distracting detail. Doodling is at its peak in larger areas, such as the hair, and even in places where refining and redrawing are needed. Working quickly makes the marks more expressive, more doodled-looking.
*Here’s a peek into the swirling vortex of thoughts generated by my inner critic: Sometimes, I find myself comparing my art to that of others’…comparing my pages to theirs, my sketchbook journals to their’s. I wish I didn’t. A recent thread of thoughts from “the critic” sounds like this: Gosh, they have such wonderful words all around the page…cool lettering that weaves in and out of the painted image…words that describe the image, document the day, or dash off feelings and thoughts. How personal, unique, lovely. Why don’t I do that? I used to! etc. etc. etc. And for whatever reason, I allow these thoughts to make me feel like my art is somehow inferior. Do you have these critical thoughts too?
Well, I wrote these very thoughts into the wooded area of the horse drawing (can you see them?). Wrote them all down and then obliterated those words into the grand doodling of the forest behind the horses. Such fun it was to see the critic’s words subsumed by all those wonderful lines, even though lines had created each word. So what? if presently I’m enamored by clean crisp pages? So what? if I don’t want words on the same page as a drawing? So what? if I’d like to think that my drawings stand on their own? or speak for themselves? There will probably come a day when I feel the need to write on the pages of my drawings. I will, most likely, find myself wanting to do that…to record the date, the day’s events, the thoughts & feelings that accompany the sketch. Just not now.
And that’s OK!