Thursday, December 28, 2006

The "Why" Of Things

Back to work, and no good time during the day to sketch. So at home, later, I thought about what to practice with. The cats were scooting about, and every time one saw me gaze their way they'd pop over for a treat. Mur? Aw heck, let's let him be. Draw a cup? An egg?

No, I wanted to sketch a person. The only thing at hand was an old magazine, but it had a photo of Bishop T. D. Jakes (all rights are reserved for/by Adam Buchanan and The Atlantic March 2006 issue.)

Murry'd ask "What?" more than a couple of times as I wrestled with this reference material -- and so I learned that I grunt, mutter to myself, and make other subvocalizations when I'm not quite sure where things are going.

Was it different drawing from a photographic source? Sure -- and contrary to many things I've read lately, for me it was more difficult.

But as I play with these études the "why" of things, not the "how," remains the most interesting core question.

The practice:

The reference source:


Pedro said...

I really ubderstand some reasons why one should not draw from photos. I also understand how photos can be an excellent tool for illustration. I am not a professional. I draw only because I am pleased with the process or with thw results of it.
The most pleasent drawings are made on (an agreable) site.
I don't remmember drawing something unknown or from a place I have never been, but shuld I not use some tools because "they are not correct" ?
Some drawings are made directly with pen on the paper what gives them a special quality, but is it incorrect to draw first on light erasable pencil?
I am not killing or beeing rude to anyone. I draw as I please, sometimes with tools such as photos.

I think your bishop is great, and I am sure it was a good and interesting exercise.

... this is a very long post.
I loved to read your recommended essay "On drawing from photos"

polona said...

i've been told to mutter to myself when i really focus on something, too :)
very interesting work!

Anonymous said...

I believe in more art and less work!!

lydia said...

I love this sketch Lori. I think the point is to just draw - from life, from photos, just draw. That's what my sister tells me and she's damned good.

Lori Witzel said...

Hi everyone! Glad to see I've stirred your creative thoughts, am grateful for your responses! Sorry for the long reply, but your comments lead me to deeper water...

Pedro: Your thoughts on the pleasure of drawing being the reason for drawing made me dig around for a relevant quote, and here's one -- Pierre Bonnard said, "Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly." I love your statement, "I draw as I please." I realized this week that sketching passing people was more pleasurable than sketching from a photo -- so I must need "real life." At least for now!

Polona: Thanks, this is all such a stretch for me -- and one I'm self-conscious about practicing in public -- I'm surprised all I do is mutter!

Rhea: Hehehehe! Ahh, if it was easy I'd have to learn to ride a rodeo bronc or attempt rock-climbing I'm sure...

Lydia: I agree -- the act, the doing, will create paths to meaning. Or the act is sufficient that it becomes meaning. Or at least I'm trusting it will (faith-based art, eh?) The "why" I spoke about -- have been thinking about the drive to do these sorts of activities, especially when facility is such that "flow states" don't often happen. And started reading The Undressed Art: Why We Draw, which lead to the post title this morning.

amber said...

very nice love seeing your skill

MB said...

especially when facility is such that "flow states" don't often happen
I can only speak for myself — that there is satisfaction in meeting a challenge, in facing down fear... that there is skill to be acquired through relentless practice... that skill and talent are two sides of a coin... that sometimes the *doing* opens the gates for the *flow*... that the flow will never happen if I'm not doing... etc.

Love your use of color.

neilornstein said...

there is nothing wrong about drawing from a photo if the drawing is not a slavish copy but somehow transcends it source. Degas did it all the time as did Gauguin. I love the energy of this one. You should do more in this style, Ms. Bloom.