|Lorraine/RCAF Artist Residency, SF De Young Museum|
My work can be large, so the process of drawing is very physical. Large rolls of sturdy rag paper are laid out, fastened to a twelve foot wall, with rendering requiring that I navigate up and down my ladder. I begin with a general idea and let it unfold. It’s not that interesting to me to have a piece planned out too much because the process of letting it come forward, is much more intriguing. Also, this approach is more truthful.
Below, a seven foot high drawing evolves. At this point, general position/figure proportion is laid out. The detail image below shows the charcoal texture. Texture has always been interesting to me whether I'm working in charcoal, painting, or in various sculpture materials.
The color pallet begins to come forward in the following images. I try not to over think when drawing and once I begin, a rhythm takes over. Both hands directly working the large surface, I wear close fitting surgical gloves so that I don't wear my finger tips raw. I've done that in the past.
Here, I begin to negotiate what face will come forward as it moves away from the starting sketch.
I work for a while, then step down from the ladder moving back from the drawing to get a sense of where it's going and if it's working. Over the years I've found the need to wear a mask otherwise my lungs begin to struggle with charcoal/pastel dust.
The drawing begins to warm in pallet. At this juncture, I'm not sure whether to move in this direction, but then decide to follow that instinct. Also, it's at this point that I begin thinking about the identity of this woman. Her skin tone, expression, position of hands, and attire adjust to follow that realization.
This image does not show the entire length of the drawing, but gives you an idea of the finished work. More importantly it depicts her as a fully realized person. She is wise, powerful, present, and purposeful. During two days of working, she came forward. Once completed, I sat with her, got to know her, and thanked her for making me aware that she was just fine. Diving into the creative pool, without all the floating gear, can give the life we are living some clarity. I count on that.
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