Some images of my preparatory drawing for “Pale Purple Tulips” in Violet. I love working in monochrome, I am able to match the color values closely, which eases the transition working from drawing to paint. The finished painting is available to purchase from UGallery here.
Ask yourself: how many minutes do I spend looking at a subject when taking a photo (non-photographers)? Does this time depend on the shutter speed of the camera? Do you just snap and walk away? Do you snap, look, delete and try again...are you scanning only the surface?
Cameras stop action for a second and record it as a small moment in the long life of the chosen subject (running, jumping, water waves, etc.). Drawing living things from direct observation records the life of the subject over a longer time frame, capturing the life of the subject.
When an artist draws from direct observation, their eyes scan every single detail and centimeter of their chosen subject. Painting is a time consuming endeavor, and drawing is even more so. The artist devotes several hours to the drawing process and focuses on the subject for several days in order to achieve their desired result. Proportional mistakes are evident in a painting when the drawing hasn’t been resolved completely.
In my experience, I have come to these conclusions about drawing from life:
Imagine honing the skills of observation in everyday life. What would improve in our lives with a keen eye for detail and observation?
I believe there are so many benefits from drawing from life, both art and non-art related. My drawing students are warned prior to completing a drawing class: you will begin to notice things you haven’t noticed before, not just value or composition, but observation and improvement in other areas. Focus improves. Decision making improves. Observation improves. Carefulness and Intentionality improves. Creativity improves and informs problem solving.
If you are interested in learning the skill of drawing, my drawing class is offered entirely online, learn at your convenience! Contact me for more details.
I must be fascinated by challenges. I enjoy drawing from life, but creating artwork from living, organic things can be intimidating. When I chose the subject of flowers to grow my skills, all I really wanted was to have a new and beautiful subject to draw everyday, and to enhance my daily routine. Those that have the experience of drawing from life will assure you that the longest, most time consuming piece of the observational drawing and painting process, is the drawing. The drawing is the map for the painting, which helps with the interpretation of the subject during the painting process.
A quick glance at a bouquet of flowers is not threatening, but the first few days of my experiment, I started feeling the constraints of time. There is an intense pressure involved in trying to capture the likeness of something that is only alive for a week. Before my subject becomes lifeless, there are several things I must achieve: finish the drawing, grab enough details from the subject to accurately inform a painting, and finally complete a painting that conveys vibrancy. This is so challenging when not relying on a photograph for cues.
This drawing of Tulips shows days 6-7 of life. I was unable to draw the subject entirely alive, because on day 8, the stems fell heavy, and the petals gave way to the pull of gravity. I think the absence of the tulip blooms in the drawing adds a bit of mystery and narrates fully the constraints of time.