As part of the blog hop for Let’s Face It 2018 where one is introduced to the various artists who will be teaching in the course next year and being able to enter to win a seat, Toni Burt asked a question, you can see her blog post here. She wants those entering the giveaway to leave a comment telling her why you love creating faces. Here is my response:
Why I love creating faces? I never asked myself why I wanted to create faces. All I knew was faces were very difficult, sometimes impossible for me to pick up a pencil and begin. The thought of doing so created all this negative talk in my head that caused me to undermine what I am capable of doing. I have never liked it when someone told me I couldn’t do something. When someone would say that, it was like being given a key to do it anyway and prove them wrong, that I could do it. But somehow when the voices in my head told me I couldn’t do it, the words would leave me feeling defenseless, weak, and believing I couldn’t. The words and voice didn’t come with a key or drive to prove the voices wrong. Drawing faces is about taking back my power, about showing myself there isn’t anything to fear. It is about finding that window into my soul through the eyes of the portrait I’ve created. When I look at her/him, I see a part of me looking back, the part of me I can be proud of. This is why I love creating faces. Thanks for asking the question and making me think about the why.
What I don’t say, is this, I have felt a deep drive lately to draw faces. It started once I took one of Tamara Laporte’s courses. It was most likely the free course I took called “Art, Heart and Healing”. She made it so easy to draw a whimsical face, I felt for sure if I could do that lesson then I could learn how to draw more realistic faces. I never considered the “why” of it.
Since high school art class I wanted to become better at drawing people. I had the same art teacher since eighth grade, Thomas McFarland. I don’t know how he did it. How he was able to find this ability within me when no one throughout my years of school was able to do it. I still remember some of my very first classes with him and the projects he inspired the students to do. Each time I found myself amazed at what I created. The first one was to draw an animal, find a picture of an animal we wanted to draw. I have a love of horses and so I chose a young colt to draw that was resting on the ground. Another was to pair off with other students and draw their face but to use black construction paper and white chalk. I was paired with a girl who had wild curly hair, octagon shaped glasses because no one else wanted to pair with her and thought she would be difficult to draw. Then another in a later grade was to create something that would then be used as a template to carve into a tile made of a soft material which could then be used to make prints from. I chose bicycle parts. He loved it so much he asked if he could keep it. I of course said yes. I was thrilled beyond belief that he would want something I created! I wonder to this day what he did with the art he kept. The last project I remember was to do a self-portrait. I drew myself sitting on my bed drawing, which was a drawing of me drawing myself looking into the mirror as I did my self-portrait. I had on an old pair of jeans and I remember the challenge in drawing my face, my hand (which appeared larger because it was closer to the mirror) and the seam detail of the leg of my jeans in the fold by the knee.
These memories are over forty years old and yet I remember them in fine detail. My memories of my more recent pieces are not so clearly remembered. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I still have them to look at. I have none of my drawings from high school. I let someone convince me that letting go of my past was what I needed to do which included getting rid of all the precious things that went along with those memories. It is the biggest regret of my life.
I haven’t spoken to my teacher since graduating high school. I think if I were ever to do so I would tell him thank you for helping me discover my inner artist. Even though I spent almost 30 years rarely picking up a pencil to draw, I remember him and what I learned from his classes. He is a part of every drawing, painting, art journal page, or doodle I create. He has been the one nudging me throughout my life telling me I CAN DO IT. It is his face I see, his voice I hear drowning out all my negative thoughts. It is his smile I see when I complete a project knowing I’ve done my best and feel the joy in what I created.
These memories and what I am discovering about myself now, is why I pursue learning as much as I can from other artists. It is why I watch recorded videos and live streams even when they are not instructional. Observing is just another way for our minds to learn. It is why I seek out instructional videos and courses I can afford to buy or do everything possible to try and win a seat in those courses I want but may not be able to afford.
For 2018, it is my hope I can include Life Book 2018, Let’s Face It 2018 and Paint Your Heart and Soul 2018 to my art journey. Each of these courses are or have had blog hop giveaways. They are also giving an early bird discount which I hope to take advantage of over the next couple months if I have the funds to purchase them if I don’t win a spot. I have had to make some hard choices in what courses I wanted for next year. I had hoped I could include many other courses but unfortunately my budget requires me to be very selective. This is even more true this year since my daughter is now enrolled in a school program where she does all her schooling from home and I will need to purchase resources for her as well.
In regards to my art and what I have worked on since my last post, this is a picture of Exercise 2 from Let’s Face It 2016 – Kara Only course. It is a drawing of a face without using a reference photo. In other words, it is completely from my imagination and was done WITHOUT following any videos. I love how she turned out. It is meant to be another benchmark drawing so we can gauge our progress.
This next picture is a work in progress and is from the Fabulous Faces course, week 2 where color is added to the graphite sketch. Tam introduced a tilt in the head which I chose to do as well.
I used Neocolor II crayons, Staedtler Watercolor pencils and graphite drawing pencil. I have some more detail to add to her hair and I may add some deeper shading to her face.
I am going to try to do all my lessons for Fabulous Faces and Let’s Face It in the same art journal which is 5.5″ x 8″. However, my first lesson in Fabulous Faces was done in a different journal, all the rest though will be created in this one. I wasn’t sure how the paper would respond to wet medium. With this lesson I discovered it can pill if I’m not careful. It responds similarly to watercolor paper even though it states “draw” on the label and nothing about watercolor. It is 160lb paper. It is good to know going forward. I am glad it works well with wet medium. It didn’t buckle very much which is a good thing. The journal is from the Bee Paper Company and is part of the “bee creative.” art journal series. I’m not an affiliate. I mention it in case anyone is interested in what paper or journal I’m using. Here is a picture of the label from the journal:
Just a note about the price, I’m in Canada which is where I purchased it, the price will be different in the US. The front side of the paper has more texture than the back side which is nice. If I want a smoother paper for drawing, I can use the back of the page. The textured side is good for painting.
I am enjoying my return to focusing on faces. I had started trying to focus on faces the end of 2016, and into 2017 with some starts and stops along the way. The other courses I was involved with distracted me, and they may again when I return to those lessons as well. For now, it is nice to just focus on faces. In a way, it makes sense I would move from mandalas to faces, from one round subject to another slightly different and somewhat round subject. Can a face be considered a mandala? Maybe not in the traditional sense of a mandala but in an abstract form of a mandala I would say yes. After all they both have their proportions and quadrants so to speak.
Time to close this post for now. Barb Owen will soon begin her live stream and I have missed too many of late due to my new job. I catch her when I can. I’m glad today is one of those days I can.