Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When Things Don't Go As Planned

As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to spend the day at the museum working a solid 4 hours on the Wounded Indian. I draw relatively slowly so it'll take me another trip or two before I finish. On my first trip I established the composition and proportions, and more or less finished his torso. Friday, I focused on getting his head and hair done. This is how far I got:




So, overall I'm happy with my progress. I can firmly say that these days the good drawing sessions outweigh the bad. Hair is often complicated and I personally think it's more difficult to copy a marble statue's hair than a living, breathing person's because there's no room for interpretation. I definitely worked slowly so as not to give myself a headache.

But as I mentioned in my post's title, things didn't go exactly as planned. As with most art museums, the lighting isn't that bright in order to protect the work. I hadn't worked on that drawing in months so I'd forgotten just how dim the lighting on my easel was. What I don't like about it is that I ended up adding too many white highlights to his ponytail. I remember thinking as I worked, "You're adding too much white!" in that sing-song way we sometimes remind ourselves about things. But the dim lighting over my paper made me think I was still okay and I kept working on the white. It's not a horrible mistake, and it's still a drawing worth finishing, but I wanted to share this because it's the kind of thing that helps students understand the process of decision making regardless of your level of experience. I may try to lift some of that white out with a kneaded eraser but I doubt it'll do much. I applied those highlights with a lot of pressure. I can't rub it with any other kind of eraser because that'll only result in smearing the graphite together with the white, which could ruin the whole thing.

So next time I need to remember to bring a clip-on light. I can't depend on just the museum's lighting. I'm also looking for a new easel. I love my French easel, but it's a bit unwieldy and it has such a large footprint I'm terrified someone - possibly even my clumsy self - will trip over one of the legs. That's all I need, to be a part of one of those horrible viral videos where someone unwittingly destroys a work of art!