The Bard is Barred

Preparing panels for oil painting gave me some time to leave the studio while they dried. The local park was offering a chance to see some large raptors (birds not dinosaurs!) up close. I came home with a renewed appreciation for their attributes and their design.
Owls are associated with wisdom so even this barred owl appears profound when he calls out, “Who cooks for you?” in the still of the night. Hardly equal to the Bard Shakespeare but  being this adorable you can also call out “Too cute to care!”
Just had to spend a couple of hours capturing the memory. (Charcoal pencil on sketch paper)

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Getting Messy and Making Mistakes

I love to do life drawing. It is the best way to learn about all that stuff that helps create something that resembles the subject in front of you. But, it’s hard–not just at the early stages but every time I am in front of a model. What keeps me at it is the reward of catching something of the beauty that is found in everyone.

That’s right. All ages, shapes and sizes. Light falls on a shape and you have form but the human form, the one we thing we know the best, is the most complex and elusive subject to capture well. Anne, the instructor of our weekly sessions, recommended a book by Douglas Graves. You can google him if you like…old, classic reprint of excellent charcoal work. ┬áRight now, I’m working through some of the exercises, in charcoal, because that’s where all good drawing and painting begins, in black and white.

It’s vine charcoal so it’s really messy and I love that too. Right now my fingers are black and my nails will soon be full. I can wear gloves but then it won’t smear as well. Nothing feels so good as getting messy and making mistakes. It’s been my motto for a long time now.

Some of the pics show the result of starting with black and either pulling lights out or adding them versus the opposite method of, yes, adding dark to a light surface. Really good exercise for learning to see form. Anyway, back to the drawing board. Anyone know a good soap for getting this stuff off your hands?

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