Q: Why do you make a preliminary drawing before you begin a pastel painting?
A: I make a preliminary charcoal drawing because that’s how I like to begin thinking about and planning a new pastel painting. I always make preliminary drawings the same size as the upcoming pastel painting. While I draw, I make decisions about the overall composition, decide where the major light and dark shapes will be, and envision the likely problem areas that lie ahead. These drawings are done quickly. I spend perhaps an hour on them.
Once the drawing is in my head I no longer need it. So I put it away and when it’s time to begin a subsequent pastel painting, I erase it. I wipe it out with a paper towel and make the next preliminary charcoal drawing directly on top. These are ephemeral tools, existing only for as long as I need them.
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Pearls from artists* # 435
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Most artists are not as estranged from their fellow human beings, as bereft of reasons for existing, or as alienated from the common values and enthusiasms of the world as are the outsider characters created by existential writers like Kafka, Camus, and Sartre. But insofar as artists do regularly feel different from other people, a differentness experienced both as a sense of oddness and a sense of specialness, they identify with the outsider’s concerns and come to the interpersonal moment in guarded or distant fashion.
In part, artists are outsiders because of the personal mythology they possess. This mythology is a blend of beliefs about the importance of the individual, the responsibility of the artist as a maker of culture and a witness to the truth, and the ordained separateness of the artist. Artists often stand apart on principle, like Napoleonic figures perched on a hill overlooking the battle.
The artist may also find himself [sic] speechless in public. Around him people chat, but he has little to offer. Too much of what he knows and feels has gone directly into his art and too much has been revealed to him in solitude – infinitely more than he can share in casual conversation.
Eric Maisel, A Life in the Arts: Practical Guidance and Inspiration for Creative and Performing Artists
Comments are welcome!