For three years, I feared drawing faces. Then an artist/friend pushed me out of my comfort zone to investigate lessons from a unique art instructor. Impressed by what I was told and saw, I decided to commit. I made the 16 hour drive to meet Maureen Killaby in Tyler, Texas.
The subject, Nokia, Native Song, is a photograph of a young boy taken with permission during a tribal ceremony of one of Canada's "First Nations".
Creating the background took nearly 5 hours. The instruction lasted 6 days. The investment of time and money was worth every minute and every penny.
I took some artistic liberties to maximize the apparent spiritual significance for this young man. I prefer to believe he was celebrating a "coming of age" event, so important to link his community to it's heritage.
Remembering this lesson, it occurs to me that I also came of age while creating this portrait under the direction of my patient instructor. She developed my confidence and extended my own artistic technique beyond the comfort and ease of drawing houses and landscapes.
Now, reflecting on that lesson via "social media" (a vehicle also outside my comfort zone), I'm attempting to extend my art and it's influence to a larger community with wishes for a Happy NEW Year.
Thank you, Maureen, for this lesson. Check her website: maureenkillaby.com.
-Scrape the point of a pencil across a sheet of paper and it leaves a line of graphite particles.
-Think about it, then make another line but in a different direction connecting with the first, and you have “shape” or the outline of an object.
-Rub the lines with a finger and the graphite particles slide into the grain of paper to give tone (shade).
-Add more lines, or vary the blending of graphite into the paper, and you get form.
In drawing, one cannot make light, only variations of shade and shadows. Light can be only be created by careful planning where to NOT make a mark. Beautiful art and meaningful life cannot exist without creating these vivid contrasts.
Sometimes I wonder how God planned this universe, to leave spots of light between the shadows. And then He added color!
Candlelight becomes a common expression in December, reflecting religious celebrations, providing a glow of welcome to family and friends, or lining windows and streets in a display of shimmering contrast against dark background.
Here is drawing that I had the pleasure to create and share, with wishes for blessings; peace, comfort and joy of the season upon you the viewer, and upon all those who surround you, whether near or far.
When I realized I could draw fairly accurate illustrations, everything became a subject. My first assignments in art class were to "draw what I see" from the drawings of other artists. But I quickly graduated to drawing from my own photographs, then from scenes found in newspapers and magazines and tv.
I sit in our living room and draw my own feet stretched out in front of me, or pose my hand in my lap. While attending a concert or church I reach for a pencil to sketch elements of the scene in the margin on the program (sorry, Pastor?). Indeed, every room I occupy seems to offer something to sketch, or remains in my mind as a future sketch.
Other artists tell me they have the same addiction. My addiction might be more acute due to fear of someday suddenly lose this capacity to draw, due to age-related degeneration of mind, or body. "Easy come, easy go" is not acceptable management option for this late-blooming gift. So, I call it "practice" rather than "addiction", and happily share the results with students and viewers. Adding 10 more drawings when posting this blog.
Mostly friends and family who knew my work history and hobbies wondered out-loud “where did this art-thing come from?”
One artist complimented me (I think) on my grasp of values. Having spent a career in social services, I presumed he was referring to my ethics or morals, until I Googled “values - art”.
Instructional books on drawing helped me understand how real artists describe the process of making art. Sara bought us memberships in an art museum, then another. We attended exhibitions at art galleries. I volunteered to teach drawing at a senior center in order to sharpen my response time when asked “how do I draw that?”. Practice and teaching resulted in needing to gather more pencils, pens, and paper specifically for art!
I drew neighbor's houses for fun, practice because they were simple .. boxes surrounded by bushes, but more. Within a year after first picking up a pencil and pen, I was honored to provide illustrations of Marietta's grand houses for the annual tour of historic homes.
Although still feeling awkward when talking about art - my art, it became less distressing ... with practice.