Something amazing happened at drawing today. When we moved from the 1- and 2-minute gestures to the 7-minute poses, I just stayed in short-pose mode. I didn’t do it on purpose, but when I realized that was what I was doing, I stayed with it and was really happy with the results, especially with the last two. Usually, much as I try to think of every drawing as a completely disposable experiment, I shift into a “this is for real” mode when we start on the 7s. Keeping the energy of the fast, “just draw” intensity of the 1s and 2s, but having more time to get to all the details, was thrilling.

Here I decided I didn’t have enough time for the hands, after having to correct my proportions on the body and arms a couple times. Still, I like the energy:

This was the “AHHHHHH!” moment of the day, when I drew the face so that it really looks like her:

In this one I couldn’t get the face to look quite like hers, but it does look like a person’s. And I like the drawing overall. This pose was 45 minutes and that was almost enough.

Interestingly, I stopped pressuring myself to use the darkest charcoal, and actually started with the lightest on most of these, working all over and putting in subtler touches, then I used the medium, then the dark. Again, not a deliberate choice. There just seemed to be good things happening with the light charcoal; it didn’t feel tentative but alive, full of movement, and I wanted to keep that going.

The music might have helped. I liked it all, but I draw fastest and loosest to rock that I like, and we had David Bowie and Bob Dylan today. There’s no way I can draw slowly to “Hurricane.”

Along the way, I rediscovered the song “Space Oddity.” My introduction to it, at age 13, was eight weeks of just about daily doses (sometimes many times in a day), because I was at camp and one of my cabinmates was obsessed. It has made it a little hard to hear it for itself. Today I realized what an excellent song it is. The Bowie we were listening to was clearly a greatest hits compilation, but we almost always change the music at the rest breaks, and so we only heard 20 minutes of it. Just as well–I was already smokin’ and if “Suffragette City” had come on, I might have burned a hole right through my paper.

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