I bought some chalk today, and after some experimenting I decided to have a go at an exercise in one of the art books which I bought. That is to take a photograph and attempt to copy it upside down. This is the result, which frankly I am both amazed and thrilled at.
It is a sketch in Chalk, fixed with spray as it's in my moleskine book. I am absolutely astounded with this - I drew it! I tried to draw the wife a few days ago, and the results were less than convincing, don't go hunting on the site, the pictures are not even worthy of that. The book I got is wonderful, I'm a convert, the simple act of turning a photo upside down works!
The thinking is that if you draw a face, your brain gets in the way, it interprets what it sees, 'nose', 'ear' and so on - and one draws the symbols, not the patterns of light and dark. This exercise is a first step to disconnecting the symbolic part of the brain and demonstrating to the student that it's the powers of observation which are the biggest impediment to progress.
It makes a sort of sense, though it does not stop it being magic.
This is a quick sketch of my cat, Skimble. She did insist on not holding a pose, and halfway through decided that she'd had enough and hid under the sofa. I think it's recognisably a cat, which I suppose is some sort of progress. Whether it's recognisably my cat is a whole other enchilada.
Skimble and Poppy are sisters, we got them from the RSPCA at about aged four. Now Poppy, is quite forthright. She will come and stick her nose in, especially where there is food. She's the bully of the two and picks on Skimble. Poppy will sit on my lap in the evenings, she likes that.
Like most bullies, Poppy is also a bit of a coward. If anything unexpected happens (like, say, making a cup of tea or the doorbell ringing) you won't see her for dust.
Skimble is a bit more laid back, she tarts about for petting at times, but other than that she's calm. Subservient to Poppy, but chilled. She won't come and sit on your lap as readily, but she won't vanish either.
Skimble is the one that worked out that when it's time for the vet, staying put under the heavy object is a better place to be than running out into the next room where the door can be shut behind you and you can be captured at leisure.
Skimble is definitely the brains of the operation.
This is a sketch I did in the moleskine this morning using charcoal. It is not of anywhere in particular, I was just experimenting again. What I like: Some of the buildings, the industrial cranes, and the boats.
What I don't like: The attempt at the aeroplane. The smoke from a few buildings being overdone. The lack of differentiation between land and water (though this may not be a bad thing, it is something I wanted to happen, but couldn't see how to do). The hills on the left at the back and the far hills on the right.
Generally though, apart from the colour chart and tone chart, which I like a lot for some reason, this is my favourite to date. It's got a lot wrong with it - but I feel like there is some progress. For me, it just beats the mug.
When I went into the art shop yesterday, I came away with (among other things) a small stick of charcoal. The charcoal is quite firm to hold, not flakey as I imagined it might be, and so into the pencil tin it went.
I did an earlier sketch with charcoal (not on this site) and was too delicate. It ended up looking pencil-ish. I decided to start again, this time with a darker subject, I looked around me at the black LCD screen, black keyboard, black PC.... and settled on the mouse.
I started with a faint outline - I was making the same mistake again. I then decided to be bold. The charcoal went on dark. This was fun!
What's good about the end result? The dark tones, love it.
What could be better? The perspective is shot to hell in a handcart. I know, I'll call it cubist.
The other good buy yesterday? Fixative spray. A quick blast and the thing is touch safe. Miraculous stuff! Especially vital when the work it to have other pages rubbing up against it in a moleskine!