It took me quite a few days to catch up once I got back to Hawaii. I guess I had a little TOO much fun in LA this time. It was hard to readjust to Hawaii where things are so much quieter. Still, it’s good, I guess. I mean, if I lived in LA, or P-town, or Rio, or Sydney, those places where I love to vacation, I would be so busy partying I wouldn’t get any work done! So I’m back, and getting caught up, and FINALLY getting some drawing done.

I got back into the studio and started working from slides of Shawn. This is how I start drawing again when it’s been a few days since I’ve done any drawing. I choose a box of slides (I always shoot 35mm slides of my models) to work from. I go into the studio and load the slides into the slide projector (that means 36 or 37 slides, in whatever order they happen to be in). Then I sit down at my drawing table, turn on the projector, and start drawing.*

Whatever image the projector shoots onto the wall, that’s the pose I draw from. Sometimes I time myself so that I have maybe 1 minute to draw the pose and capture it. That’s a good exercise. It forces me to look at the whole pose and not get caught up in details. But usually I just draw each pose as it comes up, as long as it takes. I’m a lot faster than I used to be, though, so it usually only takes 3 or 4 minutes to capture a pose.

Usually most of the sketches are not keepers. It takes me a lot of drawings to warm up. Some days I might do 35 or 40 sketches over a period of several hours, and throw all of them away. That might go on day after day if I’m having a hard time getting warmed up. But then, sooner or later, I get lucky, and have a good day. A good day sketching is a day when almost every drawing is a keeper. I love days like that.

Anyway, this was not one of those days. And that’s all right! My goal is not so much to produce saleable drawings as to get some drawing exercise, warm up the ‘muscles’, so to speak, and continue to hone my skills at drawing the male face and figure. So I drew maybe a dozen sketches before I started getting some stuff I liked.

By the way, I really enjoy drawing Shawn. He’s got a beautiful, muscular body that looks good, and drawable, from just about any angle. Though graceful, his body is square-ish and blocky, in a good way. He’s fun to draw!

So today I drew for several hours, and turned out quite a few decent sketches. The best of them you can see here. Toward the end of the session I started to really loosen up and distort the body a bit. I distorted the faces even more in a couple of them, and that’s fun for me.

I’m starting to think about my next painting. I’ve been noticing certain other artist’s works lately, works of a certain type. I’m looking at very heavily painted, textured, layered works. The type of painting I’m talking about looks like the artist has done layer upon layer upon layer, because there’s lots of texture and depth, and it’s fascinating. I want to do something like that.

This is how it works for me. The painting starts to germinate in my mind for days (sometimes weeks) before I actually begin to paint it. I can feel that happening and it’s both exciting and terrifying. Because what will happen when I actually start to paint this painting that has been growing in my mind?

* In 2002 I had not yet made the switch to digital and was still working with 35mm slides. The approach I describe above hasn’t really changed much since then, except now (in 2016) instead of a slide projector I use a computer screen. –D.S.

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