Conventional Wisdom would have it that no artist should be wasting her time watching TV. TV can be a terrible time-waster for anybody, not just for artists. Not watching TV has become, however, an article of faith for those artists who are into preaching to other artists. Most of the articles of faith are true enough, and it’s good to be reminded from time to time to find your own style, treat your collectors well, and always be working on improving your art. But I can’t give up TV (or the movies that I use a TV set to view). I just don’t understand those people who complain there is nothing worth watching on TV. (For those people, not watching TV is no sacrifice on the altar of Art anyway, so they have no business preaching to people like me who enjoy the dramas and documentaries available on television.) I enjoy a whole host of programs, mostly dramas and documentaries. I even get into some of the “reality” shows -for example, “Too Cute” on Animal Planet is not to be missed! I also believe an artist should not cloister herself from what is going on the the Real World but has a duty to keep informed on current events. The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert are “must” viewing for me.
As much as I disagree with those sermons about demon TV, I do feel guilt over my addiction, and I confess as often as possible, hoping to purge the guilt. One, maybe even two, earlier blogs make the same confession, and I still have not repented.
Thanks to my DVR, however, I have found a better method to assuage my guilt. I keep a sketchpad, pencils and eraser nearby. It adds about an hour to my viewing time, but on a good night I will have two well-developed drawings at the end. I wait until something on the screen catches my artist’s eye, pause the program, work on my drawing as long as necessary, and then resume the program or go to bed, depending on the hour. (Obviously, I watch TV alone. Couldn’t do this otherwise.) None of these drawings will end up in a museum, but it’s great practice that I would not be getting if I were reading a book. (Books are apparently approved time-wasters, regardless of the subject matter.)
Here are 52 images, some containing more than one drawing, dating from about mid March to last night. I hope they demonstrate progressively better drawing. I have numbered them in roughly chronological order, and intend this slide show to set them before your eyes in that same order, but who knows?
I think –I hope–you might notice that I am getting more nuance into facial muscles, and am developing the drawings to a finer conclusion. I am also getting more stubborn about the likeness, not giving up until it looks right.
Now when I sit down to watch TV, I am looking forward more to the drawing activity than to the TV watching non activity. I notice a dearth of children’s faces, so I will be concentrating on them in the future. And more animals. Love animals, but it’s hard to demonstrate rigorous likenesses with animals, so not so much of a challenge. I hope you responded to the eyes of the lion, though.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery in Manchester; at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Epsom Public Library in Epsom; at the Bedford Public Library, in Bedford; and at her studio by appointment.