lnteresting question don't you think? I was thinking about this all the time l was drawing this little kitten, because it just wasn't working for me. And l couldn't put my finger on it. Now l know that if you want to get complicated you can talk about color and composition and lighting and focal points etc, etc, etc. But l am not a complicated girl and l like things to be simple. All l knew was that every time l looked at this piece l felt unhappy with it.
l will let you into a little secret here. I do an hour of Pilates early most mornings and l always carry my current piece into the Pilates room to study it while l work out. I catch it from all different angles that way and see lots of things l hadn't noticed before. And l am that kind of girl....why do only one thing when you can use the time to do at least two! So l have been studying this piece and that question, what makes a picture good, kept going through my mind.
Well, the answer eventually dawned on me. It is like watching snow or rain. I don't know if you have ever tried to keep your eyes in one place while you are watching the snow fall, but however hard you try your eyes keep drifting to the ground with the snow. You can't help it. Look at this piece n progress and feel what your eyes do, then l will tell you what is wrong.
Have you been looking? Ok, l will explain. When a piece of art is working it is just like trying to watch snow, there is a focal point that you naturally look at, but you can't just keep looking at the focal point because even though you might want to keep looking your eyes take you round and round the whole piece, always coming back to the focal point, but not able to just stay there. Now look again at this piece in progress.
The eye movement is wrong. You keep switching from the eyes to the black hole, side to side, side to side. You can't help it. And that just doesn't feel right. The big black pupils are competing with the big black hole!
So there you have it, another one of my tips that you probably have to be me to understand! But l have learned something from this piece. I worked hard on it to try and stop that from happening. Here is the final piece. See what you think.
l still feel that the hole competes a bit, but it is improved by the paw drawing you out and around. So take your latest piece and set it down and look. If your eyes can't stay still in one place for more than a few seconds and are drawn round and round the piece it is working. If they stay still, or move from side to side or out off the paper something is not right. If you have any thoughts on this l would love to hear them. I am off to do Pilates and my latest piece will be going with me! I want to see what my eyes are doing!
Haaaaapppy Friday! The sun is shining, my coffee is strong, the birds are singing and l have finished my labour of love! Two weeks! Two weeks this piece has taken me! I knew when l began it, it would take a while, but l would not have thought so very long. It turns out that once you start breaking them into pieces gemstones get really complicated! It is a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle or a logic problem, some lines carry through, some don't, some bits reflect from other bits and making it all look consistent is pretty difficult.
The thing to remember l think is to just break it down into small sections. If l had tried to work this piece as a whole l would have given up very quickly. I worked on just three or four pieces at a time and that made it manageable. Again the biggest skill required is patience. To stay motivated right through to the very last piece is hard. The temptation to rush is great. But l do know by now that one tiny rushed part brings the quality of the whole piece down. You can't rush anything. Ever. That is lesson number one. Instant improvement is guaranteed to everyone who heeds that advice. It is hard advice to follow. It is for me anyway.
l actually used fewer colors than l normally do on this piece. I have done a step by step guide to drawing the stones which you can find on the tips page. I will put the link below. It starts out looking so scribbly and l thought it would never look like a gemstone at all, but with the layers it began to look more as l wanted. I don't think l have quite mastered it yet, so no doubt there will be more, when l can get my head in the right place to persist with another one! I have started a cat for the new week and will be adding a step by step to the fur which l will give you a sneak peek at in my next post.
In the meantime have a fantastic weekend. Make the most of the spring. Enjoy your art and remember.....don't rush!
Click to set custom HTML