|3-4-17 colored pencils, smooth Bristol|
This week’s colored pencil class assignment is a rocky shore with water. Suzanne instructed us to pay attention to the patterns on the water’s surface, the direction of the flow, the reflected light and the subtle color variations. To draw the currents, I had to make lots and lots of small marks with a variety of blue, green and gray pencils. It was tempting to color in some areas solidly to get the values right, but then I’d lose the sparkles of water evident on every single ripple, no matter how tiny. (I know I say it every week, so I’ll resist declaring that this was the hardest homework yet!) I don’t know if it’s done, but I had to stop sometime.
While I was away in Cannon Beach I missed the lesson about reflections on water, which I regret, but it was also nice to have a break mid-quarter. Each assignment takes many hours over several days of work – a lot more intense desk work than I am used to.
Although I knew from the get-go that the class would be focused on working from photos as a learning tool, and although I am certainly benefitting from the assignments, by the seventh week, I have to say I’m nonetheless frustrated. It was especially evident when I sat down to begin this week’s homework. Usually I have no problem simply hitting it, but this time I kept procrastinating by sharpening pencils, emptying the shavings, cleaning off my desktop, rearranging the desktop – basically doing everything except beginning! Trying to engage with photos taken by someone else is difficult at best. (It might be slightly better if I were to work from my own photos; I think we’ll be doing that at the end of the quarter.) The drawings feel like the exact opposite of the lively, spontaneous results I try so hard for (and love so much) in urban sketching. I know many artists work from photo sources as a matter of course, but it’s just not for me.