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With All She’s Got, for the Rest of Her Days

I’m sure many of you have reestablished ties with people you knew way back when through the wonder of facebook.  I will be the first to admit, most of these rekindled friendships don’t hold much substance.  But I must say, it’s comforting to know that folks are living, experiencing challenges and trials that I’ve known in my own life, or will probably know at some point in the future.

Over the past few years, one of those friends has posted some of the most poignant photos of the life she has shared quite exclusively with her dog.  I’ve given them special attention because I think she just may be one of the few people I know who loves her dog as much as if not more than I love my own.  Our dogs pull us through some of the most painful challenges of our lives.  They love us completely and persistently when we fe incapable of reaching out to others for comfort.  Her old boy is completely grey around the muzzle, incapable of using his hind legs, nearly at the end of his very rich life.  While her posts have been focused on easing his pains, taking him to his favorite places one last time, I know that she must be enduring terrible, profound sadness about losing her devoted companion of so many years. When I see  her updates, I try my best to avoid contemplating that I will at some point, come face to face with this same experience, but hopefully not for many years to come.

It got me thinking about my own pets, how content they are simply to be loved, how they will love me with everything they’ve got, for the rest of their days.  That last part really blows my mind.  My cocker has pulled me through some of the most painful experiences of my life. He has loved me completely and persistently when I have felt incapable of reaching out to others for help or comfort.

As I developed this pastel painting of my little Pupusa that I rescued off the streets of East LA, I realized just how intimately close we two have become as well.

PastelPupusa_BFor the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the precious subject of this painting using all my senses, and while I wouldn’t call the results of this painting avant garde, I think I captured Pupusa’s spirit in the work, and so I was extremely satisfied with the results.  Full shot over at Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft today.

Want to see how it came together?  I captured the process on video using instruments entirely a la Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft.

I also noted in my post over at Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft that I’d have a bit more info over here for those who are interested in developing their drawing skills.  I’ve been away from it for some time, and like anything, without practice, we lose our abilites.  So I just wanted to share with you a few tips that are  helping me get back into it.

First thing – it’s so hard to shake ourselves of preconceived notions of how things should look.  We have two eyes, they are just about identical.  We know that depending on the angle, they probably won’t be drawn the same.  But we want to draw them the same, don’t we?  Start identifying shapes.  Forget about the eyes and draw the shapes you see.

I mention in the video how my first attempt went badly.  I’m totally out of the habit of drawing regularly, and my first inclination was to draw two eyes exactly the same at exactly the same height.  So I started over, and I worked with a grid.  So that’s #2.  I drew a grid of horizontal and vertical lines at 1 in. intervals over a reference photo that I had printed out.  My first vertical line exactly down the center and my first horizontal line also bisecting the photo.  On my pastel paper, I made another grid which had lightly marked notches at 2 in intervals instead of one – the size of your intervals depends upon how large you are going to work.  Then start laying down your drawing.

The grid…
1) facilitates an understanding of where things are in relationship to one another.
2) makes the task of transferring your image manageable.  Rather than tackle the possibly overwhelming undertaking of an entire piece, you are laying down your foundation, one square brick at a time.  Totally manageable.

3) trains your drawing eye so that over time, you won’t need to actually draw grid marks anymore.  When I studied figure drawing, at one point towards the end of the semester, all I needed anymore were a few reference marks to keep my drawing accurate, and then it was frantic drawing before the model would take a new pose haha!

So that is how this project got its start.  Hope you enjoy the video and that it inspires you to start honing your drawing skillzzzzz!

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13 thoughts on “With All She’s Got, for the Rest of Her Days

  1. Hello Vivian, Alison here again. Amazingly, I have just started attending an art class at my church, where we have begun to learn how to sketch faces. I look forward to watching your video.

    • Ooh an art class sounds like soooo much fun! It’s like food for your creative brain. Best of luck with faces – I’m sure it will be a lot of mental exercise and hugely gratifying.

  2. Hello Vivian! Been missing your posts while you moved. Hope everything went well. Love this drawing. Will save the video for later. I so appreciate all the tips you give us. I don’t have a desire to draw or sketch but admire those who do. I’m a die cut, stamp and ink girl myself. Have a wonderful day.

  3. Just watched your video over on Faber Castell Design Memory Craft. I love your videos, and learn so much from each of them. Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge and skills. Your little dog makes a wonderful model.

    • So happy to hear that you liked it, Dianne, and that Pupusa’s story didn’t bore you. After the video was finished, I worried I had gone on too long about my dog and that no one would care haha! I could talk about my pets forever 🙂

  4. AWESOME drawing. Looks so much like my baby (Except he a boy) I won’t tell if you don’t. lol
    seriously though, this is a stunner. TFS
    Hugz Tonniece

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