“One looks, looks long, and the world comes in.”
– Joseph Campbell
It feels like the semester moved quickly – carefully but quickly. We only just started charcoal and now it’s over, I comment. We’ve worked on charcoal for at least 6 weeks, but we didn’t break in between assignments like we usually do, to discuss things.
Today we wrap up and talk about 2 separate value studies. One is cloth and pattern (and knots) using local value. The other is a still life using an artificial light source.
I wonder out loud what did they learn. What was the thing you each developed more and more with each assignment? Patience, someone says. Certainly patience. What else? A few other things come up and then I hear – Seeing. We learned to see. Yes! That’s it. You learned to look closely and you learned to see!
We move through the individual assignments and talk about careful observation and how that developed throughout the semester.
Susan, an advanced student, works independently. Her goal for the semester is to gain confidence with portraiture. She begins with a baby and make her way to a mature adult. She adds to the challenge by working in silverpoint. With research and trial, Susan completes six fine silver points. For variety she brings color into the final 2 images of the Dalai Lama. One of the qualities of silverpoint work is with time it oxidizes. The color seems to take on a life of its own as it changes rather drastically. Time will tell us more – it’s all about experiment in this case.
Here are her 6 portraits.
Conversation about charcoal: layering it, erasing it, the beauty of the knots, shadows and light, and the illusion of depth.
We talk about developing patience. Most importantly we talk about looking and seeing – and the value of careful observation. If you ask me there are always lessons in drawing about the world outside the studio.