I’ve had some busy days. First, we went away for the weekend to visit my brother and his family, which was totally great and soul-soothing. When we came back, we really needed some time to adapt and “recover”, and after that we had to organize my husband’s birthday party (which we had yesterday). So, today, finally, I was able to get some drawing done.

La Penseuse
La Penseuse

This newest drawing was made with pastels, not the pencils, but the chalks, on tinted paper (blue-greyish). First, I made a sketch with a sepia coloured pastel pencil, last week already. Today, I decided to fill it in, without going back to the original photograph, to see if I could get some depth into the picture without “cheating”. I know that the sketch was not a great starting point, as the dimensions of the hands vs. the head are a bit off, but I decided not to redraw on new paper, just to use this as a chance to study and learn something else.

I took out my pastels and started adding colour. I still find it hard to work with this rough paper, I have the feeling that the tooth is not fine enough for my taste. I think fine sandpaper would work better, actually… Anyway, I struggled on, and built up the face and the hands. I tried adding lots of colours to create depth, and I also didn’t want it to be too realistic colourwise. Just find the right values, in whatever colour. That’s why there are purples, greens, pinks, yellows, browns and blues in the face. I couldn’t get the hair to be as fine as I wanted, both because of the paper and because of the chalk sizes, so it looks kind of like a solid mass now.

I did like working on this portrait, though, and as the last step, I decided to create a complementary background with warm yellows and oranges. A nice effect, it contrasts with the face (and the paper colour) and lightens up the drawing.

This drawing is far from perfect, but I still like it, somehow. I find it interesting and encouraging that I don’t beat myself up for mistakes, that I can somehow let them be there without it being a disaster, and even show it to other people. I’ve always found that very hard in music, becoming quite self-conscious and tense when I know someone is listening when I’m practicing. This is kind of the same thing, but it doesn’t trigger the same response, and I’m grateful for that.

By the way, did you notice that I was so busy drawing the hands that I added an extra finger? Bet you didn’t 😉
I knew something irked me around that area, but I noticed it only after putting my fixative on the drawing.

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