Portrait Study
posted: March 13, 2007
Those are sunglasses, not a tie. That's where the whole thing went awry....
Most often my sketchbook is a great escape where I draw pretty freely, asking nothing of the outcome. Don't get me wrong, I always try to make things look good and even try to compose a whole page unifying various notations into one composition. But overall, it's pretty free and easy. When I launched into this little study, I thought it was going great! As I completed it, I felt, "Wow! I think this might be the best sketch I've ever done". . . So what did I do? . . . I tried to make it better. No longer was the man even in front of me and I began picking at it, adjusting things, here and there, until I destroyed it. MUTHA F@#$%! I wouldn't let it go. As I traveled around, I kept returning to it, in hopes of reviving it. I found myself walking down B-Way, drawing, picking; stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to apply a gradual gradation. It got absolutely ridiculous! For two days, my focus was this damn thing! Well here it is . . . not bad, but you should have seen it two days ago.
Nancy Stahl March 13, 2007
You're too hard on yourself, Peter. I don't think the sunglasses or anything is "awry", but looking at the wonderful, loose image in your header, I can understand that maybe you had something nice and spontaneous and your persistance destroyed that quality. This drawing has many other qualities and is beautiful, but learning when to stop is a tough one. I never got it myself. There are plenty drawgers who know how to recognize when a drawing is at its peak. Is that something that can be learned? I think so.
Scott Bakal March 13, 2007
I share your pain, Peter. Still, it looks like a swell drawing and it is something you should be proud of. I love your hatching technique.
Peter Cusack March 13, 2007
Nancy!! Like you always seem to do, you hit the nail on the head. I did have something nice and spontaneous going, and then I POUNCED!!!!! on it like a child who hates his toys. And "peak" is a great way to explain it! In the end, I am happy that I pulled it out of the fire and I think it looks good (thanks for the "bautiful qualities" remark, that helps;)) But there were a few moments I felt so let down and wanted to rip it out of my book and pounce on it like a child who hates his toys!!!!
Zina Saunders March 13, 2007
It's lovely, Peter...I think you're too hard on yourself. I often think that being hard on ourselves is part of the creative process, though. One of the great things my dad told me when I was young and painting a picture of him in his studio was, "Zina, don't try to paint a masterpiece...just stop and start a new painting." I've often said that to myself, and it's helped to put things in perspective many times.
Robert Hunt March 13, 2007
I think it's a fantastic drawing, Peter. Learning when to stop...that's one of the hardest lessons...
Mark Fisher March 13, 2007
Peter, It's quite a nice drawing in spite of it's later workings.
Leo Espinosa March 13, 2007
no command Z, :-O I still like it a lot, Pedro.
Peter Hermann March 13, 2007
I love the drawing Peter, itís absolutely gorgeous. and your description about the process is right one. It's better to have had the "Wow! I think this might be the best sketch I've ever done" feeling and then work past that point, than to never have had that feeling. you probably kept working because it felt too easy, like you had not really put any effort to it... at least I get that feeling sometimes about my own work. Having said that, it must have been pretty damn awesome, if it was better than this.
Peter Cusack March 13, 2007
Nope! no command Z in my world Leo Espo. Just more cross hatching, and then a little more, and then a little more, and wait, just a little more right there! AHHHHHHH! Thanks for stopping by drawgerites. You guys are truley the best! Learning when to stop, no masterpieces. GOT IT!!!
James O'Brien March 13, 2007
I know what you mean Peter, I'm always afraid of screwing up my great initial start. Most of my studio time is spent just staring at the image wondering what next or constantly reaching for undo. I think this is a really nice sketch, now make ten more just like it.
Christian Slade March 13, 2007
Holy Crap! I can't believe you posted such a bad drawing. Truly hideous. :( HeHeHe.....just kidding. The joys of drawing. No pain, No gain! Great sketchbook action as always dude!
Larry Ross March 13, 2007
I can't imagine it being better, Peter. It doesn't seem overworked to me. You left plenty unfinished, like the reast of his torso and the background. I like that open part on his left shoulder. The feeling of light on his right cheek brings the whole thing to life.
Rob Dunlavey March 14, 2007
Peter, how dare you post such garbage on Drawger??!! I'm cancelling my subscription! C'mon. admit it, you love this drawing and you know how unique you and your sketchbook are or you wouldn't have posted it. Clients may force you to overwork something and you watch it sadly expire in some corner of your studio. But when you overwork it all by yourself, now that's something else. It's your questing, restless probing self on the hunt! We can all appreciate the experience of surfing the edge of taste and talent by overworking something. But that's all personal stuff you benefit and learn from. I think we have to be willing to ruin our best efforts just to strangle the protective urge. Otherwise, we're not being as creative as we probably need to be.
Roberto Parada March 14, 2007
Peter, I think the drawing is fantasticl!! All artist suffer from the same anxiety of overkill. It's the draftsmen's curse. I wouldn't be surprised if even some of the greatests draftsmans have to fight off the instinct to overkill. Some people would say you shouldn't have any happy accidents but they're not accidents, if you recognize what is unique and special about a particular area or technique that you've stumbled upon. I find that happens with me a lot in my painting. My brushes can think for me and many times give me a gratifying unintended consequence. But ultimately it's not progress, unless I recognize it. How do you feel about drawing in charcoal? I enjoy the richness and versatility of that medium most, of all the drawing tools. How do you feel about degas drawings?
Peter Cusack March 14, 2007
Robby DunnsóThanks for calling me out. Of course, your absolutely right. I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't feel proud of it and wanted to share it. That's all true. Thanks for the insight. And thanks for reminding me that Iím unique ;). The same fits for you for sure. RobertoóA curse, yes it can be. Your comments on your brushes are poetry and indicate something else, something potent, moving below the surface as we work hard and paint keenly. I flip flop around with medium and go through stages depending on what the goals are. On the train, it's a pen (no smudging in my sketchbook). In a model session, negro leads (nice and soft). If its a long developed drawing, I will probably use charcoal pencils to get the deeper darks; the large range of values. I agree with you that charcoal is a wonderful medium, versatile, and can feel like painting too.Yes? I admire Degas' drawings very much and have spent a lot of time thinking about him and his work. To really discuss him I wish we could be face to face. At the Met I always visit the few galleries devoted to his work. From what Iíve read, technique was so important to him as a younger artist and later on became more driven by subject and more personal principles. Velazquez too. Same type of thing. Starting out following the rules of painting and then at some point letting them go. What courage! Both truly sublime painters. Christian, Larry, Jim, Peter, you all add such great leverage to the discussion. Thanks for the engaging comments and praise. Good doggy! OWWOOOOO! Iím rolling over.