Tonight at life drawing was like everything else I've put my hand to for the last week. Trust me, all of these look better small and on the PC than they do in real life, but I'm going to post them all anyway. I've now had four sessions of painting where I've needed to paint over everything. Work has been two steps forward three steps back every day since Wednesday a week ago. I've been toying with the idea of NOT going into the office and NOT answering e-mail and phone calls because every hour I work seems to put me two hours further behind. I worked all weekend, Monday (when I was planning to be off, but the weather had other ideas) and then 15 hours yesterday.
Tonight in the life drawing studio everything seemed off. I couldn't draw feet. I couldn't get legs the right size. I couldn't get proportions to work. Everything felt like trying to do precision work with a blunt instrument, like I was trying to draw with a log. The model was a sweet young lady, and it was her first time to model - but she didn't inspire me at all. Partly it was her too smooth, too healthy, too perfect body, I think. I could not see bones. The lines and shadows were not interesting enough for me. But I also think she had paler skin than most of the models we've had so far, and that meant the light just bleached her out.
The paper I used for the three long poses (last three images here) seemed to fight me for every line or shadow. I couldn't figure out what to do with the white chalk. Her hair was more interesting than the rest of her, especially her part (or lack thereof) which I found fascinating.
And I have a new problem area - no longer the back or the upper torso, which I can still improve a great deal, but at least I'm beginning to "get" those. No, now it's breasts. Not the ones in profile - those have some reference, some way to know where to place them and where the shadows go. It's the breast in the middle of things - surrounded by background - that seems to have no point of reference. I know I need to look for the lines of muscle and skin that suspend the breast - but I swear the last week it just seems like they have no correct place in the middle of everything. I can't get them right. And I handle the shadows too heavily.
So I guess I will be looking carefully at breasts (what an odd thing to write) and at how other artists have handled them (an even odder thing to write).
So now I'm listening to Dropping Daylight's album Brace Yourself (title cut is great played too loud) and wishing I could get out of this ditch. I will probably switch to Van Halen shortly.
Oddly, where before this kind of doldrum would have made me drop the whole artistic thing and walk away, I just feel more determined than ever to push through and bang my head up against the wall. I daydream about drawing or painting. I itch to do it. I know the left brain is far too strong right now, possibly because of all the work, which has led to thousands and thousands of words of e-mail and documents and hours of phone calls (and some of you know how much I like to be on the phone) - and when the left brain is ascendant the shadow cast over the right brain is like a curse. But I just want to keep trying, to keep throwing the paint around. I'm getting more and more insistent, more intent.
I am also angry, though, at so many things. I am fearful of the economy and where that's going (I have firmly clamped down on any exposure to news - I get none none none - if I see or hear something newsy my eyes roll up, my head spins, and I throw up soup). I am disappointed with several projects I'm pushing. I'm frustrated with my loudmouthed left brain. I'm finding everything pretty tasteless and uninteresting. I'm bored and tired. I feel like I'm constantly putting on the brakes, holding back or going slow because people are IN MY WAY. I wish everyone would just get the f**k out of my way!!!
I just want to eat and sleep.
I'm plainly depressed. I've got all the usual signs. I will get over it - spring will help. Work will not stay like this for more than a few more weeks.
So I'm going to go look at some breasts, while that problem is on my mind. Renoir and Rubens would be a good place to start. They plainly understood and adored breasts and nipples, and they must have learned a thing or two about how to paint and shade them. Then I'm going to go eat a dozen sandwiches and go to bed for a week.