Sunday, August 26, 2007

Memory Lane

I know that the ability to observe and analyze well is an important quality for a variety of professions. My belief is that it’s largely undervalued. However, for some people it can become an obsession. I am in constant danger of becoming one of those individuals.

When I work from life I tend to become deeply interested in fully understanding my subject matter and what better way to prove that you understand it than to render it perfectly. Understanding how the eye perceives and nature works is important to me but it’s more important to make a picture that communicates what I want it to. Sometimes I forget this. This goes back to my early days when I was first learning to draw.

When I was very young I wanted to draw well. Right away I felt limited with my number two pencil. As hard as I pushed it to the paper, it only got so dark. To reflect nature I needed something to create darker areas. Even with the pale drawings I did people told me that I drew well and they readily recognized the faces in my little portraits. It wasn’t till I was in high school that I learned about softer leads. As an adult I continue to be shocked by the things I don’t know, especially when it involves art and art making. I’m vastly ignorant and forgetful. Worst of all, I sometimes forget how little I know.

Recently a friend gave me a bunch of my art he’d been storing for me in his attic. I kept meaning to pick it up and in the meantime 25 years went by. That illustrates the level of procrastination I’m prone to. I’d also forgotten what he had. It was a lot of stuff and it went back to work I’d done in high school. Above is one of those drawings.

If you look closely, you can see that I made a mistake in this exercise to copy a picture from National Geographic. The hands are different proportions. At the time I drew from the top of the page to the bottom completing each section as I went. If you see the original (15 X 24”), the drawing nearly touches the top and the bottom of the page. It never occurred to me to leave some space for a mat and frame. I made some very nice observations with this drawing in terms of values though.

This drawing was in the portfolio of my work that was entered in the Florida State Fair art competition. I won that competition and a scholarship to Syracuse University. That was something of a miracle and it changed the direction of my life. Very sad days ensued so it has been quite painful to go through all that old art. Three boxes of it had been sitting in the guest room for months till I worked up the courage to go through it in a thorough way.

PS: My blog has been stuck in limbo. Sorry for that. I hope to post some vacations pictures on Shutterbuggy Kidd soon though. There’s plenty of new art to post too.