Maybe it’s the result of my overbooked life, but I suddenly found myself longing for the simplicity and discipline of the black and white drawing. Never mind that it turns out not to be simple after all (a fact I had almost forgotten). Pencil drawing also turns out to be sloooow! But drawing has acted like balm for my chapped soul.
It started a week ago Tuesday. I was running late and really preferred to stay in bed, but I had to show up for Tuesday Life Group because I am the one with the key. So I unearthed a drawing pad, grabbed my box of charcoals and pencils and charcoal pencils, and rushed to the studio. My drawing pad, looking back on it, was intended for pencil, not charcoal. I used the hard and medium charcoals that day, and the image, being mangled in the pad all this time, is greatly degraded, but I think you can tell it was a successful session:
You might wonder how I can treat a successful drawing so carelessly. The process of making a successful drawing is pleasurable, and I have the remains of the image to remind me how pleasurable. But nudes, especially not painted ones, don’t have any other purpose than to give me the pleasure of creating them. No one buys them. And I have so many stored away now that I can’t take the time to enjoy them as past projects. When this drawing pad is full, it goes under the bed with all the others.
Next was a Friday Life Group session with Dennis again as our model. I kept trying with the hard charcoal.
As you can see, I got enamored of the podium Dennis was sitting on, and the shadow he was casting on the wall. And his hands, but I had to do those separately:
Working on interlaced fingers is a little like working on a jigsaw puzzle. I did them a second time hoping that my understanding would have improved with practice. Not so much, I’m afraid.
The next day was Saturday Life Group. We had a new model, one that was obviously a yoga practitioner. SLG starts with five 1-minute poses, then one 5-minute, then one 10-minute, then one 20-minute. I sketched all but the 20-minute on sketch paper. Usually I throw them away afterward, but first made photographs for the blog:
In all of these drawings, I was facing the windows (our venue has changed–no more overhead skylight), so the model is backlit. After the ten-minute pose, I changed paper pads and started using the drawing (as opposed to sketching) paper. I still hung onto the charcoal. I first toned the sheet with a film of charcoal powder so as to enhance the play of the backlit around the edges of her body.
A good likeness, this one, except I dropped a few pounds off her tummy. Finally, I switched to charcoal pencil.
Graphite pencil got the nod for this one; by comparison to paint or charcoal, it takes a much longer time to build up the darker values. Nevertheless, I could not resist depicting the Halloween-themed drape behind her.
I needed a few more hours to work on the values.
Aline Lotter is currently exhibiting:
at the Hatfield Gallery and the East Colony Fine Art Gallery in Manchester (both are in Langer Place, 55 S. Commercial St., Manchester, NH); at the Bartlett Inn in Bartlett; at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway; at the law offices of Mesmer and Deleault at 41 Brook St in Manchester; at the Epsom Library in Epsom, NH; at the Manchester office of Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter; and at her studio by appointment.