In one of the drawing lessons we were asked to draw something with a minimum of lines as fast as we could. While I was able to achieve acceptable results when I had plenty of time, sketching under time pressure turned out to be very difficult for me. The lines seemed very forced and the proportions turned out to be awful. When I voiced my frustration to Joe he recommended drawing with my left hand (I’m right handed). He said, I was too analytical about the whole process. Switching hands might help me to draw more intuitively. I did not really understand what this meant and of course I protested saying I could not draw with my left hand. I couldn’t even write a single word, how could I draw anything even remotely good. To my complete surprise it did work. Initially I felt a little helpless. I was not sure how to start the drawing. I had to rethink the direction my hand needed to go. After a couple of helpless attempts I decided to draw without thinking about the outcome, somewhat like being on autopilot (if that makes sense) – and that actually worked. The lines became more spirited, somewhat swinging. It’s hard to describe but it was a great experiment. I recommend you try it, it’s fascinating.
Here are some of the sketches I did with my left hand:
I had so much fun with the sketches of the dancer that I tried my hand at sketching in ink. The line drawing I did again with my left hand and then (with my right hand) went over the lines with a brush and water – here it is.
And here one more drawing – same technic and medium – ink washed with water.
Although I was happy about my first attempt at drawing I realized very quickly that I needed proper instruction. There’s a difference between copying what you see and really knowing what to do, why you do it, how to achieve a certain kind of effect etc. I wanted some lessons. One day in April I was strolling down a street in Edmonds and stopped at Cole Gallery. Looking around I came across a flyer advertising classes and workshops. One of them was “Experimenting with Drawing” with Joe Mac Kechnie. It was a very good class. I got a great overview over all the basics of drawing with pencil, charcoal and ink. Joe is a very knowledgable and patient teacher. We learned about light, shadows and values in drawings, negative space, line drawing and more. Here are three of my value/light studies.
One of my friends designs beautiful jewelry and creates fascinating oil paintings influenced by her Persian roots. One day, inspired by her passionate work I decided to try my hand at drawing.
We have a drawing in our living room that I’ve always liked. It shows a little boy bathing. So, I took it off the wall, sat down, placed it in front of me and started drawing what I saw. About an hour later I was finished – here it is:
(For the record: this is a drawing of another drawing that I own. I drew it myself but it’s not an original piece of art of mine. I did it for the purpose of studying.)
I was very pleased with the result. At the same time I was completely surprised. I have no idea where this came from. I did not know that I was able to draw. Anyway, the more important discovery was that I felt really good. I had enjoyed the process very much and I decided to keep studying.