Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Cow Speaks Volumes

Learning to show values.

That's what we've been up to recently in my class with Roz Stendahl, Drawing Practice:  Drawing Live Subjects in Public.

Thank heavens we don't always have to draw live subjects or in public.  We get to practice on the stationary, and at home.  I mentioned in an earlier post how I practiced values on my plastic allosaurus.

I did these drawings practicing on my toy Holstein.  Values to show volume.

In this first scribble, with fineliner and gouache, you can see me struggling to even see what the heck I am trying to draw.

No kidding.  My brain wouldn't even see values very week, much less enable my hand to render them.

Whew!  This was very hard work for me.  Seriously, like match.  Made my brain tired.

But you can see me just starting to see shadows and shapes of shadows.  Just trying to figure out how to quickly get them down.  I tried first in pen (the black hatch lines).  Then I tried again with the paint.  Just experimenting.  Feeling my way.

No pressure.  That's the point of scribbling, of practice.  Figure it out.

Then I did it again. This time I limited myself to black and white and used a fatter, less fussy brush pen.  I also changed the cow's angle, just to give myself something new to look at.

Much better results this time!  After only ONE practice drawing before this, allowing myself to feel my way with that fineliner and paint brush, I understood more about what I could see, and how to get it on the page.

This is why if at first you don't succeed, one should try, try again.

Scribbling practice matters.

Scribbling practice is creative practice.

We don't do that enough, in this culture of instant gratification:  try, try again, I mean.  I see it in my students.  So many of them write the very first sonnet of their entire lives, can't master iambic pentameter, and ditch poetry as something "I can't do."   That makes me sad.  It's just scribbles, I tell them.  It doesn't even cost as much money as art supplies to scribble creative writing.  Try again!

It's a lost art, scribbling.

That's what the cow says!

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