Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Giving A Hand
Whew boy! Was it raining hard again today! The little steam that borders my property overflowed it's banks for the third time in two weeks, flooding my fields. It has help in flooding, compliments of the dam the local beavers erected. Beavers aren't stupid, they know the town zoning codes. If they had built their little abode five feet closer to a bridge that spans the river, the State DOT would have to tear the dam down. So, the damn dam stays safe. Damnit!
Anyway, today was another "workshop" day. This week I have been taking a painting break and brushing up on my drawing skills. I do sketch frequently, often as preparatory stuff for paintings. Truth be told, though, a sketch is to a drawing what a text-message is to a formal letter. I felt my skills were in need of a tune-up. You know, drawing is a touchy subject amongst us painters. Truth is, we all think we're pretty good at it. Just like when we sing along to our favorite song with headphones on, we're great! But, I'll be the first to tell you, I can get better at drawing. I'm OK (I think) at line drawing-- you know, basically an outline of what I see, but I want to get better at incorporating mass into my drawings. You know, make 'em come off the page. Or recede into it. Whatever-- just be better.
Since this whole week has been cloudy and dark, it's been perfect to draw. I set a mirror near my easel, and shone a solitary light source to work with. Next, what to draw? I thought I'd mess with hands, because hands are hard. All those fingers, planes, angles... they can be a nightmare. (C'mon, 'fess up! You know you hide the hands when you paint figures!) Because I'm right handed, I posed my left in various configurations. (Side story: Mirrors and me aren't new. One time I was drawing a figure and using myself as the model when I needed to draw the left hand. To do that, I needed to pose my right hand in the mirror, except I needed it to draw. So I drew my left hand, then held the drawing up to the mirror, and drew that. Hey, whatever it takes, right?)
The challenge in drawing my hand wasn't entirely in keeping it still, (but now I know how models must feel), but I couldn't wear my glasses. I've reached the age where I wear dime-store cheaters to read. Since I can't see beyond two feet when I've got them on, I only use them for close work. That meant I either wouldn't be able to see my hand in the mirror with them, or the drawing on the the easel without them. So I went without. I think it came out OK. But you know what? I had a blast drawing this week! I even grabbed a coffee mug and went at it.
At least that time I could wear my cheaters! Tomorrow is supposed to be sunnier. My intent is to do some life studies in paint-- of my left hand, of course.
Unless someone wants to lend me a hand.