Category: New Work

Fear of Ruining It


I wrote in a previous post that Jean-Michel Basquiat didn’t seem to have any fear in his art making process. Maybe in part because he was constantly making things. I suppose if you were making new drawings and paintings every day, they wouldn’t feel as precious. I don’t work nearly that much, and when I start to make something that I like, leave it, and return to it, it occurs to me that I might just ruin it. Or it occurs to me that it’s very likely that I”ll ruin it.

I read in a book by Françoise Gilot that Picasso would start his paintings, then when they reached a turning point he would have his assistants make copies of them so that if he didn’t like what he did with them, he could go back and start over. That would be ideal, wouldn’t it. I guess you can do that if you work digitally. Or if you have assistants.

Here is a drawing I am currently working on. I started it working freely, the way I do when I’m doing journal drawings. My goal was to begin working that same way in larger formats. This is 23″ x 19″. I was trying to do some Basquiat things and took out my oil paints, which are at least twenty years old, but still seem okay. The tubes are a bit sticky. I got this far several weeks ago and then became paralyzed. Well actually I also got busy with other things, but I’ve had opportunities to work on it and have chosen safer things.

 

Here is is after further work:

 

And here it is finished:

I don’t believe I ruined it, but I would love to go back and do a few sections differently. Still, I think the making of it is the most important thing. I need to make more paintings and not expect them all to be works of art. As they say:)

Foxes

This fox arrived the other day and reminded me of how much I like foxes. They must be my favorite animal (after tigers). I have never met a fox, so this is all in my imagination. I did see a coyote trotting down my street the other night at 9:15 pm.

You might note the effort at shading. I still need practice. She appears to be hoeing something.

Here is another fox I drew a few years ago called “Booty Fox.”

Shading

What I really need to learn how to do is to shade my illustrations in a convincing way. That’s a large part of why I wanted to learn how to draw properly. Today I did two drawings of a felted bowl I have. They are not very good, but it got me motivated to keep working at it.

After the bowls I did a free journal drawing and then tried to shade it– at least the dog part of it.  I really want to be able to shade these invented characters. So much of what the drawing books teach you is to draw what you see, but I don’t actually see these things before I draw them. I think I need to learn how to imagine them more clearly in a three-dimensional way with light hitting them.

More Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

I’ve been stalled a bit with my drawing exercises for Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I’m supposed to be drawing the portrait of a real model, and I’ve started to sketch my daughter Carle twice now, but we always run out of time. Today I decided to move on to light and shadows, even though I need a lot more practice drawing portraits. This is actually the main reason I wanted to do this curriculum– to get to the light and shadows part. I want to move my drawings out of two dimensions into three.

I actually enjoyed making this drawing (copy) more than any exercise so far I think. Betty Edwards is always talking about getting lost in right brain mode and losing track of time, but I find the exercises feel very slow and difficult. Playing with shadows and light, however, I found that time really did pass by quickly.

The assignment was to copy a self-portrait by Gustave Courbet. I mistakenly copied a copy of the drawing that is also in the book. Here are the three drawings: the original, a copy by a drawing instructor, and my copy of the drawing instructor’s copy.

Self-Portrait by Gustave Courbet, 1897
Copy of Courbet Self-Portrait by drawing instructor Brian Bomeisler
My (mistaken) copy of Brian Bomeisler's drawing

Ha! I don’t know if Courbet would appreciate this progression. I’ve given him a pretty strange mouth. I did that part last and was running out of patience.

After I did the exercise I made a journal drawing to let off some steam. It’s a mountain goat on top of a mountain.