Drawing August Day 5

Mother and child.


Lately, babies and mothers were a lot subject of conversation. Mothers, aspiring mothers, women that wish to have children, women about to have their first, recent mothers … . That is why I decided to do a portrait of a friend of mine with her baby. However, this looks nothing like my friend, and the baby vaguely like her child. Mission not accomplished.

Today’s lesson I learned about myself
I noticed that I get very quickly bored when I need to draw something from a picture or a model of what ever kind. It rarely turns out right. Meaning, it might be an ok drawing but it will not look, or maybe just vaguely look, anything like the model it should look like. Today, I believe to have discovered that I start getting sloppy in my approach when I try to portrait something realistically. Why ever!? But, giving up is not an option.

Further artistic development
Well, for my further artistic development it certainly cannot hurt to train the eye to fingertip translation. With this exercise, which I dread, I might overcome this boredom I noticed today. It’s maybe just fear of failure, and ultimately, fear of success? Or it might just be a sign that my heart is not involved? A sign that I should focus my creative energies on another object, a different style, a different theme? In any case, I shall commit to getting to the bottom of this. I still have 26 days** to go! (**See post Drawing August 2013.)

Getting to the bottom of the problem
Thanks to today, I am aware that, together with developing more patience with myself, I need to internalise a subject/object before I can portray it realistically. I must connect. A few years back and for the first time, I uttered something in this direction but did not really understand the meaning of it.

The situation was the following:
A friend and myself were preparing for an exam in social sciences. We needed to learn the essence of the theories of many major sociologists. To avoid confusing sociologists with each other I searched portrait images of each of them. Then, we summarised each theory onto a separate piece of paper and attached the according image of the sociologist to it. It was such a fun, efficient, and very effective way to study.
As we paused my friend went to the bathroom. A bit exhausted but very enthusiastic about our speedy study session my eyes rested on the Norbert Elias picture. The next thing I found myself doing was sketching him with a few lines and without much effort. When my friend got back he was amazed. He could not believe how it was possible that in just a couple of minutes with just those few lines I was able to portrait Elias so accurately.
He begged me to repeat the ‘phenomena’ before his eyes. I did not want to and replied, that this was not a possible thing to repeat. He did not understand and wanted to know why. Not quite sure what I meant either I answered that in that previous moment I actually ‘saw’ Elias internally and that it was just a momentary thing.
But because he insisted I gave it another try. My friend selected a different sociologist. I observed and tried to repeat what I had already done before. But this time, and to the disappointment of my friend, I failed terribly.

Elias, I ‘saw’ – the other sociologist – I did not. Back then, I did not quite understand the difference either. I just knew it was like that. But today I think I do. To make a sketch accurate and alive one must ‘see’ with all available senses, process the visuals through the heart to the head and onto paper. Of course, the hand must also get more and more skilled with continuous repetition. The goal is to get connected by choice instead of randomly and to be able to translate visual impressions authentically onto paper. To reach that goal one must patiently try time and again and also dare to fail. Because failure is nothing but the forerunner of mind blowing success.


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