It’s been a while since I worked from life instead of photographs. It’s hard to find people willing to sit and hold perfectly still. My kids did the best they could; I did the best I could. But still, though there is more imprecision involved in drawing a moving target, there is a freshness in drawing from life that I need re-injected into my work from time to time.
The original is not for sale, but prints of this piece can be purchased here.
Babywearing International of Chicagoland raffled off a portrait as part of their International Babywearing Week fundraiser…and this adorable baby’s mom was the winner. This piece is 8×10, charcoal on paper.
This is 8×10, charcoal on paper.
After a really disappointing drawing of Baby A, I decided to try again. He’s a little older, so it’s getting easier to get more natural pictures. Now that I look at it on the monitor, the right hand is a little funky. But otherwise, I’ll call this a success.
Please pardon the shadows on the mat. The little patch of sun in my living room wasn’t quite 11×14.
I’m not completely sure how I feel about this one. Baby A had a weird expression to start with, so I’m not sure if this was such a great picture to work with. I’m also thinking there is just something funny about a baby sitting up..since he can’t. I’ve noticed that in general with the kids, anything posed looks, well, posed. So lesson learned. Work from pictures that capture them doing what they do naturally.
Or no pictures at all. I wish they would hold still for more than thirty seconds at at time. This less than successful drawing really makes me miss the models in figure drawing class.
The very astute feedback I got from the first two sample portraits (here and here) for the custom portrait being auctioned off was that they were to serious. A parent bidding on a portrait might want to see that I could create something more joyful, something that captures the delight and exuberance that children have. So I tried something:
Again, so much harder to draw my own child. Those cheeks-I wanted them chubbier, more baby and less little girl. But she’s joyful in a different way as a little girl than she was as a baby, and I’m glad someone pushed me to capture that.
Another sample for the auction. Definitely harder than the last one. But I think I was able to let go and see her as she is…at least after erasing everything several times.
I’m donating a custom piece to a charity auction in October, and the deadline has forced me to step up the drawing so I have enough samples for the event. I did this drawing of a friend’s daughter, and wow, it is so much easier to draw other people’s children. One of my favorite professors in college repeated again and again that I need to draw what I see, not what I know. So drawing a child I don’t know as well, I’m better able to see her as she is, right in front of me.
I am thinking there might be a more general lesson in all of this, this letting go of preconceived notions.