One of my plans for fall was to take a drawing class, a six-week one offered by a local artist. I took one studio art class in college that focused on things like composition and color theory with a few exercises thrown in for good measure. I also took art history and black and white photography in college. That was the extent of my formal art education when I began dabbling in art journaling five years ago and trying to paint four years ago.
Mostly I've learned on my own through books, Web sites, and gallery visits. Most art classes/lessons are more than I can afford now, so I'm grateful that my city recreation center offers some very affordable options. I took an acrylic painting class there a few years ago, and I really liked the instructor, who encouraged us to relax and tap into what we already knew about light and color. She worked on building our confidence, not achieving perfection, and that was exactly what I needed--permission to TRY, to be a complete beginner, to learn by doing.
I really liked the freedom to render things with loose brush strokes and washes of color. It's very relaxing for me but it takes big blocks of time to complete a painting, and then if I don't sell it, I have to store it. My practical side doesn't like that, so I tend to focus on making cards or small mixed media pieces that can be completed relatively quickly, sold or stored easily, or given away without someone feeling they have to be polite and put it on their wall.
Drawing seemed like a way to build on what I already do, plus it has the benefit of being portable and inexpensive. What's not to like?
Hmmmm. I'm finding it very different from painting and more challenging for me because of the spatial concepts. I've had three class sessons so far--one on how to shade objects and draw a still life; one on faces and figures; and one on one-point and two-point perspective.
These classes are packed with information and sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode trying to process all the rules for proportion, perspective, and foreshortening, but just as my experiences with painting and photography taught me to see everything in terms of light and shadow, drawing is teaching me to see the lines in my surroundings. That's a gift--another way to see.
Last week's lesson on drawing faces was my favorite so far. I never draw faces; I was completely intimidated at the thought of it, but I had to do it for my homework last week and it was fun. These are on big sheets of paper and hard to scan, but here you go:
She's very pretty, but
...this is the woman I want to know, spend time with, meet for coffee, get advice from.
And that may be what I like about drawing faces, the sense that I'm creating a character with my pencil. So much more fulfilling than rendering a bowl of fruit.
This week's homework is to do some sketches of interiors/exteriors that depend on perspective and vanishing point. Not my strength, but I need to tackle the hard parts in order to get better.