Going to “class”

Today was my first day back at “work” after our stream of houseguests, and I went at it willingly. It was raining, so I excused myself from outings, rambles, and gardening, and set to having a productive day. We’d moved the patio table inside, so Erik and I shared breakfast in the kitchen and then worked for a bit there — this was surprisingly pleasant and conducive to working. I also Xacto-ed some more magazine cuttings for my upcoming decoupage projects (I’ll post about that next). In the afternoon, I had two hours of focused drawing practice, which has exhausted me for nearly all else today.

I have decided that instead of registering for art classes someplace, which will waste money in fees and time in driving, I’ll set aside a two- or three-hour block of time each week for concentrated drawing practice, and another such period for a writing “class”. I have plenty of books and exercises to keep myself busy, and these “classes” will help me structure my week. At the end of each week I’ll decide my “class” schedule for the next week, based on what I’ve already got planned for that week, and I’ll consider these classes as set in stone as real classes would be, so I can’t skip them.

Today, my “class” consisted of a perspective exercise from Drawing in Ten Steps, which I did (badly) and then repeated with more success by sketching planters on our deck:

I finished the two perspective drawings in an hour, and by that time I was already tired. I took a break, then returned with some portrait practice, drawing a bunch of unimpressive eyes and noses, then trying a full face:

I’m pleased with her appearance. I even made up a story about her as I drew: she’s a Hollywood actress who enjoys reasonable commercial success playing roles that are younger than she is.

I then attempted an Asian face, but fell into my old ways of drawing. Her eyes are too far apart and the face isn’t proportioned as neatly as the Caucasian actress’s. Still, the practice did make her more realistic-looking than my people normally are, and her face is recognizably Asian, even down to the nose, which is hard to do.

Each of these portraits took about 10-15 minutes, which is both disturbing and satisfying; it’s satisfying that I can turn out such a nice completed image in such a short time, but disturbing that so many of my drawings are finished so quickly, so I’ve yet to discover my potential as an artist if I really work at my drawings for longer periods. These long “classes” will be good practice for me.

After all this, I was so weary I couldn’t bear the thought of any more practice, so I just free-drew for half an hour, and that was fun. My comments on this one are on the Flickr page (click on image).

As I explained to Erik, this class was an exercise in wandering outside of the “grooves of my normal record” (yoga teacher Anthony explains that we’re like records, always letting the needle fall into the same old grooves). It was hard, and the needle quickly reverted back to its familiar groove, but that groove was made more interesting for the effort of escaping it.

Tomorrow is writing class.