Drawing: a resolution

Hulihee Guy, a sketch by Ms Birdsong on Flickr

I’ve never been one for making “new year” resolutions; I lack the aptitude for forming new habits. This year, however, I am going to make a resolution: it does not require me to form a new habit so much as it requires me to emphasize a tendency I already possess. I really need to draw more, both from my imagination and from life. To exercise one kind of drawing without the other is to only learn halfway. Tom always emphasized that in the beginning drawing class I took my first semester at PNCA, and I’ve found it to be a good principle. (I will be continuing as his teaching assistant for his last semester, by the way; I am doubly honored and very lucky that someone else was unavailable.)

For the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling like you wouldn’t believe to reproduce a face I saw in a dream. Remember the crow-head plate (that I still haven’t got much done on)? In the dream, I had drawn a man sporting a Hulihee (or, as it is more commonly known, friendly mutton chops). The sketch above, which I made with a ballpoint pen while sitting at Lovejoy Bakers this afternoon, is the closest approximation that I have yet made. My earlier attempts were depressingly pathetic – in my defense, I did not give up, and I have not practiced drawing from my imagination nearly as much as I ought.

I still don’t know how I feel about putting this face in the frame of crow heads. Since it was in the dream, I feel a certain obligation to see it come to fruition, but I do not feel that this is the right image to fill the negative space in the crow head plate. I’m not sure it needs anything. I’m tempted to aquatint the center black and leave it be. I’m equally tempted to aquatint the birds black (as they were in the dream) and fill the middle with a whimsical little landscape with this fellow standing, silhouetted. This wishy-washiness about this project has me stalled. I need to just push forward with something.

Making use of multiple plates, I could see that all those ideas come to be. That is the beauty of printmaking. If I do a whole series of prints around these crow heads, can I call it a murder of prints? (I’m sorry – that’s pretty bad. Not even funny.)

Tomorrow will be a long day of studio time. I have several projects in the works. With some fortitude and time management, I think I can make good headway on a few of them. Perhaps not the crow heads… though I do want to print three or five of them, without aquatint or anything else, before I move forward. I just love the drawing so much as it is now.

Ah, wish me luck.


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