A Longer Time To See Better

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch LA5997, Conté on paper

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch LA5997, Conté on paper, 18 x 24.

Because I enjoy working with natural light, with more daylight, I get revved to do more in the evenings so I am more excited about getting creative longer.

This week’s favorite sketches were done for longer poses. This worked out great because it gave me the opportunity to detail the sketch more than I usually do. I had more time to look at anatomy, scale and shadows.

My typical challenge is to work on seeing fast and communicating what I see through the hand and on to the paper, canvas or whatever support I am using. With a typical 20-minute pose I have to learn to look quickly and thoroughly but at the same time, interpret the visual and communicate this information as succinctly as possible to the manipulation of the medium in order to produce an image that, in my case, represents the figure I am looking at.

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch LA6001, Conté on paper

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch LA6001, Conté on paper, 24 x 18.

Mastery of the tools is extremely helpful because knowing the capabilities of the work tools heightens performance time. It removes dilley-dalley time tinkering with the tools instead of sketching, which is what I’m supposed to be doing. It removes operational distractions. It allows me to perform more like a well oiled machine, like a prima ballerina, and that is a good feeling.

So if I know what I’m doing, what I’m doing it with, and how to do it (more on this in a future posting), then having more time to just sketch a single pose is quite an enjoyable experience. In this case, I look at things I don’t get to focus on as much in shorter sessions. I have more time to look at the model and notice greater detail that I include in my sketch. I have a longer time to see better.

As If…Getting Exactly What I Want

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch 5978, Conté on paper

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch 5978, Conté on paper

When not getting exactly what I want, I work as if…

Sometimes, it seems that I am wearing blinders and I keep running into a wall. This can be in any aspect of my life.

If I get it between my head that I’m going to make it happen, that I’m going to make it work, I can spin my wheels into the mud and not get any traction. I can be stubborn and really grind it in but time or maybe I may not be ready to get there. I may be pushing for something before its time.

What I realize sometimes, when I let my experience guide me, is that if I follow my painting training then all can work out.

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch 5979, Conté on paper

Lilibeth Andre, Sketch 5979, Conté on paper

Sometimes when I’m at the easel, I’ll reach a point when things are just not falling into place. I can try, and try, and try and they just don’t happen. I can keep digging in and not go anywhere for quite some time. The place I am trying to reach is not yet quite ready for me, and perhaps I am not quite ready to get there myself.

These are the times when I need to take a break.  Sometimes I won’t realize I need that space to allow growth to happen so it can be a while before I put the brush down but when I do, I allow the rivers of light to flow in and an enlightened moment begins to brew.

I take a break with the thought that it is all in progress and preparing for my arrival.

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

I’ll work on my garden, I’ll do a little writing, I may even do a household chore (though not my favorite I must say). I’ll do something that engages the mind in a different way. It helps to exercise my brain in ways that turn the current track off and start up a new brain wave.

It’s as if I step from one escalator to another, and another, and another midway to reach a point I have yet not been. Like a chess game. In order to take the King, I need to engage the pawns, rooks, and bishops in a dance yet unchoreographed, to get to mate.

Keeping in mind that I know I will get there, to the point I wish to be, allows me to understand that it may not be in my hand right then, but I will do what I need to do to get what I want, and work as if…

Many times, I eventually get there, the point where “where” is.

A Moment of Alignment



I listen to old New Orleans Jazz Fest favorites as I select my favorite sketches from last week to share with you. Marcia Ball, Beausoleil, and Irma Thomas sing in the background while I enjoy the music and decide on these three pieces.

The sketches are charcoal on paper and they are short poses. I was pleased with the set of drawings for the evening and when I got to the one I didn’t like, I knew it was time to call it a night.

Lilibeth Andre, LA5947-022812, Charcoal on paper

Lilibeth Andre, LA5947-022812, Charcoal on paper

I am one of those artists that ‘work till I drop’ and sometimes, the enthusiasm and concentration are so great that I lose track of time. So when I work alone, I tend to go non-stop until I don’t like what I see in front of me. That’s when I look at the time and realize it’s time to stop. Working with a group is a good way to pace yourself, take a break, look at your work and come back fresh within shorter intervals. When I work alone, I like to go with the energy of the creative moment. I push and stay on track letting the work flow. I am only a vehicle. I don’t mind coming back and making major changes in the next session. Sometimes I even wipe the canvas clean and start anew. With sketches, it just takes a flip of the paper and I’m on to a new drawing. It’s all part of the exercise anyway. Each new piece brings me just a little bit closer to where I want to be. At times, the process moves in a round-about kind-of-way. I may not know it at the time but when I see it, I know.

Lilibeth Andre, LA5946-022812, Charcoal on paper

Lilibeth Andre, LA5946-022812, Charcoal on paper

As work progresses, sometimes, as with the zydeco, blues and jazz I hear, I have my favorites. The stick or the brush just seam to flow and what comes out is authentic and natural. There is no complication. It all just falls into place. This was the case with the sketch I did of the reclining figure. That was my favorite for the evening but the rest were all necessary to reach that moment and for that reason, I continued after I completed the reclining pose, in search of the next moment of alignment.

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.