For the last couple of days i've been painting leaves and flowers for the background of an oil painting i'm working on. It's been detailed work, and therefore these wee finicky brushes...like painting with an eyelash. But, it got the job done so all well and good.
I'll be doing much the same on another oil painting tomorrow, so I wanted a little change of pace...a wee palette cleanser, and the choice was to work with charcoal.
Now, the last time I used charcoal was about twenty years ago at an art class in the evening and apart from getting my good white jeans 'maukit' I quite enjoyed the process, and I always meant to invest in some charcoal for myself. Time passes though and my interests lay elsewhere in other media, but a couple of weeks ago I bought a wee charcoal set.
I opened up my A3 Pad and started drawing...
I had forgotten how to use charcoal...well, ok, it was making marks on the page...but not the marks I wanted to make. My wee dreams of classical sculpted statue drawings etc were blowing away in the charcoal dust.
I decided to watch a couple of videos on youtube to see how to use it again.
Trust me - if you want to know anything - go to youtube!
I tried again to make some marks on the page (1)...still very ropey.
Okay i'll try another sheet of paper (2)...maybe if i scribbled all over it in charcoal then i could add chalk to it, or rub out bits - it ended up looking like, at best a poor man's Rothko, at worst, a black cat sitting in a coal bunker, at midnight during a 'power cut'!
The next sheet of paper (3), well i drew a circle to try and shade it into a little ball...yup, i had gone from dreams of classical sculpture, to round little balls within three sheets! I added legs and a bum beside it...which looked like a melted action man doll...a big pec beside that, and i started working out what i was supposed to be doing...until i tried rubbing out...and it went wonky!
Righto - there's a barrier I needed to fight through. I was all for giving up, but the obstinate side of myself just wanted to keep trying. I WANT MY CLASSICAL STATUES!!!
It was then I thought of the renaissance and all the 'schools' and workshops that the great artists attended. What they had to do in the beginning was to draw from sculptures, to copy works painted by their 'Masters'.
So, I thought, If I want a nice big torso then have a look at some of Tom Of Finland's work. Two minutes later I had chosen an image and started drawing.
I'm glad I did, as i'm now getting used to using the materials again. The charcoal and the chalk - how hard to use them, how light to blend etc. I'm not going to finish this piece as it's just a copy of someone else's work, but i've done enough of it that it's given me confidence to go on and do a few of my own.
Here's the evolution of my 'trial and efforts' today -
So, today's lesson is to just keep going and try to break through any barriers! Give yourself the freedom to experiment, and not to judge your first efforts too harshly!
Hope yer having a creative day.
Whit's he up tae noo?
The blog posts of David Brodie, a Scottish artist based near Glasgow.