"Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul." Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Back to the Drawing Board

Daryann / ebony graphite and white conte on grey paper / 24x18

After having a rather rough week of painting, I decided to leave the oils at home and take only drawing materials to the Wednesday portrait session. It might be that I am low on motivation. I have been painting up a storm recently but now I think that a break may be in order to refuel and refresh my creative energies. Perhaps returning to a medium that I have not tried in a while might be just the thing. To be honest, I did enjoy myself immensely and felt freer with the pencil than I have lately felt with my brushes. The model had a lovely tilt to her chin and her face was washed perfectly by the light. I am happy with the top drawing - it was the first time I tried out Strathmore gray toned paper and liked it very much. The paper has a nice tooth and it accepted white highlighting with Conte in a subtle and pleasing way.

I am less pleased with the second drawing, which was done after the model had been posing for over 2 hours - perhaps by then she did begin to look tired and not quite as happy with posing for us after all!
Daryann in Profile / 17 x 14 / graphite on white paper

This is one partially completed figure from a piece I began earlier this week and ended up wiping off - it is one of many canvases that ended up in the recycle pile. Oh well, as so truthfully stated one fine day by Picasso "“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun”.  And so, keeping those words in mind, I am off to my easel to try again!


  1. Belos trabalhos...Espectacular....

    1. Thank you kindly, Chana - I love the photos you took of the darling baby horse! They warmed my heart!

  2. Hi Susan.
    I would say both drawings are great. Lots of detail in them. Well done Susan.
    All the best.
    P.S. The painting of Diana, is brilliant.

    1. Hi, Vic - many thanks for your kind words. Perhaps changing mediums (graphite to paint) once in a while will help keep me fresh and energized. I am so glad you like the portrait.

  3. Hello Buddy!
    I love all three of the works you posted. Of course I love your ballerinas! Someday I would love to read your motivations for your wonderful ballerinas and equine works. They are all unique, so well done, and so very, very creative! So much more also!
    Love your two drawings. Very interested in your reasons for switching off oils! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself and your processes! I love both drawings. I love that you mentioned the light on the chin of the first! I love the way you rendered her chin! All of it of course is wonderful. I think the second one is also fantastic. I did noticed in the drawing the model didn't look excited about modeling that day! Interesting because I finished my first portrait last week and my wife noticed that in my rendering of the model he looked a bit brazen! Funny how the model's attitude can influence the process! Again, a great post Susan! I am thinking of you constantly while at my life portrait painting class! Take care buddy!

    1. Michael, I visited your site today to take a look at your life portraiture - what wonderful work! I am awed by your use of color! I absolutely think the models, their demeanor and secret thoughts are reflected in the artists rendition. That is one of the things that makes portraiture so fascinating and challenging! Thank you for thinking of me - as I thought of you today in open studio and do believe you helped influence my color choices! Thank you, my friend!

  4. Bonjour ma chère Susan,
    Le dessin te va aussi merveilleusement bien... Il est comme un nid où tu parviens à calmer ton ardeur. Il y a tant de mouvement dans tes huiles et c'est merveilleux !
    Je ne sais pas comment te dire ce que je ressens. Je dirais que tes dessins sont le fondement solide, présent qui ne consent aucune erreur... Avec tes pinceaux et ton huile tu viens ensuite animer telle une tornade ces dessins...
    C'est comme lorsqu'un bébé naît, on lui donne une tape pour qu'il crie... Toi tu donne une véritable vie à tes oeuvres.
    J'admire !
    Tes portraits sont splendides. Toutes mes félicitations ma chère amie.
    Un grand merci pour ton gentil message laissé sur mon blog.
    Tes compliments ont rendu Icarus encore plus fier ! Il est vrai que c'est un grand gaillard mais rempli d'amour.
    Gros bisous à toi.

    1. Martine! You say the nicest and most encouraging things! I am always energized after reading your words and truly appreciate hearing your thoughts. I, too, am surprised at the control in my graphite sketches as opposed to the looseness in my oil work - And you have described it so poetically - many, many thanks, my dear Martine. Please give Icarus a big hug for me - he is so gorgeous!

  5. Love the drawings, Susan!!! Somehow you have beautifully caught that slight change in her manner over the long session - the slight loss of lift to the eyelid and corners of the mouth.
    Here's to your turning blobs of yellow into brilliant sunshine this week!!!

    1. It was so interesting when I got home to compare the two drawings. Actually, when I think about it, it is encouraging because with only line and tone as our tools are we able to convey a certain look, feeling, emotion, state of mind. It's thrilling to attempt! Thanks so much for your delightful support, my friend!


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