As promised I wanted to blog my first Conté portraits for July as I work through the challenge of creating one for every day of the month (not necessarily one every day as the last three have gone in the bin!) As with any daily practice there are up’s and downs and whilst at the beginning of the month I felt very unsure of the material (not having worked in Conté for a long while) I soon found my feet and was very much enjoying drawing again. I love painting but I also love drawing and whilst of course it is all part of the same thing I can lose myself in line and creating different focal areas and marks in a way that does not always come naturally to me when painting.
Half the fun is in deciding how much you actually need to do for a piece to be finished. Sometimes it does not need to be very much at all and I can call a piece ‘done’, sometimes (particularly these last few days) I keep going until a drawing is so overworked I know I have gone far too far (and those end up in the bin – three have ended up there in the last couple of days – none shown here.) This seems to have been a result of my mood and emotions – but for me that is one of the great things about creativity – it is never a smooth ride – and why would I want it to be?
Every day I am reaching for something that is only a glimmer in the distance. I don’t tend to have expectations of my work in that I want it to look like this or that … only that I will feel something when I am going in the right direction. It is an elusive feeling – indescribable really. But all that I know is that every time I draw or paint, it feels like a journey of discovery – an excavation of something that I know is buried but I can’t see it or describe it until the dust starts to fall away. Sometimes it is a delightful find, sometimes a big disappointment – but the uncertainty keeps me coming back for more. Even the disappointments are a lesson learned and progress made.
It is exciting to me to see these drawings coming together as a grouping. Some I like much more than others – the ones that capture something unexpected – a certain emotion or an energy in the lines and marks.
Some of these are self portraits from life, some are created with me looking at a research image but then worked on from my imagination to find something unique and some are created from photos I took of myself from many different angles and pulling rather strange facial expressions. I need to get to a life-drawing class as I am really missing drawing from a life model other than myself so that is my plan.
So back to the easel I go – I have a bit of catching up to do!