"Are you drawing every day, Counts?"

This was Thursday night. We were on the patio at Picasso's, and she leaned across the table and asked me that, possibly because of the expression I wore as I tried to toss off some quick drawings of her in my Canson sketchbook. (I guess it's possible the situation could have been slightly more intimidating; for example, the name of the restaurant could have been Degas's.)

I had to at least start a picture of her -- you see, she's only in town for the next two weeks, and she's also a figure from that infamous summer of twenty years ago which I'm attempting to commemorate as soon as I can manage to stop talking it to death. So I made a bunch of little doodle-like sketches, and here's the only fragment I got right: Her eye.

But we'll get back to this later. Where was I?

Ah, her question. I answered honestly: I told her no, but I was trying to force myself to. In the four days since,
I've drawn on three of them, which increases my rate to seventy-five percent. I think if I can push it to eighty, then it will be
close enough to honest when I lie and say, "Oh, yeah. Every day."

To keep myself from freezing up while I was casting around for something to draw, I decided to pick a subject
that I've done before, but which I never did to my satisfaction. And oh my friends, I got a lot of those to choose from. I settled
on this one, from an oil sketch I'd done of the Man in the Moon last October. It was an idea that I really liked, but it resulted
in a picture that I really didn't like. It didn't even begin to look like the guy to me, and I had thought ever since: surely
I can get closer to it than that. And as the moon was just past full, here was my chance to try it again.

But let me tell you, it's slow going, getting a likeness of something that isn't there in the first place. At least it is for me.
As you can see, I'd get warm, then cold, with no trend developing as far as I could tell:

What was I doing wrong? Well, drawing it incorrectly, obviously. But I mean, how come? I kept on, until these two.
The first one felt like I was getting closer; the second, for whatever reason, finally looked reasonably on it to me.

So I tried a sketch for a night version of the painting titled Summertime which I had intended to do last week before
becoming sidetracked. (You can check that link, or just take my word for it, which will at least save you some time.)
And I wound up back at square one:

What gives? Doesn't look a bit more like him than -- well, you get the idea. I'd have to try something else. What?

The tipping point, or breaking point, or height of something or other, came when Johannes Idiot here tried looking at the moon
through binoculars in an attempt to see the face more clearly. Yes, I did in fact do that. Of course, any semblance of a face
vanished immediately with the higher-resolution view, but that imbecilic stunt did cause me to realize what I should've been
doing all along: forgetting about the face and trying to draw the basic pattern that your brain interprets as a face. Right?

Right. I think. Maybe. I wound up with this, which gives me hope. On the night I did this one, the moon was a deep,
too-good-to-be-true orange, and so I made a fast burnt-sienna wash to use as a background. Now I'm ready to try it in color.
I hope it works; by now, difficult as it might be to imagine, I'm more tired of this subject than you are.

Next: Summertime...

The Picture of the Week Archives:

07.14.08: Vacation
07.07.08: The Rebus Returns
11.26.07: Night of the Hunter, Part II
11.19.07: Night of the Hunter, Part I
11.12.07: Hunter's Lake
11.05.07: Deconstructing October
09.17.07: Der Käfer
09.10.07: Straight Up
09.03.07: End of Summer
08.27.07: Knob Creek at Sunset
06.18.07: Grilling
06.11.07: Forgetfulness and Blasphemy
05.21.07: Guerillas Indie Missed
05.07.07: Cat on Page 2D
04.30.07: Study for God's Linoleum

04.23.07: Pareidolia for Dummies

04.16.07: Pareidolia
04.02.07: Regression Redux
03.19.07: Regression
03.12.07: She's Ready

02.26.07: Cold as Hell
02.12.07: The Three Faces of Suzanne

02.05.07: Progress, of a Sort
01.22.07: What I Painted
01.15.07: Art Lesson

01.08.07: Mountcastle Drive
01.01.07: Resolution
12.24.06: Christmas Eve
12.18.06: Wintering
12.11.06: By Way of Apology
12.04.06: Rodney Hits the Floor
11.27.06: Gondola Car and Busy Ball
11.20.06: Sketch for The Remains
11.13.06: Work in Progress: Lawn Deer

11.06.06: Two Studies for VW

Back to billcounts.com