Tuesday, June 11, 2013


When faced with a challenge, do you slink away and let your inner brat tell you, "You can't do this"?  Or do you consider the challenge and do the best you can, knowing you will do even better next time?

I do both, depending on my mood!  Maybe that's just human nature.

Anyway, I have always been fascinated and have always enjoyed seeing beautifully rendered portraits and figures.  Actually, anything drawn well makes me wish I could do it, too.  So what's keeping me from doing it?  Just a strong work ethic.  The ability to do it - and do it over and over again until it shows signs of improvement - the ability to learn and practice.  That's all!

Trying to do the portraits and figures on toned paper with the Strathmore Online Workshop showed me how much more I need to study and practice.  I believe I can do it - but not by NOT doing it and just wishing it would happen the next time I put pencil to paper.

(This drawing is from a photo by Li Newton, our friend on the Bahamian island of San Salvador, of one of the workers there at the Gerace Research Station.  She has uploaded many of her great photos for use on WetCanvas.  She also uploaded it for use on PaintMyPhoto.  Putting his head in a box (a trick from a Michael Britton/ArtAcademy.com free lesson) helped me get the features closer to "right" than they were before, I can tell you that.  However, this is just a beginning - a start.  And I see several things that need fixed right now.  I am going to continue to work on this one and see where it goes.)  Right now, it's just a sketch.  I want to bring it closer to a finished portrait but not photorealistic.  

For the remainder of June and July, I'm challenging myself to get better at drawing.  Drawing anything and everything, but studying and learning along the way, not just drawing on my own, perhaps causing particular faults to become ingrained.  That's why I'm doing the video lessons from ArtAcademy.com and learning from them.    Michael Britton (the artist who runs ArtAcademy and gives the lessons) says his Beginning Drawing course is a full semester of work.  Am I up to that challenge?  Can I go back to school and make myself do the lessons and exercises?  I hope so!

What do YOU want to do as an artist?  What do you REALLY want to do?
If, right now, you had the skill set and talent, would you be painting portraits in watercolor, pastel, oil or pastel?  Would you be creating animal portraits or landscapes?  Would you get out your paper and draw figures in charcoal or graphite?  What calls to you but is being ignored because

It's too late
It's too expensive.  
It's too time consuming.  

Think about what you really want to accomplish.  
Then go about getting it done, one step at a time.
(And, yes, this is a pep talk for myself as much as for you. :)

I have a beginning watercolor class today and again on Wednesday (someone who wants private lessons for a while before she joins the beginning class).  Fun fun fun!! But also planning.  With lots of paint and water on paper.  
But in my free time, I'm going to be drawing and studying drawing - will you join me?  


William Cook said...

Hi Rhonda--I like your proposal. One can never do too much drawing. You've nailed 'inner brat' always telling me how I can't do something. What is that that makes us sabotage our own creativity? Thanks for bringing focus to this. Great drawing. It remains fresh and engaging without being overworked. The fact that it's unfinished is adding appeal to it--for me anyway. All the best.

Christiane Kingsley said...

I can certainly use your pep talk, Rhonda. I too should practice my drawing a lot more. I will check out those online lessons. I am not ready to promise that I will be "joining" you in this commitment to drawing practice, but I will certainly follow your journey.

Lorraine Brown said...

Wise words for sure Rhonda, I am presently doing a focussed course on color and when that is done drawing is my next homework for sure

CrimsonLeaves said...

Wise words and oh so true for me. I'm the only one who keeps myself from doing, generally using the fatigue excuse.

Studio at the Farm said...

Rhonda, I thank you for your MOST inspirational post!!!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Bill. I like the unfinished look but need to be able to bring something to a good finish, even if I don't want that for every day drawing purposes.

Christiane, thanks. There is nothing sexy or exciting about drawing boxes, let me tell you!! I do think it will help my seeing, though...I hope!

Lorraine, a focussed course on color sounds great :)

Sherry, we are always the only ones keeping us from doing - no one else can do it unless they tie us up and put us in an empty room! ha ha Our inner brats have so much power over us!

Kathryn, glad you enjoyed it and got something out of it. I often am just talking to myself and trying to work things out - if it helps another, I'm really pleased!

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Great post, Rhonda. I was giggling with why when you want to accomplish a technique that it doesn't just happen. I know that routine very well. I too have challenged by self with more drawing. It's being squeezed in, but I find even 10 minutes here and there really helps. I look forward to seeing your results!

RH Carpenter said...

I do often get lazy bones, Pam and just want something to click and then I can draw and paint anything well - but it takes constant moving ahead, doesn't it?

Kevin Neal said...

Thanks for making us think. Good post.

RH Carpenter said...

Thank you, for stopping by and taking time to comment. I know you are one busy man!