Sketching From Life

Interestingly, my class with Sharon Williams is presently doing some portrait drawing very similar to my own drawing class. As a result I am doing quite a bit of portrait drawing lately. It’s an activity that I really enjoy. Of the many things I learn from doing this is that the more I do it the better I get meaning that the portraits start looking more like the person as well as having some sense of their personality. The other thing I’m very focused on now is to spent as much time as possible intensely looking at the subject that I’m drawing and to spend less time looking at the actual drawing. I believe that so much of our drawing is controlled by past experience and the symbols we have developed to represent facial features. It takes effort and practice to break through that system and to really see what is in front of us. Activities like pure contour drawing and blind portrait drawing allow us to see things with a total freshness and immediacy. This portrait of Sharon was done mostly by looking at her and checking the drawing occasionally except for adding the shading at the end. It’s a fairly good likeness but that’s not what’s important about it. What’s important is that it is a visual record of intensely studying the subject. Drawings like this shouldn’t be judged as a finished product but as a record of the process of learning to draw.

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