Back To The Drawing Board

I never did get to putting the pages of my box/book together. Not surprising, I know, but other pressing matters, such as my overgrown garden took precedence. I realize that it is just another obstacle I created for myself. All I can say is I’m working on it. Some of you may be saying, “Where’s Jessica?” I know, I haven’t gotten back to my full figure portrait. It isn’t really that I’m avoiding it, I just haven’t been sleeping well, and when I don’t sleep well I tend to screw things up. I also get frustrated more easily, and I really want the portrait to turn out well.

I worked so hard today that I have a couple of blisters on my right hand.That would be of course that I, who rarely stops to think and just jumps into the creative pool head first, always work without gloves. The garden looks beautiful, my fingers hurt, and I’m very tired. ┬áSo what seems to have become the norm happened again. I cooked dinner and then set off in search of a project. I thought about a small painting, my usual, a watercolor, but then when I looked at the shelf where I keep paper, actually it’s shelves, many shelves. I have over the years purchased a great deal of paper, and received quite a few pads of a paper as gifts. ┬áMany, many of them are regular inexpensive drawing paper, and following through on my promise to use up my supplies, I decided to practice my drawing skills. I had intended to do a few quick sketches, but that didn’t happen. I only did one drawing, as I was leaving the studio I noticed a new package of charcoal that was sitting on my table. (I am ashamed to admit that there are a lot of new, unopened art supplies, some that moved there with me ten years ago!) I decided to use the charcoal. It turns out that the charcoal is actually “black chalk lead”. What? Do I know how to use this stuff? No. Did I read anything before I tried to use it? Of course not. It’s me, the artist who flies by the seat of her pants. Let the frustration commence! It doesn’t erase! My drawing was going along very nicely until I got to the hand. Attempt number one was a mess, way out of proportion. I tried to erase and it didn’t work very well. I tried again with no success. I finally got smart and grabbed a regular pencil, sketched it in, and then ran it past my in-house critic, Dan. Satisfied that it would work out I went back and finished with the lead chalk. I’ll play with the lead chalk again, but I think I’ll save it for a little free form sketching. I am glad I got at least one finished piece from my efforts, and it is one I like. Not too bad.6 13  (7)


Long day yesterday. We spent the day doing our taxes which I can tell you doesn’t inspire much in the way of creativity. We didn’t finish until after six last night. I threw together a quick dinner, which for me means spaghetti carbonara, and then hoped to relax for the evening. As I ate dinner, I repeatedly told my husband that I needed to do something for this project. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I honestly feel so compelled to follow through on this that I couldn’t let it go. I looked around in my studio to see what I had at hand that would be quick. Feeling the “night before homework is due” pressure, figuring out what I could “hand in”. I didn’t want to do another watercolor, I didn’t want to do another small artist card just to get something done. I decided I was going to draw something. As an artist my biggest downfall is perspective. With never having had art lessons I don’t have many of the fundamental skills. Actually it contributes to another huge issue for me, the need for things to look like they are meant to look. As if I am a Kinkos copy machine. When I paint or draw I criticize myself horribly for it. I know, ridiculous right? I like other people’s work that isn’t “perfect”, so why do I expect that of myself? At this point I think I don’t have a chip on my shoulder but a rather large boulder. So after that long therapeutic rant, I will finish my story. I grabbed a couple of photos that were taped up in the studio, figuring I would draw one of them. I sat in my family room trying to draw but it just wasn’t coming. By this time it is after eight. I flipped through a few magazines, tried another drawing and again nothing. I told my husband that I was going to draw him. I have little to no experience in figure drawing so I thought I would at least try. The thing is when you want someone to model for you it is probably a good idea to tell them not to move. I didn’t, he did, and the drawing was finished before it got anywhere. Again I looked around for something, anything to fulfill my commitment. Behind me on a shelf was a photograph of my grandmother, Florence. I love faces, to look at, to study, and to draw. Florence became my project. I drew for roughly an hour, thought I was done, but then this morning I got up and looked at her, and decided she deserved better. Another hour or two this morning and I think she is done. I may revisit after my eyes uncross, but I’m happy with the results for now. Somehow I managed to reach both my deadlines yesterday, amazing! Art and taxes!Nana 1 (2)