Work-in-progress 5: Rare View

work-in-progress - step 1.

work-in-progress – step 1.

I worked on this drawing during the end of April and start of May 2013.  In step 1 you can see that I have traced the lines and I am just starting to put on some colour – beginning with the lady in the distance.  (Please click on the images to enlarge them.)

work-in-progress - second view.

work-in-progress – second view.

More of the drawing has had colour applied to it in the second view.

work-in-progress - third view.

work-in-progress – third view.

Because I know that the obi is a difficult part, I begin to build up the colour on it at quite an early stage.  Sometimes it takes me a while to connect to a drawing.   In this case, I have done all this work and have not made the connection yet.  ie I haven’t started to enjoy myself.  Maybe this is because it is the first drawing after a break of two months without drawing.

work-in-progress - fourth view.

work-in-progress – fourth view.

There is some more intensity in the colours now.  Also there is effort made into putting texture and shadow into the paving stones.  My concern is to make the kimono stand out from the path as in the photo they are such similar colours.  At this stage I am still unsure that this work will succeed.

"Rare View".  The finished work.

“Rare View”. The finished work. 345 x 480 mm. 2013

Here is the finished drawing.  I feel that the most difficult part was the obi because of its complicated design.  I did not connect to the drawing until about three quarters of the way through it.  All I could see until then were problems which needed to be overcome.  Sometimes one just has to have perseverance to keep going.  At some stage one thinks “I think I’ve got it now!” and then it is no longer a slog but a joy.  Self-doubt is often my companion.

Finally, the original photo included a woman in the distance taking photos.  I left her out of my drawing as she was incidental to the scene.  Thinking about what to leave out is an important consideration when composing.  Whether it is rubbish bins on Paris streets or unwanted figures in Kyoto, when working from photos there are often people or objects edited out between photo and drawing stage.  I keep in the back of my mind “less is more”.

Related posts: Rare View and Waiting.

Related page:  Subject 2: Geisha

9 Responses to Work-in-progress 5: Rare View

  1. Malcolm says:

    Once again Julie many thanks for sharing your process, especially about the challenges that can make you momentarily question the joy. It seems that even when we say, in a general sense, that we enjoy doing something it doesn’t mean that the execution is going to be continuous bliss. Great work.

    best wishes

    Malcolm Griffiths

    • Thanks, as always, Malcolm, for your comments. Indeed, sometimes it is just tenacity which gets me through. In this case it was my belief in the subject which I held on to … when my self-belief was on shaky ground.

  2. I think drawing or indeed making art of any kind is often not necessarily always pleasurable but a necessity. I find I connect easily to my work (generally) but struggle to get where I want to go with it, which often leaves me feeling frustrated. But regardless I always try again. You have to want it. I think your work is amazing and requires very special skills and maybe determination? Best, Nicholas.

  3. tarahullah says:

    It is so beautiful, you have a gift for realism particularly in dealing with contrast. WOW! What a challenging piece with all that grey…grey on grey, like white on white or black on black. Only true masters got it right and her scarf shines like a jewel.

  4. Donna says:

    It’s nice to know that the struggles aren’t confined to the newbies. I know exactly what you mean, Julie, when you say you “get it”; what you are doing with a piece. I always thought I experienced this doubt and flailing all over the place, trying this and that, going on hunches, because I am just not all that experienced in CP (and sloooooowww).In 18 months of CP, I’ve probably done about 8 or 9 A4 drawings, 3 of them on drafting film no less, even though I draw or paint every day (I also dabble in pastel and watercolour and very occassionally, experiment with acrylic). That’s not a lot of CP experience. The apricot rose I posted on FB in the last week, I can recall specifically getting that, “Ohhhh….NOW I get it” feeling” ,and wondering why it took me so long to understand what I was doing. Just like you, 3/4 of the way through I started to see it emerge and started to enjoy it more, cause I now understood what my pencils were doing when I did this or that. I thought that if I were just more experienced, I would’ve known what to do. However from your words, it sounds like no matter how experienced or how much you progress, you still learn from a piece and learn as you go. It’s great to hear that, encouraging. Love your blog and all the comments! And as others have stated, your work is exquisite. There isn’t a better word for it.

    • I’ve been enjoying your apricot rose on FB, Donna.

      Yes, I want to make it known that it doesn’t suddenly become easy when you’ve been doing it for years. (Though some bits come with less struggle than others.) It would only be easy (and boring) if you worked to a formula and didn’t try pushing boundaries.

      Each time I begin a drawing, it is like beginning a new relationship. I don’t know, when I start, if it will be easy or hard to deal with the various problems which will come up. Sometimes things easily fall into place, other times it is a big effort but they work in the end (usually this is what happens), and finally, sometimes I have to give up altogether.

      Its true, Nicholas, you have to want it. But for me, sometimes even wanting it, I still don’t get it.

  5. Julie, you are so right about this. I have just put aside an experimental work, because I have not connected with it, and see fundamental problems. However, there are parts of it I really like, so I may be able to leave parts out, or crop it right down to the bits I like – or even come back later and see a new way forward. Pushing boundaries is so important, working to a formula is dull, dull dull and it shows when people have!

    • So, Anna, issues artists deal with are universal, aren’t they. And one really never knows which issues will come up with each new work one starts. I didn’t know that we’d be discussing connection when I started “Rare View”. That is the thing I like about having this blog; that is, it is an avenue for dialogue between people who practise similarly and face the same problems!

  6. Donna says:

    This is a valuable conversation. I think sometimes artists keep their self-doubts and struggles to themselves, thinking that they are the only one going through it. You are a gem, Julie, for your advice and sharing your wisdom and experience.

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