I got a comment about my drawings the other day which has prompted me to explain something about them.
This is a drawing of Paul I did in 1991/2. In those days I was using very hard pencils (2H and 3H with HB for the darkest areas) and building up my drawings in layers.
Forgive me using these drawings again but I don't assume anyone has the time to look at blog archives! This is the one, drawn a couple of weeks ago, that got the most negative comments (not from anyone posting here I hasten to add). Done with soft pencils and probably took a couple of hours.
And this was the much 'better' portrait.
Now I don't like the first one and I agree the second is more pleasing to the eye but why is it better? The first one expresses how I feel about my face. It emphasises the best and worst in a slightly exaggerated way but because it's not so realistic does that make it 'worse'? Actually, it was the word improvement with regard to my drawing skills that really got me thinking(and this from someone who has seen my drawings). Surely if I could draw Paul the way I did over 10 years ago then trying to draw realistically is not my aim?
This drawing of Paul is now framed and hanging on the wall or I would scan it to show it more clearly. It was drawn around the same time as the other but it represents a big turning point for me. It was the closest I've come to my (then) quest for perfection. I knew what I wanted to achieve, how long it would take, what materials and techniques to use and it came out exactly as I envisioned. There is nothing I would change, no more marks that would make it any more perfect than it is.
Since I've joined on-line quilting groups I've realised that perfectionism is one of the seven deadly sins so I should explain that this is my version of the words. Perfect in the sense of having acheived what I wanted.
But then I was left with a very odd feeling. Now what? And what for?
I can barely see this on the screen but it's a page in a sketchbook I had at the time. I must have filled about six pages in total but only one with sketches of Paul. In these few marks I can see, feel, hear, smell, touch Paul and remember so clearly what he was like but those highly polished drawings don't capture that at all. Here is Paul looking at a toy on his highchair that had a suction pad to keep it on. His eyelid when he was sleeping had a slight gap as if he was about to wake. His hands were always curled and collected little clumps of dust! At the bottom of the page I actually put his foot on the page and drew around it so I'd remember the exact size of them!
How much more is there in those few sketches! Yes, I do love my earlier drawings but they took months of my life. While they had another important function for me at the time, I do regret that in trying to achieve perfection I missed the point. Or rather I wasn't brave enough at the time to fail (just to sketch) and risk the criticism. Ironically, by posting that 'not so great' portrait of myself I feel I've come a long way. It may be a snail's pace but it's better than nothing!