Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jeannie's Drawing Lab Blog Hop #1

Hi there, people. I apologize for the downer that was my last post, and I thank you sincerely for your kind thoughts and supportive comments. I actually don't know how to respond to your comments individually. I sometimes leave a comment at a blog then get an email that is in response to that from the blog owner, and I don't know how to do that. But know I appreciate it even though you may not get an individual note from me saying so.

I've been feeling better lately -- I think the sciatica is abating, so the nerve may in fact be healing, as the surgeon said it should. I was doubtful about this, but I'm down to no more than one painkiller a day, and none on some days, so that's a big improvement. I'm doing my little PT exercises and keeping my fingers crossed. That's my part of the bargain, I figure.

I've even returned to the jewelry table and made a couple of pieces, trying to get back in the groove of that. (The best thing about the jewelry making hiatus? Not having gunk under my fingernails all the time. At some point I noticed my nails were actually little white crescents for a change. So girly!) Later this week, the major league baseball season kicks in, and I'm a big Phillies fan, so that will mean a lot of jewelry making time as I "watch" games on TV. I'm looking forward to this concurrence of two of my favorite activities.

But I'm here today to share some of the drawings I've done in the Drawing Lab led by Jeannie of Jewelry by Jeannie and Jeannie's Blog as part of a little blog hop. I shared a few of my earliest drawings in this post, and now you'll get to see some more recent ones. The way the Drawing Lab works is that every Friday Jeannie sends out an assignment, we have until the Sunday a week later to do it, and then we post our work to a private Flickr group where we comment on each other's drawings. I used to draw all the time when I was younger and in fact won several art awards in high school, but I only lasted a year as an art major in college, and I was so burned out from that experience that I put away my supplies, threw away the key, and had barely drawn anything since. Recently I'd been wishing I were drawing again but found that just telling myself to pick up a pencil and get going wasn't working, so I signed right up when I found out about the Drawing Lab (via Erin Prais-Hintz's blog, I believe, so thanks, Erin). It's been fun and challenging and I recommend it to all, though you may need to wait until next year to sign up at this point.

For this blog hop, Jeannie suggested we show a progression or just a few of our favorites. I'm going to do a bit of both, showcasing my favorites in the order I did them, bearing in mind that I didn't complete a couple of labs because of my surgery (and one I basically forgot to do). Despite all the drawing I did in high school and my first year of college, Jeannie has managed to present some assignments that I never did before, and that's mostly what I'm sharing here.

Week 3. Blind contour drawing. The idea with here was not to look at the paper at all. Look only at the subject, letting your eye trail around the edges and having your pencil follow your eye without lifting it from the paper (since repositioning it would be impossible without looking). It's stupidly fun to do the drawing and then see what you did. Laughter often ensues. My classmates did some amazing self-portraits using this technique, but my pencil went off the paper while drawing my glasses, so my best result was the still life below.

Depiction of two terrariums (minus the plants, but showing the stones in one)
and an amaryllis bulb in a bowl (well, actually floating to the left of the bowl),
plus a sprig of pine keeping the amaryllis company.

Week 5. Negative space drawing. The two drawings below were done focusing on the space around the subject and filling in that space rather than outlining the subject (though I definitely did some outlining on the chair). Since doing this assignment, I will occasionally be woolgathering, staring off at something, when I come around a bit and prompt myself to consider that thing in terms of its negative space, which changes my perception some. So this was a valuable exercise for that alone, since anything that gives you a new perspective is useful, right?

A rocking chair in my living room. I liked how this image filled the page.

The faucet, soaps, dish drainer, and stuff on the windowsill in my kitchen.
I drew a little frame for this one before starting since it's a long counter,
and I needed some limits. 

Week 7. Nondominant hand drawing. For this assignment, we were to put the pencil in our nondominant hand and go to town. Jeannie said that these drawings would be more childlike and naive, but my left hand seemed to have a mind of its own and the pieces that emerged were a bit more sophisticated than I expected. I happened to be in Puerto Rico for my brother's wedding when I did these.

This is not actually what Troy looks like, but at least you can tell it's a person,
a man even, a bald one.
I'm not a big traveler, so Puerto Rico was the first place
I'd been that had palm trees, which I'm embarrassed to admit tickled me pink.
(Really, what's more touristy than pointing at a palm tree and squealing?)
I set out to draw one in the backyard of our rental with my left hand,
and I was pleasantly surprised with the result.
I think my left hand approached this in a different way than my right hand
would have, and I like this outcome better. Sorry, right hand.

Week 11. Continuous line drawing. The object here was to put your pencil down and draw your subject without lifting the pencil from the paper -- just one long line. We had done this previously with the blind contour drawing, but this time we at least got to look.

This is a pot rack that hangs above the sink in my kitchen. My home is very small,
and I've been trying to draw from life rather than from pictures when the assignment allows it,
so by the time we make it through 52 weeks of drawing labs, my whole house will probably be represented.

Some things I discovered through these exercises: (1) I really like drawing with my left hand and I'm not bad at it, much better than at writing with that hand, which seems strange to me. (2) Once I started doing contour drawing -- the single, unbroken line thing -- I found myself thinking about drawing a subject with a single line even when that wasn't the assignment. Sometimes I thought out drawing it with a single line with my left hand. (3) I don't care for Zentangles. I know they're all the rage, but that assignment rather annoyed me. I'm gonna try that again later, though I have a hunch it's just not my bag. (4) It helps to be told what to draw or how to draw, and it's getting me over the hump so that I'm more likely to just free draw than I have been in years. So thanks for that nudge, Jeannie. It's just what I needed.

Several of my Drawing Lab classmates have also blogs with some drawings up for you to see: Kokopelli Design, Marsha Neal Studio, Kim'z House, and Lutka and Co.


  1. Grace, good to see you back! So glad to hear that the sciatica is easing. The PT and the drawing both seem to be good therapy for you -- one's helping to heal your body, the other's nurturing your spirit. Your non-dominant hand drawing is light years beyond what I could do on my best day with my dominant hand. What a joy to rediscover your art on your own terms instead of a professor's....

  2. What a wonderful post, Grace! So detailed and informative! I love your comment about the palm trees. I did the same thing when I moved to Florida from Utah.

  3. Hi Grace,
    I realy like your non-dominant hand drawing of the bald man - it's great! I'm sorry to hear about your back problems - I hope you are feeling better. Thank you for visiting my blog. The frames are downloadable freebies, and I just did the gallery in photoshop elements. If you are interested in the frames, let me know. I can send you the link to the freebie sites. See you around on the Drawing Lab Flicker site!
    Linda(Lutka And Co.)

  4. Wow, that negative space drawing is very cool!

    And I understand how badly sciatica pain is -- it's just about impossible to get relief, isn't it?

  5. Hey, that rocking chair is great! Must have missed that on Flickr.

  6. You really have a sense of being artist. Explore more and make more!

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  7. really nice drawing . . .thanks a lot showing it to me. . .really much appreciated. . . .
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