Summer Wrap Up

Herminia, Sketch 1

Lilibeth Andre, Herminia, Sketch 1

At this tail end of the summer, several of our studio members are out for summer vacation. Three of us ‘loyal to the cause’ came in to paint. I, staying on course, brought my sketch pads.

It was just Danny, our alternate studio  coordinator, the model and I at first. Claudia joined us later. Danny and Claudia typically work in oils although the sketching fever caught on a bit but folks reverted back to oils. I will continue with the sketching in this group through the end of the year and see what I will do after that.

Herminia, Sketch 3

Lilibeth Andre, Herminia, Sketch 3

What I do notice is that I am not used to the solvents anymore. It is more apparent having been gone for a couple of weeks. The fumes feel strong in the studio. I can usually sense who uses more solvent when they set up their work area. I put the fan behind me to blow in the opposite direction and spare me a headache and red eyes later. This is the one reason I don’t like painting with groups in closed quarters. With the water soluble oils, I don’t need solvents to move my paints.

Herminia, Sketch 2

Lilibeth Andre, Herminia, Sketch 2

Herminia, our model, is from France. She is an actress and a student. She will pose for two weeks. Knowing this, I was tempted to bring my paint box but stuck with the sketch pads (you’ll remember my new year’s resolution was to sketch more).

I started with the 18×24 inch sketch pad and did a 3/4 figure sketch in two sittings. Then I went to a 1/2 figure in two sittings and didn’t get to work the hands. I only had enough time for one more sitting and I chose to do a sketch of the face on the 11×14 inch pad.

All poses where from the same angle. This is not common for me but I thought it was good practice to start a new sketch from the same point of view. Of course, I chose to change the composition for variety.

I enjoyed ‘learning’ Herminia’s features with each exercise. I also played with the charcoal stick and somewhere along the way, I thought it would be nice to soften the sketch.

Feeling more fit than before, I packed up quickly and bid goodbye for the evening to my studio friends who continued on for another two or three sittings more.

A Tool For “Turning It Off”

Zoe 6

Lilibeth André, Zoe Sketch 6

The wonderful thing about drawing is that I am 100% there. As an excellent example of a good generalist, I handle a variety of things. My day, not so rare I am sure, reflects a tremendous variety of activities.

I start the day before dawn with a workout program to maintain the ‘machinery’ in the best form possible with something fitting of my schedule, energy and mood. Then comes the fashion consulting to pick the best, coolest and no-iron outfit. Then the fun but no-fuss trimmings, and off to the kitchen for a healthy smoothy I blend with available fruit, nuts and almond milk.

Zoe 4

Lilibeth André, Zoe Sketch 4

The morning may require anything from finance to public relations, business development, and project management. Next, a working lunch or a lunch break with ab work vs. coffee, meditation, and reading for intellectual development, perhaps in alternative medicine.

The afternoon could be full of writing content, editing copy and designing graphics, event planning or perhaps some accounting too. After a few phone calls and email responses, a low-meeting, and productive day at the office seems to be wrapping up.

Zoe 5

Lilibeth André, Zoe Sketch 5

Dinner is quick. The home office and the easel await after some brief but meaningful family moments.

The evening is also a time to catch up on the social aspects of life, art business and friendship.

Before I know it, the clock strikes 12 a.m. It is time to pull the plug and off to bed I go for some very short pre-sleep reading before calling it a night. Many times I think this reading is just the sleeping “pill” I need to settle my head before resting in Morpheus’ arms (This is figuratively, of course).

Zoe 3

Lilibeth Andre, Zoe Sketch 3

So when I sketch, I can put the thinking that sparks these activities on hold as I take a piece of charcoal in my hand and slide it across the paper to trace the features of the model before me.

The task becomes technical. I may bite my lip in concentrated fashion.  The mental formula translates through my arm to the lead before me. The measuring tool is now built into my eyes. I look at the paper and observe the sitter. I measure and tweak where necessary to represent what I see in the moment, from my focal point, capturing what I believe is the model that I see. And if successful, I will capture it on paper in a convincing manner.

  • August 2011
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