Unlike Kim, who is always very efficient and organized, I somehow deleted the photo of my still life setup and so you will have to use your imagination. If you are reading this blog I know you have an extremely vivid imagination and will have no problem visualizing a plant water pitcher sitting on a wooden box. 🙂
Although it is highly unlikely the MET will stumble upon this art piece and decide to schedule me for an exhibit, I did really learn a lot by doing this and can now take what I learn and push it further in my next still life. I will say that sharing this type of practice work feels a bit like getting out of your cab in Times Square and realizing you are not wearing any clothes. In saying that, our goal is to not only share the pieces we think are finished pieces that look great but all our practice work and the in-between stuff we create along the way. Just because they are not beautiful drawings or paintings, does not mean they do not have value. When learning, each practice will get us one step closer to our goal of learning a new skill. Like most artists, I often struggle with the inner critic and have had to work hard to overcome this idea that everything we create is going to be technically perfect and look great. I have included a quote below by Ira Glass. This quote really resonates with me and I feel that it so perfectly captures what we are trying to share.
In saying that, if a beginning artist stumbles upon this page and it helps them to push forward and to get past the self-judgement we often feel, then it is well worth feeling a little exposed.
VINE Charcoal vs. Compressed Charcoal – There is a huge difference between vine charcoal and compressed charcoal. I had watched a few charcoal drawing videos but didn’t realize that it was VINE charcoal they were using and not compressed. Compressed charcoal does not blend as well and VINE charcoal is really easy to blend and even get rid of if you make a mistake.
A Big Ol’ Mess – Definitely plan on making a big mess. Charcoal gets everywhere. Put down drop clothes or work outside.
Paper Types – The type of paper does make a difference. Very smooth drawing paper does not really allow you to build up layers of charcoal very easily. Charcoal or pastel paper really works best as I found out in later pieces.
Charcoal Smudges – A LOT, and even with two layers of fixative, my attempt at scanning my drawings for you to see resulted in smears.
Charcoal is Very Forgiving – I just love how you can smudge away inaccuracies so easily. This really helps when you are a beginner and learning to ‘see’ things.
Wonky Does Not Mean Bad – Although this is not just in reference to this charcoal drawing but my ‘new perspective’ with all drawing and painting, while it is a good idea to strive for accuracy; if a drawing is inaccurate or wonky, this does not mean it is a bad drawing. Don’t give up just because you realize your perspective is way off, just keep going and find the gold in what you are working on. In fact, the inaccuracy is often what makes it more appealing. If you take a look through our Pinterest still life board, you will see a very wide variety of still life art. Many of the pieces are not accurate at all, and yet they are still beautiful pieces of art.