School will start back next week for me. I’m excited yet a little concerned. The pressure to produce is extremely high but that’s part of the reason I went back. Years of painting, drawing and art studies have been the escape from the world I so desperately needed… I don’t need that anymore, the purpose has changed. Stepping out of my comfort and showing parts of myself in my art, let alone discussing the pieces, has opened different aspects of my personality. This I highly enjoy.
Today, I played with my sketchbook again, warming up my fingers a little I guess, drawing botanically. I’m not a huge fan of the flora and fauna but I find that the organic is where my pencil leads me when I lack a specific purpose. When I make an art piece I don’t really see with my eyes like I must do when I draw. The attention to detail is key when rendering a drawing. Diving into the major flooding of light sharpens the texture where the minor blur softens.
In the beginning this does not matter actually, it is the forms lying inside of the whole that possesses the foundation. Little circles, triangles, cones and rectangles, to mention jut a few, embody the many planes of an object. When people meet someone, though they might not realize it, they see in this way too. I’ll explain..
Sitting at a park bench (warm summer day and all that yummy stuff) a woman sits next to you. It’s a small bench but not too small that either of you feel uncomfortable. Eye contact is made only after you have glanced over her form. Is she big framed and needs additional space causing you to have to move over? Is she frail and slight, causing you to offer a hand with the copious amount of bags that she carries? May be you see that she has a stroller and surly there will soon be tired small children whining in your ear as you are composing your latest post for your blog? It is her form, the many shapes that create her, that you see first.
Once the basic shape is formed and I’m pleased with the over all composition of the spaces inside my subject as well as the spaces outside (yes, there are shapes outside.. think of a photo and remove the subject, you are left with shapes… Kinda like a puzzle.) I move on to building the grounding layer. This layer has very little contrast so it is an obscure layer that you will find in drawings or paintings if you look deeply enough.
In my analogy of the park setting, you the observer, will now make eye contact. This is a pivotal point, eyes communicate so much in a very minute amount of time that it’s hardly perceptible but if you pay attention (she is going to sit right next to you, time well invested if you ask me) you will learn a great deal. Look ‘Em in the Eye: Part 1 written by Brett and Kate McKay confirms,
That we give so much credence to the idea that we can read someone from what’s in their eyes is due to the fact that even when we hide what we’re really thinking and feeling in our body language and facial expressions, it’s often still revealed in our eyes. “The eyes don’t lie” as people say
Adding the middle layer is extremely time-consuming. Many hours can be spent applying hatch marks, a shading line in drawing or engraving as in several line marks on a page. Ok, not several there could be billions! The many pencils in the first photo at the top of this page were used. Taking time to stop and sharpen weighs on my patience when I need the sharpest of tips in order to achieve a light shade in a small space. It is now that my acute attention to detail pays off. Honing into what I’m doing but keeping the ultimate goal in the recesses of my mind. This is my personal therapy. Therapy is not always so pleasant as many of you may know. I risk damaging the sketch and having to start again so, I move from pencil to eraser, often pausing and then begin working again.
At the park bench she has relaxed her weary body next to you and you have a choice, you could leave the interactions as they stand, eye contact only, or you could engage her in a chat. The chatter that could develop can stay superficial or become rather intimate, you control how much or little your willing to provide. You can open your mind and just receive. Letting her words flow through your mind like the hum of a motor running, not offensive nor stimulating. The warmth of the sun may relax your natural aversion to share and you participate in the giving and taking. There is more risk in this so be careful, take time to listen and think before you speak.
The photo above shows you the last layer as I started, it is what most people really see. The contrasting shades move with life because it is the darkness that holds your attention. It lingers in your mind. As the light bounces off the soft curves and planes it is the black voids that draw you in and in-turn you find it pleasing.
Sun has begun to slip out of the sky. Not realizing the time until now, you rise and must leave the companionship of this strange woman you’ve just spent the afternoon with. Moments spent sharing memories, hopes and laugher cause a hesitation in your departure. She smiles and stands, gathering her load of bags. You offer to help but she politely refuses. As you turn to leave she beacons you by calling your name softly on the wind. This strange woman pulls a single Calla Lilly from amongst her things and places it in your hand. With a smile and twinkle in her eye you get to watch her walk away.