Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in the Day

I joined Wetcanvas forum in 2006, the same month I started this blog, and when I got more serious about my art. Before that I did some drawings of friends, their relatives, their pets, and friends of theirs. But they were more like line drawings.

After I joined Wetcanvas, I learned so much and found out how much improvement can be made by drawing every day and from life. It has been a wonderful experience.

I thought you might like to see some pre-2006 sketches from me. And these aren't the earliest of my drawing experience. I even have some of those tucked away out of sight. I doubt I have ever thrown many of them away.

In fact when I oil painted in the 80s, I couldn't draw. I had to trace a picture of what I wanted to paint onto the canvas. Even as a child, I would sit in front of the living room window and look out at the rain and try to draw> It seems like the drawing urge always came when it rained. But frustration with what I produced, had me putting my pad and pencil away until another urge hit me.

About 1994 I went to work in an office full time. I stayed there for 10 years. It was too hard to oil paint after that. It was too time consuming, we lived in a smaller house and there was no place to hang the paintings for them to dry (not water soluble back then), I had no where to leave everything out, and the clean up was just too time consuming.

So I turned to a pencil and paper which was always available in an office. I would draw on my breaks and lunch time. It started with me doing my animals and relatives. Soon I had others offer photos for my practice. I never charged. I didn't think they were worth money. I used them as practice.

One lady had 3 kids and I sketched their school photos every year. That helped me judge whether I was getting better or not. Then some of the ladies started asking for photo copies of some of my wild jungle animals to frame for their houses. I was pleased to provide them and I still gave them freely.

Then I wanted to do better and found information about using a grid. I ordered one and from that day my people started looking more like the people with less stress and effort on my part. I was stuck using a grid until I took a "From Life" lesson on Wetcanvas by Katherine Tyrrell. From that day forward, I have never used a grid again. Not that I have anything against them. I just didn't want to be confined by them. That class gave me the confidence to sketch from life, go out in public to sketch, and improve my drawing skills.

Eventually people started asking when I would start using color. I had no interest in it for quite some time. Then I wandered into the world of colored pencils. That opened up another love for me.

Now I find myself in the middle of watercolor painting. I had been wanting to paint again for about a year. I bought water soluble oil paints, acrylic, gouache, and watercolor. The smaller sets that weren't too expensive. Plus all the stuff like brushes, etc to each medium. And they all sat in a drawer for months and years.

Now I am doing watercolors. I am enjoying watercolors. I am really enjoying the fact that I can fill the space a lot faster than with cp. I am learning a lot day by day by not reading about it or taking classes but by doing it. Seems to be the best way for me. I don't like to follow the "proper" rules. I can't save my whites. It's probably because I started as an oil painter. So I have to find a different way to get my whites. I'm not unhappy about the way I paint watercolors. I kind of like doing things my way. It has always worked for me in life and at my age, I'm not likely to change now.

It's just like with graphite. I don't do perspective. At least the "proper" way. I just don't get it and refuse to make my love of art become a chore for me by doing it someone Else's way. It doesn't bother me if the perspective on my buildings are not just perfect. Lots of buildings sag and don't keep the perfect perspective. Phone lines don't stay snug tight. The water line is not straight. So there are few things I measure. Even with faces, I use my eye to get the pieces where they belong. I don't really measure except using my eye. It works for me.

Here are two sketches from an old sketchbook I found when cleaning out some cabinets. The one of the birds was done while sitting at my mom's kitchen table looking out at her bird feeder. You can't really say the birds are drawing from life as Hummingbirds don't pose. You just have to catch a glimpse of their outline and go from there.

On the people, you can see where I was trying to use lines to follow something I had read. Sure didn't help my sketches.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

A great post, Jeanne. Honest, thought provoking and helpful. Good for you sticking to your guns and doing what works for you no matter what the "experts" say! Besides, all the experts seem to differ in their opinion as to how to accomplish a particular thing anyway... so it all boils down to the artist's interpretation.