From Sketching To Pencil Portraiture

For nearly a decade I put fountain pen to paper as a wanna-be sketcher.  I would post sketches here and profess to “just draw stuff.”  Mine was a simple approach to art to the point where I questioned whether it was art at all.  I just drew stuff.

Pandemic lockdowns got me reading a lot about art and I came to the realization that I did, in fact, “just draw stuff” and that there was a world of art that I did not know.  I decided I needed to do what everyone says and “get out of my comfort zone.”

I first tried gouache and I liked it, though I was frustrated by light hues drying darker and the dark hues drying lighter.  It was too much for my feeble mind, which was trying to figure out light and shade, values, etc.

So I started painting with oils.  I like those a lot and continue to pursue them, though I’m still very much a sketcher type and so I’m trying to figure out how to create a lightweight, portable oil painting set up.  I have learned a lot about color and values by this part of my journey.

I also realized during the pandemic that I had “skipped a step” by starting to draw with a fountain pen.  I never learned how to use a pencil.  So I’ve started drawing more often with pencil, trying to figure out how to shade properly with them.  This has helped me improve my pen and ink hatching as well.

My current adventure is the next step with pencil, I guess.  Pencil portraiture is slow work.  When you lack the skills it can be frustrating work too.  But it’s also VERY meditative because the work goes slowly, deliberately from vague contours and spots toward something that looks like something.

Here’s my something, a portrait of the head of this statue.  I talked about it and the museum website that allowed me to see it back in April.  I’m not sure I’ve got the patience to do this kind of art and I’m certain that I quit working on this portrait too soon.  Nevertheless, I feel I learned a lot in the process and will do another.

 

 

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