Friday, February 8, 2008

Smudging

This is a charcoal drawing, from sometime last fall.
I use the round sticks of compressed charcoal, and like them best, as they have a great variety and subtlety, and can make a very light line when needed. And white, smoothish cheap paper from a big sketchpad, its a small upgrade from newsprint.
This is a shaded drawing, as most of my drawings are. Shading isn't really drawing, it's painting really, and for me the challenge is trying to define the planes and forms with shadow, and it's pleasing when you get close to even echoing a little bit of the great subtlety of form in a human body. Drawing without shading is a further refinement that is its own thing, and wonderful, but I rarely get there in a longer drawing, as I inevitably want to smear the lines. Its like a life challenge, something bigger than just drawing: how to get beyond the "sketch" and into the meat of art, or anything, and into work that is very serious and sure, with hours of attention, and avoid the feeling that one is building a house of cards, where in the final step, it all tumbles down. Plenty of work I've done feels that way, its not exactly a dying on the vine, but a deadness creeps in, though from what corner is not exactly clear. Plenty of artists refer to this, especially in trying to work in the studio on sketches done in the field, I don't know if it can be quantified. This drawing is about as far as I know how to go with finish at this point, and it is still plenty sketchy.

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