From Frustrated to Satisfied: A Drawing Experience

My wife, Nikki continued to encourage me to attempt free hand drawing.  I didn't know what to attempt.  Then came memories of Garry Synders poem: Hatchet, where he in turn attributes yet another:

"When making the handle of an axe

by cutting the wood with an axe

the model is indeed near at hand."

I then turned to a pattern that was near at hand.  By this time,  I had also discovered many YouTube videos.  I watched several on how to draw by freehand and layout the hand.  What you see here is my 10th attempt.

Figure 21: Free Hand, Graphite, 8.5 x 11

My instructor at (BAC) Brentwood Art Center Garry Paller, worked to help us develop our free hand in class.  "Don't trace," he'd often say.  During one Saturday class, he introduced us to the sepia crayon.  It's like a compressed charcoal stick, only sepia (brown) and a bit harder.  It was very difficult to control.  I picked a woman to draw and I got really, really frustrated.  Nothing was going according to plan.  I was so upset that I was about ready to leave half way through the class.  Then my daughter, Julia called.  We talked for awhile on the phone.  Afterwards, I decided to go back to class and try something different.  That's when I picked Sepia Man.  That's not the actual name of the master work, I have forgotten the real name.

It was still very difficult to put the color where I wanted it.  Everyone else was cranking out brown pictures and showing them around.  I was amazed with their work and very intimidated due to my lack of results.  I was very unhappy and unwilling to discuss anything I had attempted.

In the images below, look at the nose and mouth.  I put the nose and mouth on Sepia Man in three places only to erase it and try again.  Sepia Man wasn't working out.

Then look at the ear.  It was created with a bunch of hard lines and no finesse.  I felt lost and didn't trust the process.

Figures 22 and 23: The many mistakes in Sepia Man.

Near the end of the class, Garry took Sepia Man and held him about 15 feet away from me.  I was surprised and really...something.  I nearly cried.  I couldn't believe the beautiful young man I saw in the drawing.  In fact, I got tears in my eyes when I got home.  I told my wife, Nikki, the story of going from nearly quitting, so frustrated that nothing was going right, to such a satisfying result. 

That was a long, hard three-hour class.  I came home completely drained, but I am so glad with what came out of it.

Sepia Man turned out to be a sad, lost looking young man.  I love him!  I think he is my favorite piece of 2012.

Figure 24: Sepia Man, Sepia Crayon 19"x12"