hand and forearm mixed media drawing


I begin with graphite on drafting vellum. I’ve looked at the material for a good while now and wondered what to do with it. I’ve never worked with vellum.  I plan to sketch – to feel things out hand – then move on to a preferred sized sheet and begin a drawing. But as it goes – I take out color pencils, more graphite, various erasers, inks, acrylics and a rag. I draw the hand and arm skeleton as foundation, bring in muscles, add nerves, tendons and more. I work two days.


The materials make the work appears to come up off the page. I have an x-ray box in my studio, I sit the drawing on top of it, switch on the light – and watch it become something else.

In January I’ll conduct a workshop with 14 students at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The focus – anatomy. I think I just organized the lesson.

The drawing and the video are examples of organic process, as is the sound I create. Here is the video – all 2 minutes and 24 seconds of it.


Drawing is the discipline by which I constantly rediscover the world. I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, a sheer miracle.”     Frederick Franck – The Zen of Seeing


I bought a full size human skeleton last month. I am compelled to return to basics. I take the hand and lower arm bones off and bring them to my desk so I can really look at them. The finger bones are the phalanges, I’m sure I’ve mentioned that’s one of my favorite words. The long arm bones you see here are the ulna and radius. The hand also includes bones called metacarpals (palm of the hand) and carpals (wrist).

I’ve never used vellum so I  decide to work with it. I bring out graphite and color pencils. The vellum takes all my erasing. I like a smooth surface that takes a pencil mark well.


The bones – we feel them but they are hidden from our eyes – I consider this as I draw. I’m not complete with this study, I’ll continue another day.


I’ve focused on and painted complex anatomy for a few years now. I still get excited about coming back to and drawing simple foundation. I still love a pencil. And vellum – I’m not sure I can get a smoother surface than that – is a fine choice.

In January I’ll facilitate a workshop for art students. I’ve been asked to focus on human anatomy. Maybe this will lead to the lesson plan for that.