Wednesday, September 5, 2012

practice what you preach

my latest graphite portrait is finished.  i'm asked all the time how long these portraits take me, and the truth is i have no idea.  the truth is, when i work on these, my concentration is so intense that i lose all track of time.  my fall back answer is 20 hours.  i guess.  in the greatest drawing book ever written, drawing on the right side of the brain, betty edwards talks about the shifting of the brain from the left side to the right.  and i can absolutely vouch for that. that is absolutely what happens to me.

graphite on paper      16"x20"       2012

this kind of drawing is intense, tedious, and sometimes mentally exhausting.  and it is just one example of the kinds of drawing that i do.  i believe that the key to my success in drawing is the simple fact that i am always drawing.  and for every finished  large scale portrait like this one, there are sketch books filled with quick, gestural and experimental drawings.  in fact, here are just a few i did during the same time span of this portrait.

2 minute blind gesture (blind because i did not look at the paper i was drawing on.)  i think this may have also been an experiment with water soluble pencils.

2 minute blind gesture with watercolor pencils.  now, i was looking at the paper when i went over the pencil with a brush with water.  and the background was a test with some water soluble crayons.  fail!

5 minute, mostly blind gesture with watercolor paint.  i think i'll try drawing on top of this later.

and a hodge podge of experiments crammed in one.

the truth is, the drawing exercises that i teach my art students are actually the exercises that i do myself on a regular basis.  and my art students... they have all seen my sketch books too...the good, the bad, and the ugly. they know how long it has taken me to get to where i am.  they know how many hours goes into making what i make.  they know how many experiments work out, and how so many more of my experiments fail.  and they know how often i practice, because drawing is a skill that is constantly evolving...

i know i'll never be done.

this's to never settling and to practicing what you preach!



  1. These are great, Julia! I enjoyed looking at your drawings...all of them!! What fun!

  2. Beautiful drawing. I've never seen the child...but I'll just bet you captured him perfectly.

    And you're so right. What looks easy to others and may even seem easy to us sometimes...took many hours - days - weeks -even years of work to accomplish. Never settle. And practice what you preach.


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