Sunday, October 18, 2015

- I can draw?

I've tried to draw for years ... tried learning from books, and watching other people draw, and even talked my way into an upper-level drawing class in college. It didn't end well (sorta like Phil Collins' I Can't Dance, come to think of it).

As a result I long ago reached the conclusion that I can't draw.

But some time back when I made a similar statement, Mo told me about Frederick Franck's book The Zen of Seeing and said, "Caress the edges." I really liked that, although even after reading the book cover-to-cover I wasn't quite sure how.

Then Jude posted her original Magic Feather tutorial the other day and I knew I was going to have to figure out what Mo meant. So I got out my new Inktense pencils, stole a turkey feather out of Don's assemblage, and tried ...

What I tried today

The first Madder Brown feather didn't look right, so I tried some other browns until I found one that was better. Then I tried again, and actually kinda liked it ...

Inktense Bark 2000

But looking closely at the actual feather I realized that each barb (I had to look up that term) varied in color from brown to white to brown again, like ikat (poetically described here by Jude Hill) ...



It reminded me of the crewel embroidery long-and-short stitch that I learned from my Aunt Jean more than 45 years ago. She cautioned me not to follow the standard written instructions, but to vary stitch lengths to get a more natural effect ... sort of like the feather. 

So I grabbed a bit of linen patchplay, sketched another feather, and started stitching ...

Note the stitches don't line up as neatly as the actual feather (yet)

I'm not there yet, but I decided to take some pictures and document how far I've come before I go any further. Because really, I guess I can sorta draw after all.

24 comments:

Birgit Olann said...

Your feathers are naturally, beautiful like the real one! It was good, that you remind your aunt...you can!

Dana said...

Yes, you can draw. Somebody said that to draw you must be able to see...to short circuit the part of your brain that wants to draw symbols and really look at what is in front of you. Clearly you have done that with your second feather and your embroidered feather too. They are beautiful.

Liz Ackert said...

Ha! I read your comment and realized I got the title wrong ... I think it makes more sense now

Liz Ackert said...

And thank you!

Liz Ackert said...

Amazing how some things can stay with you for a lifetime ...

Sharon Tomlinson said...

Yes. You can. Aren't feathers amazing. I love the ones that change like that. They are a real challenge. I've stitched blue jay feathers and loved them. I enjoy your post.

Roxanne said...

The feathers look so realistic. I think you can, I think you can...and yes, repetition (i.e. practice) is the key to drawing, too.

Liz Ackert said...

Practice ... yes. Much more fun with cool pencils and good watercolor paper (which I've never indulged in before now).

Liz Ackert said...

Blue jay feathers ... now I wish I had one (though I can't say I miss hearing the jays in Virginia). And thank you!

Mo Crow said...

see!

Liz Ackert said...

saw!

jude said...

anyone can draw. i think the key is to accept what happens as that which moves through you. and not compare it with expectation. It is an extension of you and changes as you keep doing it.

Liz Ackert said...

The expectation piece is definitely what trips me up ...

ARTISUN said...

Learning to draw is a global skill, the more you practice the better you get. In global skills the learning is often frustrating and difficult, but at some point you will have an ahaaaaaaa moment and then it becomes quite relaxing. So keep at it. Your painting stitch on fabric of the feather is remarkable! Here is another drawing book I'd like to recommend that I teach my students out of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Dr. Betty Edwards. I actually took her class in 1982 and I can't believe how much my drawing skills improved.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

your learning process is immensely interesting to follow; funny how we tell ourselves we can't do something and readily believe this to be true!

Liz Ackert said...

Well, the art professor did a lot of damage ... he'd talk and talk with the other students about their drawings, then come to me and just sigh and shake his head. Mortifying!

Liz Ackert said...

I got the book from the library today ... thank you!
And it's funny, but I sometimes feel I can stitch lines better than I can draw them.

susan said...

Liz, your feathers are beautiful and Yes, you can draw! Frederick Franck and his wife actually lived in the same town as I do. They built an incredible retreat called Pacem In Terris where all his sculptures are displayed over a few acres. It's quite a magical place.

Mo Crow said...

the zen of seeing...

Mo Crow said...

drawing is an ongoing lifelong deepening of perception

Liz Ackert said...

I am looking forward to the journey ...

Liz Ackert said...

Thank you ... and oh my, how I love the inter-connectedness of all things.
For those who make it this far in the comments, here is the link to Pacem in Terris: http://www.frederickfranck.org/

Liz Ackert said...

P.S. I've also added the link to the "Other Artists and Authors" list to the right

Mo Crow said...

your exquisite stitching & weaving feed that perception ... Jude talks about the Looking Stitch on her blog today