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April 19, 2006

When you do art, it's important to have two things.

First, you must know what you're good at doing. Some are good at painting, but bad at sketching. Others draw like gods, but can't mix paints for anything. If you're like me, you can draw anything except human faces.

Yesterday, I tried drawing people from pictures. I did two, both women. One was a woman in what appeared to be a publicity shot. Her brown hair with bright blonde streaks draped down her back and over her shoulders, and her face addressed the camera like she was looking through it to you. When I did my chiaroscuro, the hair and clothes couldn't have been much better. The face, however, was a different story. Her eyes were enormous, her mouth too thick for its small width, and the nose . . . well, I can't do a nose to save my life.

The other was Georgia O'Keefe. It was an outdoor shot, the sun casting shadows along her face, especially from her nose. I made the drawing. It was much better than the other, and I felt happy about what I'd done. I ended the drawing and put the photo away, then stepped out for five minutes. When I came back, I didn't look at the photo, just the drawing of Georgia O'Keefe . . . which, I'm sorry to say, looked ominously like Adolf Hitler.

Very few people will ever see that drawing.

In fact, I may even destroy it.

The second thing is tons and tons of practice. Many professions require a mandatory training period before being granted the professional title, such as 1,000 hours logged for an airplane pilot, but in the arts it's different. You're ready when someone who's made it looks at your work and says you're ready. This can take a hundred hours, or it could take ten thousand hours. It's different for everyone.

I'll be talking about practice in my next blog.

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