Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nik and Nora's Recent Playlist

As part of my practice for Roz Stendahl's Drawing Practice: Drawing Live Subjects in Public class (highly recommended!), I have been working on capturing aspects of my two Dutch Shepherd dogs, Nik and Nora.

Note:  you don't have to draw everything live, or in public, for this class. But there are commitments.  These drawings were done with live subjects, but at home.

It's interesting to collect a few here from across the first two weeks of class.

First gesture drawing.  Fast capturing of basic shapes and movement and relationships.


In early February, I completed these with a Tachikawa G Nib fountain pen, one of my favorite fine line pens, in my Hobonichi planner--one of my favorite little books to carry around and scribble in.  (You can get the pen and planner at Jen Pens.)  In these sketches, the dogs are sleeping, so not very mobile.  You can see me working on the basic shapes, the spine lines, the relationships of the parts ot each other.

About two weeks later, on Valentine's Day, I did another page of gestures of the two dogs in fast motion as they wrestled with each other. 

I completed these drawings with a brush pen (not sure which one, but probably a Pentel Color Brush pen) on Strathmore 500 mixed media paper.  Here you can see my much stronger focus on the spine line as the focus or "grounding" of their entire forms.  I'm much looser, less concerned with accurate contour, or outline, and more interesting in the twisting and energy of each dog as they combined into one form. 

It might look like a bigger mess, but for me, this is enormous progress.  So many artists, myself included, want to draw "looser," which for me means less fussy.  Or, I guess to put it in a better way, when people (including myself) look at it, I want the drawing to be less accurate (I can use photographs for accuracy) and more a container for the experience as I felt it, conveying it to the viewer in some way so that he or she can feel it too.

This is exactly how I approach my creative writing--and how I focus my students on it.  Creative writing is about creating an experience for your reader, and surprising yourself with your observations as you write.  

I think maybe the same thing applies to creative sketching.  Scribbling.  I may need to define my definition of scribbling one of these days...

Anyhow, after capturing gestures of the wrestlers, I was able to practice a bit of capturing volume because Nikolaas took a nap in the sun.

Light and shade were harsh as I studied him, and in the bottom sketch, I lost his dark chocolate coloring in the shadow.  But I captured the basics pretty well in the top two drawings.

And I am quite entranced with the lines around his feet at the top.

These sketches feel to me like the closest I've come to capturing a sense of the dogs and how they are in their lives.

I look forward to much much more practice!

What a wonderful thing it is to look forward to practicing something!  I never looked forward to practicing piano as a kid.  This is so very different.

I have a friend whose passion is her yoga practice.  And she means that, the "practice" part.

I think maybe most of us don't have enough practice in our lives.  It's the practice that allows for experimentation, discovery, fun and meaning.

Practice.  That's what scribbling is.

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