Feeling Blue

Long time no blog. But maybe I’m back in the game now that October’s over – I don’t know whether it was the transition of the seasons, or the half-term holiday, but I just haven’t been feeling like sketching recently.

Self portrait blue charoalHowever, I hope that’s all over now. When looking for some mount board recently I got my eye on this blue board, with a view to trying a charcoal/chalk portrait. I wasn’t fussed about who, which is just as well, as it ended up being me again. Funny how I keep being on hand to model when I want to sketch people…

I tried to keep the palette restricted, and ended up using charcoal (as planned), plus white and blue conte crayons. I dived straight in without any guidelines or prep, which goes a little way towards explaining why some of the elements didn’t end up quite as they should be. I was trying to concentrate mainly on higlights and shade, without too much faffing with the mid-tones. I’m not sure I’ve achieved this. The camera has, as usual, emphasised the whites more than is evident in the original, so what you see here isn’t quite how it looks in reality.

Interestingly, the sketch didn’t turn out to have the strong charcoal lined quality I’d imagined when I set out, probably due to the fact that I kept rubbing lines out with my fingers, leading to a smoother, slightly more contoured texture than I’d hoped for. On the plus side, I think that my previous self-portrait practices in pastels have really helped me today, particularly when it comes to speed of working, which feels like progress.

34 thoughts on “Feeling Blue

  1. Hi Rebecca, I can totally identify with you about October, school holidays always throw me off course. I think that your portrait is amazing, the blue board really adds drama to it.

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  2. Said the naive tree to the flower, “Why don’t I feel like making fruit all of the time? I thought I was a creative spirit.” The flower replied, “Silly tree. It will be winter soon. You have a right to rest. Shed your woes. That’s just how nature goes.”

    I think it’s a beautiful piece, even if you’re a lil melancholy. I like it.


  3. Welcome back!! I was wondering where you’d been up to creatively.
    The portrait came out really nice. And I know EXACTLY what you mean about wanting a rougher finish, but then smoothing it out with your fingers. There’s something REALLY satisfying about mucking in a spreading chalk & charcoal around. Plus the combination of the two techniques I find always looks really dynamic.

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    • Ah, thanks very much Cat, it’s reassuring to know someone else has these dilemmas too! Maybe the satisfaction comes from some deep childhood memory of finger-painting or something… or maybe it’s just too much fun to resist.

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  4. Having just taken a break myself, due to house guests, I can identify with the difficulty of getting back. One drawing at a time!
    I really like working on colored paper, doing both highlights and darks. This is a good drawing. Both photos and scans can emphasized the wrong things, sometimes I do both if the image isn’t too large for the scanner. But often neither satisfies. Although sometimes it looks better after a little Photoshop! (K)

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    • Yes, one drawing at a time is excellent advice, Kerfe. There’s something so attractive about having a coloured surface to play with, isn’t there? Not having to worry about the background for starters… πŸ™‚ I don’t do Photoshop, but wonder whether I should start; it’s just that in my experience this eats up more time than actually doing the picture in the first place! πŸ˜‰

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    • Hahaha, too right they’re different, as none of them looks entirely like me!!! πŸ™‚ I do think that trying different things helps to keep me interested. It’s funny you say yours always look cartoony, as when I set out on this portrait that’s the vibe I was after, but I just couldn’t make it happen… Perhaps what we’re experiencing is a manifestation of ‘personal style’? (whatever that is!).

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