I arrived at 10:30 in the morning, sat in Huber Court enjoying a cup of Earl Grey and a snack before heading upstairs to my favorite exhibit: 18th & 19th century European & American Art. Chrysler has a great collection of marble busts and figures, and I had decided ahead of time to work on The Wounded Indian, a marvelous life-size or near life-size marble sculpture by Peter Stephenson (American), completed in 1950.
By 11:30, I had chosen my viewpoint and set up my easel. I'm using gray toned paper (Canson Mi Tientes 12x16"), a B graphite pencil, a white pencil for highlights, and two erasers: my Tombow Mono Zero and my kneaded. I'm working standing up, but I've got one of the museum's stools so I can sit and think during my breaks. It took about ten minutes to block the figure in, holding the pencil very loosely and using my whole arm to make marks.
|Ten minutes in|
After half an hour I had my shapes a little more refined and some shadows lightly added to guide me.
|90 minutes in|
Throughout my session, I make it a habit to step away and examine my progress. This is different from just taking a step back; I make sure to stand at least 3-4 feet back. It lends a fresh perspective and keeps you from getting lost in whatever detail you might be currently working on. People have a tendency to overwork an area when they aren't in the habit of stepping back regularly, and they can accidentally get cornered into a bad bit of drawing that's harder to correct so far in.
The image below is two hours into my drawing. I've used my white pencil sparingly to remind me of the lightest areas on his body. I'm building up the shadows on his ribs and muscles, and darkened the contour of his back to make it stand out from the rest of the paper.
|Two hours in|
|2.5 hours in|
I plan to return and continue working this piece. It looks frame-able as it is, but I have my heart set on capturing the foreshortened foot and calf. There's also a beautifully draped arm and hand behind that leg that I want to draw.
Remember that drawing is all about observation. I work slowly because a good deal of the time I'm standing there simply studying the lines, light, and shadows. Have you been to the Chrysler Museum? What's your favorite painting or sculpture? I could spend the rest of my life drawing their whole collection of old sculptures!
|One more view of my drawing at the three hour mark beside the sculpture|