Drawing On My Family


What does an artist do when there are no models to pose?  Why we draw upon our family members, at least I do.  I had this photo of our youngest son taken in a coffee shop and felt inspired to try and capture what is a familiar gesture.  Drawing family members has its own difficulties as one’s preconceptions often get in the way.  Our mind’s eye is often in opposition to what we actually see.  Consequently we rarely can draw the person as we truly see them.  However, I think this time I came a bit closer than I have before.

It was the first time that I had used oil pastels in a long time, but my way of using them, blending and layering came quickly back to me.  I like working with oil pastels because they smudge less than chalk pastels and they aren’t as hard to clean up after as oil paints.  When I’m drawing or painting I go into a trancelike state of pure pleasure.  Even when I am struggling with part of a drawing I am enjoying the process.  Now that is something I couldn’t say when I was struggling with an algebra problem.  Whenever I hear numbers my eyes glaze over.  I have to say, though, that I admire and envy those for whom mathematics is an art.  Despite the number of engineers in my family tree, sadly I was not blessed with those genes.  Consequently I write and draw.

Of course, I can see a lot of places where I have need of improving.  I’m not a patient artist, spending days on one piece.  I can certainly see the value in it though.  I am not so much on details as on the overall patterns and gestures.  I  admire those who are.  My favourite artists from the past are from the Group of Seven and the French Impressionists.  I can spend hours in front of paintings by Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, August Renoir and Marie Cassatt.  I am entranced by J.E.H. MacDonald, A. Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris, not to forget Emily Carr.  Their paintings are so inspiring, but now I have met even more amazing Canadian and American as well as other artists around the world through Facebook and Mixed Media Workshops.  Once again I feel the desire to express myself as well and it is a great feeling.  I wake up every morning excited to begin the day.

I have posted the photo and the drawing so that you can see what I was trying to convey.  Please let me know what you think.