I suppose it’s something of a milestone, but I finally finished the last of my ‘office’ paper, which was actually a huge box of tear-off printer paper from the days of the dot-matrix printer. Contemplating the fact that I’ve scribbled up that much paper is daunting, and I’m not sure if it should be a point of pride for all the practice or a crying shame of squander. At any rate, that paper had been destined for recycling anyway, and my direct reuse was a good a thing (thanks, anonymous donor, you know who are).
Switching to newly paper, was more difficult than I thought. I have a ‘thing’ about waste, and using scraps eliminates the ‘blank page freeze’. I ended up packing more scrap paper (ugly stuff with a defunct letterhead en-scribed on the back) which I used for the minute poses. Meanwhile, my neighbour to my left walks in, as always, carting giant sheets of brand new spanking white 140lb cold-pressed what looks like Arches watercolour paper. This makes me want to cry. This is the kind of paper that, if I lay out the cash for it, I hoard, somewhere safe, somewhere secret, for some special future project that deserves the million dollar approach. I can’t imagine marking it up for a warm-up sketch. It’s like watching someone burn money; or maybe she takes them home and develops them into masterpieces. That would make me feel better about it all.
So I have my hang-ups, and paper frugality is one of them. Necessity led me to using 8x10 office paper, and now, in all honesty, I love the stuff. It’s smoothness never interferes with the line and the image, and the pencils slide right on. Even brand new pages are cheap enough to play with, but unlike the newsprint ‘sketchbooks’ you can purchase from the art store, a nice white bond can produce a lovely finished drawing (I hate newsprint even for quickies).
I’d love to say something sublime, but for the most part, my drawing session was characterized by desperately trying to keep my jaws shut, and repeatedly losing the battle as my mouth cracked open into cavernous yawns. I did manage not to give in to the strong urge to lay my head down on the table and sleep, but this temptation took up a lot of band width in my brain, and drawing was difficult. Finally, after weeks of maximum pose times of 20 minutes, we get a long pose, and I just didn’t have the brain power to take advantage of it. I left my Stonehenge paper in the case, and used my office paper to make multiple sketches instead. I just knew I didn’t have it in me to sustain anything.
PS. if you haven’t already figured it out, my life drawing tuesdays are bloged about a week behind. I get home at 10pm which is way past my bedtime (it took me years to admit it, but I just really need 9 hours of sleep to be anything more than ‘low functioning’)
Images: White bond paper (New!), prismacolor pencils. 2nd image done in black prisma pencil, and my new purchase, a black prisma stick. I thought I’d try them out for fast coverage. In all honesty, it’s better reserved for works larger than 8x10 but this was a trial. It looks like conte but it’s a pencil crayon, soft, buttery and sticks tight. I tried out a neighbours conte just to compare (haven’t used conte in ages) and decided the prisma’s MUCH better. Not sure why conte has such a hold on the art tradition. I guess it sounds much more sophisticated than Pencil Crayon.
PPS. Life Drawing Hint: even if you can’t move for a different angle, get up and walk around to ‘see’ the pose in 3D. I was rooted into my chair, and thought I could get away with ‘guessing’ at the hidden/obscured body parts. I’ll remember this for next time.