The day I did this drawing, I knew it was some kind of breakthrough. It has to do with the cleanness of the edges of the shadows. I get really frustrated with myself when all my marks are mushy. These are not mushy. They’re almost Cubist in appearance in places, as happens when I work so much and so firmly with the long edge of the charcoal. But the shading on the belly is subtle without being wishy-washy. Something really good was happening here.

140908f 20minThree weeks later, with lots of unsatisfying attempts in between, I managed to keep that same firmness. There are places where the edges are soft, maybe too soft, as in the left calf and foot. I’m not sure whether those work, but to the extent they do, it’s because not every mark on the page is like that. Most are more clearly delineated. This is a case of the first longer pose (seven minutes) maintaining some of the spontaneity and energy of the warmup one- and two-minutes.

140929a 7minThere’s usually one spot that grabs my attention, and without taking time to analyze why, I almost always start there. On the next drawing, done the same day as the previous one, it was the dramatic light on the right hand.

140929b 7min

I have brown and sanguine conte crayons in the art box I bring to drawing, but I seldom get them out. This time I wanted some color, and wanted to try the different medium, which has a little more drag than charcoal; it’s stickier, smoother. This next drawing is a bit of a mess, but I like the gesture, and the left hand, which is far from an accurate rendering but conveys the energy of the pose; intense, intent on something inward, but braced for what’s outside.

141006a 7minThis next one is a more tranquil pose from the same day as the previous. Still working on the clarity of all those planes–there are so many on her belly, revealed by, and revealing, of the light. I like the light in this, overall.

141006e 10minOn the next one, three out of four limbs (all but the left leg) are flat and undeveloped, and the neck–feh–but I knew right away that the hands and foot would need my attention. Even with 45 minutes for this pose, that’s not much for me when two hands and a foot are visible, and so clearly what the pose is about for me. They’re all a bit rough, but real to my eyes. I also like the torso.

If you look at shadows you’ll often see a gradation, from darkest at the outside edge of the shadows, to lighter farther in, farther from the light it seems. You see it here, on both breasts and the left arm. I notice that phenomenon often but can’t reproduce it as well as I can see it.

141006g 45min

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