Drawing…’Issues’

copyright 2013 Mia laing

Bel
Oil on Canvas – 2013

I have a little confession to make…I think I have already confessed it, back when I discussed ‘plateaus’ a few weeks back (https://mymiasart.com/2013/06/25/conquering-the-mountains-analysing-the-plateaus/)  but drawing and I , well,  we don’t always get on.

I know, I know,  an artist that has ‘issues’ with drawing. C…C…crazy.

It happens…and often and I hear it’s not just me… Drawing is complicated by perfectionism and impatience, things our lifestyles and modern society unfortunately encourage.

Gone are the days when there was plenty of time left over in my day to practise the slow and intricate art of drawing.  I know I ‘should’ put the time aside but I don’t and I have plenty of excuses as to why I don’t…the dog ate my sketchbook and all that stuff sounds about right.

I also have a little love affair with my digital projector, which makes drawing quick, precise and uncomplicated.

Cheating?  Yes…and No.

I adore painting.  Mixing colour, the process of mark making with a paintbrush, capturing light and tone, rendering a flat white surface to appear (hopefully) a little more  3D like.  The projector gets me to that fun place a little more quickly and allows my perfectionist side to not get bogged down in getting the under drawing exact and never making it to the painting side of things.

But…drawing is still very much-needed.  With any stroke of paint, the drawing can be lost or confused. Two millimetres changed on a portrait can make a huge difference to capturing the true person.  The only way to keep checking for any changes is to understand drawing…drawing trains your eye to see discrepancies in lines, angles, negative spaces, plumb lines and shapes.

I spent the last month (just on a Wednesday, at art class, which is why it went so slow) working on the above painting.  No projector allowed.  Though it frustrated me to not whip out the drawing in 15 minutes and instead creating a drawing that took HOURS, it really reminded me how vital it is to be able to see and draw correctly. I had the eyes out of shape ever so slightly and it just looked so wrong!  I can tell you, moving a whole eye is not easy and not something you want to do.    Especially if in moving the eye, the nose then needs moving…then the mouth, etc, you get the picture! Luckily for me, it was just the eyes.

I think its finished…there may still be some little tweaks to make, but I’m happy considering its my first full portrait hand drawn in a long while er…ever.  (Previously I drew portraits using the grid method or tracing paper – all acceptable methods of rendering a drawing I might add!)

Because this month was about training myself to ‘see’ my drawing more correctly, I was able to go back to a painting I did a few months back and finally ‘see’ what was troubling me about it. Lets say I had an ‘AhHa’ moment when I reassessed the drawing.

copyright Mia Laing

‘The Reader’
Oil on canvas – 2013
24×30

I added a couple of millimetres to the forehead and fattened the ear…voila! The projector is a means to the end, but once that paint goes on, it’s not always correct!

Drawing does take time…it is frustrating…but it is very, very necessary.  I know it will get easier and quicker with more practise and commitment to making drawing a regular part of my art practise.

I’m not quite ready to give up my projector just yet…but I am totally inspired to make drawing work in conjunction with it.

I will say though, if you desperately want to make art…use projectors, grid systems, copy paper…whatever it takes to get you past your perfectionism.  I would NEVER have learnt to paint if I had to know exactly how to draw when I first started.  I would have just given up…start with what makes you buzz, then slowly but surely add to these skills.  Because I feel confident (Hmm…most of the time) with the paint process and am comfortable to ‘draw’ with paint, I’m ready to work on and improve my pencil drawing skills.

Go on…get drawing…or painting…or something!

Mia x

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2 thoughts on “Drawing…’Issues’

  1. “start with what makes you buzz, then slowly but surely add to these skills” –> definitely something I needed to hear for the longest time so thank you for that! We all have our strengths and weaknesses but only the pros (like you!) really get down and wrestle with the weaknesses in order to keep getting better. 🙂

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