Wow, you are seriously skilled!
Thank you. I see all of my poor efforts (though I do see the good ones as well), and that keeps me grounded. I enjoy it when things go well; I spiral down when they do not. There are times that I feel like I've never drawn or painted anything in my life. It's the strangest feeling, one of total incompetence, total unfamiliarity. Quite scary. At those moments, it's like there's a threshold I have to just decide to cross, to just try something, even just making a mark on paper or canvas. If it works, I'm off, unselfconscious, and in what I think is a sort of delicate dance between what I'm observing as well as my response to what I'm observing and what comes up from my past experience and learning, from my subconscious. It can be difficult to be in that "zone" while working with a group of other people. Little distractions jar me out of it. Quite frustrating. Big distractions are too much.
I think that it's like throwing a ball, the thing I'm referring to. Unless you're practicing, then you just have to decide to throw the ball where you want it to go. You have to depend on what you've learned, not think it through.
There are times that I will be heading to one of these open-studio sessions, fully confident that I'm going to really get something excellent done. I go, I start, and I spiral downhill. Then there are times when I feel like I will only make a mess. I go, I start, and things get better and better. It has something to do with my expectations, but it is not invariable.
I especially like your charcoal drawings. In particular the one JASKN posted, and this one:
I keep wondering what she's looking at and thinking of, and that kind of quality makes me want to keep looking at the drawing instead of moving on quickly to the next one.
Yes, I know what you mean, and I agree. Sometimes I get stuck on some technical aspect, of necessity if something is off and I'm having trouble getting it right, struggling. Mentally at least, if I don't actually move away to take a look at what I'm doing from a distance, I have to make a point to just look at the work as a whole, see something in it (and the model) that actually intrigues or moves me. (If I don't see that, I can't really expect it to end up on the paper or canvas.) There are times when I fail to do so, stuck on some technical aspect (like trying to get some placement or proportion correct, but struggling to do so), and at the end of it, I realize and remind myself that I should have just looked (like a person does normally, not trying to draw or paint), that I should have seen the whole including what it was, if anything, that I was drawn to. Sometimes the act of drawing or painting can get in the way of seeing.
I also like the more clearly rendered faces, like this one:
Thank you. The last one is of Michelle, one of my favorite models. (I'm not certain of the former model's name, shamefully. I've been poor about noting the model's name and dates on my work, but it is something I've made it a point to change.) Several of the local models are actors, or actresses (including Michelle), and they are thoughtful models. It makes a difference.
They have the look of economy and "simplicity", something which is far from simple to achieve.
Yes. Early on I have to get a sense of the whole, the general composition of values especially, some whole that starts to excite me. Without that, there's no way to keep it simple. Is this whole area going to be a simple light area, middle tone area, dark area, etc? If I don't see that early one or start to see it early on, there's no way to judge how to deal with any particular area. It's always the whole. Detail works within a whole.
I agree, simplicity is far from simple to achieve. I fail a lot.
Thank you for your comments.