I’ve had the worst cold in history. This cold virus should be packaged as a weapon. After the first two days, going stark mad with boredom but having trouble standing due to dizziness, I finally got my wits about me and said, “Duh, draw.”
I chose difficult subjects at first but could not make it through a whole drawing before my energy gave up. Then I hit upon a great idea. I would draw one object, my Vietnamese soapstone carving of Buddha’s face, Again and Again and Again. And that is what I did for a week. I chose pencils and Pitt pens, but added Neocolor II watercolor crayons because I always hated them (unwieldy with a fat point like a child’s crayon) and yet, they were the right size for the bed and I could use my new water-in-the-brush toys. I would conquer the Neocolor!
In the beginning I did a couple of folded books with Pitt pens, but that was cheating. Within my comfort zone. I wanted outside my comfort zone, which is pencil, pen, eraser.
I began tentatively adding the Neocolors to the sketch, sketching over pencil. I enjoyed the way the colors moved with the wet brush and emphasized lines. Above are two sketches I actually like. Hooray!
But the point was to push into my discomfort, so I began sketching with the Neocolors, off with the training wheels of the pencil. Using lighter crayons and advancing to darker as I got more certain of the shapes. Wet brush began to do more than just define line, it began to shade. “Crazy Sick Woman Who Thinks She’s a Buddha With Hair Curlers” appeared in my sketchbook. (I cheated and dragged myself out of bed for Prismacolors — also within my comfort zone — just to save her from dark ugly black lines all over her face as I destroyed her for all posterity. Now she is laughable but okay.) I made “Aries Buddha” with the ram horn purple nose, also laughable but okay. Then Lucille Ball Buddha and Glamour Pin-up Girl Buddha — or “Indian Woman disguised as Buddha with a Funny Hat” came into being, and I was frustrated all over again. NOT what I wanted to do, but laughing cures colds, surefire.
Then I had a long talk with myself. I realized I was still playing it safe. So I stepped off the page. I love the colorful buddha face above — all Neocolor, fast, wet. I tried just showing the shadows, and that was a grand experiment, below, then I gradually brought back some detail. I was having some fun now. I almost like the purple Shiva-Buddha With 5 O’Clock Shadow) and Mitchell loves Coral Buddha.
Out of that batch, the two below are my favorites. I have a long way to go but I am not well yet — so there will be a Worst Cold Part Two!
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