Do you wish you could “loosen up”? I’m talking about in your artwork, but there may be application for your life here too. Would you like to get more abstract or less stiff with your drawing or painting? One way I would suggest is to try limiting the amount of time you take to do your work.
If you’ve never done a timed study, then I suggest you give it a try. Set up a timer and begin with some warm up drawings- Start with 2 minutes and use newsprint paper or other throw away type paper, and a medium like charcoal or soft graphite. A water soluble pen and a little brush with water can also work well and is less messy. These materials allow you to put down some serious value quickly and also to quickly soften or put it light values. Use the side of the charcoal, or smudge with your fingers to quickly lay in the big shapes. Use the tip of your charcoal to find edges or details after you lay in the big shapes. If using a pen, find the contours first and then lay in the shadows with a wet brush.
|“She’s Got Game”
Charcoal and Ink on Paper $400 Framed
Use magazine photos, or real life. To find people who are not moving around too much, think about taking your materials to a book store or to the beach. People tend to stay in one place once they get settled in those locations.
I love the figure and make it my business to draw and paint people whenever I can. This particular piece was executed with the clock ticking and a limited period of time to get it done. I have found that the energy injected into the process of doing timed studies really helps to impart a dynamic quality to my drawings and paintings. Not all of them are great, but this one turned out well.
If you don’t have time to do a fine piece of work, then why expect it? Right?!
” That looks terrible.”
” A 5 year-old could do better.”
“What are you doing wasting your time?”
“You are not talented.”
“What makes you think you could ever be artistic when you’ve never been good at this, EVER”.
I have an old dog who currently wears diapers because she listens to the bad voices in her head more than the positive ones (of course this assumes she is listening, AND since she can’t hear AT ALL this is probably unlikely…but that’s for a whole different discussion).
Some of us battle these voices in our head, or the Committee of Negativity more than others. Some of us even give voice to this inner negativity and take the time to say negative things about ourselves and our work out loud and possibly often. I do not recommend this. Words have power, and expressing that negativity is not helpful…to you or to others who may be trying to do their best along with you.
In my experience, all of us do our best on any given day. That may be better or more effective on some days than others. I have bad days, everyone does. However, I have also found that no matter what, there is always something to enjoy about whatever results from someone’s best effort. THAT IS WHAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON- CELEBRATING WHAT IS GOOD. What’s not so good can also be useful as something to change the next time.
“You yourself deserve the same loving-kindness which you extend to others”
If drawing people, I usually avoid drawing the head first. If I do, I usually give my figure a bowling ball head that ends up being too large. Heads are much smaller than we think they are.
Try this idea:
Begin your drawing by finding the line of the shoulders. Next find the line of the hips. You’ll note that those two lines are usually opposite one another as in the paintings below. If you drew a line from shoulder to shoulder, it would be in direct opposition to the line from hip to hip.
Later, if you want to paint the drawings, you can think about giving yourself an equally limited time frame. I happen to love the understated quality of these kinds of figures.