Letting go

Continuing on in the Drawing Projects¬†(Maslen and Southern) book, I am forced to let go of my idea of a “good” drawing! The most recent exercises are to draw blindfolded with one hand while feeling the object with the other hand. I made several of these from the same object. (None pictured here.) That was followed up with doing a blind, tactile self-portrait! Here’s what I got:



I think I look rather horsey, don’t you?! Actually, the lower part is the bottom of my neck with my tendons reaching up toward my face. I began in the center with my mouth and chin, then up to my left eye, cheek, nose, right eye and ear (there on the far right) and ended at my throat. (My jaw bone stands out a bit just below my ear, too.) Quite a strange experience. It’s certainly something I’ve never done before.

After this drawing came the assignment to draw, eyes open, looking only at the object not the page, with the “wrong” hand:


I have made many blind contour line drawings, but not usually lifting the pencil and not with the wrong hand. The object I was drawing is unrecognizable, but I like the marks — especially the fuzzy yarn from which hangs the hand-made puppet.

Drawing practice

I recently picked up the book¬†Drawing Projects: an exploration of the language of drawing by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern from my local library. It’s got some great quotes in the beginning chapters, including:

We see our world through the kinds of questions we are able to ask about it, and by asking “more interesting questions,” we will discover more interesting ways of seeing it.

I did the first of the drawing exercises in it, which was to make several drawings using different lengths of pencil (pencils attached to sticks, for example). This first drawing was made using four different pencils and lengths, plus an eraser.

still_life_4timesBut I also decided to do one of the “alternative options” and draw with the pencil held between my toes. I used an HB charcoal pencil.



Challenging, but lovely. Of course, I’ve always been attracted to simpler drawings made with interesting lines.


In Limbo

The piece I just recently finished was started a week or so ago, when I was in the midst of school upheaval with my daughter. She did not want to return to the school she’d been attending for 8 years and everything was up in the air. I was quite torn over the whole thing. I’m not sure this piece particularly captures the emotional tension at the time, but that was the impetus behind it.

I was thinking of three layers: the middle layer being where I was most caught up– the turmoil. Outside that is the smoke– I suppose the expended energy from all the turmoil. Inside is a small, clear kernel of light and peace — the part of me that knew all would be well, no matter how the situation resolved. I guess there’s another layer, though: the part wrapped up around the small kernel. It is huddled around it for comfort in the midst of the pain.

School just started yesterday and all is happily resolved. On top of that, I am back to a nice big block of time to do some creative work each day.



An afterthought: this is one of the few larger pieces I’ve done recently. (18″ x 24″)