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The Illuminated Inkwell

Charcoal: 10 minute sketch

This 10 minute timed challenge – a self portrait sketch in charcoal – was an exercise as much about self-acceptance of my appearance as it was about embracing the use of a  medium which I usually avoid at all costs.

I have a tendency to avoid things which I find difficulty in accepting;  namely looking in mirrors or practising skills in which I am sorely lacking.  In my minds eye I still look 20 years old and I can still draw as well as I used to when I regularly attended art tutorials at school despite the fact I do not draw anywhere near as regularly as I used to, or should!  25 years on and now studying for a Visual Communications degree I’m gradually learning to ‘get over myself’ (as my Mother would suggest) and face up to the fact I’m a middle-aged woman complete with a slightly lined and podgy face (and hair curlers) and, far more importantly, the knowledge that I need to re-learn and practise long-forgotten skills.

It’s a learning curve which has a very steep gradient at this point in time but something which is possibly not quite so daunting as I’d first imagined – I may just need a bit of assistance of a good quality face cream and some online art tutorials!Charcoal Portrait.jpg

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Pointillism: An exercise in patience

I’ve followed the very brilliant fellow blogger CarveandDraw for some time now and, inspired by this artists superb creations, felt inspired to try my hand at Pointillism.  For someone who doesn’t have an abundance of patience this exercise was an immense challenge in a number of ways.  I found an image of the model Lara Stone which I found particularly striking in its simplicity and decided I’d copy this on A4, after all, surely filling a sheet of A4 with a few dots was not going to be that difficult, right?  Boy, was I wrong!  Firstly I had to get over my fear of not drawing in a solid line, instead mapping the composition in dots in order to get a vague outline.  Challenge number two, how on earth to create realistic three-dimensional qualities, light, shadow, form and density with only the spacing between dots to differentiate and determine these attributes.  Challenge number three – and the biggest for me – how to learn to ‘carry forward’ a piece of artwork over a number of days.  As much as I love to create something, I have a self-imposed timeline of completion in either a morning or afternoon and hate to leave a piece from one day to the next – perhaps because of a low boredom threshold!  I found the whole process strangely meditative though and, although the piece has many fundamental ‘issues’ (the biggest being that I don’t think this looks like Lara Stone but instead a rather odd version of Madonna doing a vampire impression) and, the fact that I got rather bored filling the background, instead copping-out a bit with a random pattern – I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed or chilled-out in a very long period of time!

Pointillism portrait.jpg

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