Jan 12, 2012

A Woman with a Past


Natalie gave me a series of books by Francine Rivers that basically took me away from reality for about two weeks. Five books, five women, all from the Bible. They are called fiction because much was "filler" to complete the stories and to allow the reader to feel right there. But because of these "fillers" I learned more about these women and was led to reading the scriptures.

Rahab was not the first, but she sticks out.....or was the first to enter my mind when thinking of this project over a year ago. I had to really think about why, and I think the answer is....because she had a past.

She (by most scholars and pros) was a harlot, she betrayed her people, and she boldly asked for something in return for helping. Is that giving with a cheerful heart not expecting any pay? Nope. I relate to this. I have a past, I've been and sometimes still am nasty to others, I think a lot about my needs and myself, I like to control others, etc. The list goes on.

Here's the beginning thoughts. Her pose and the place.
Yet she showed that she believed in the LORD who sent His people to take down the strongest city on the Promise Land, Jericho. She had faith in the LORD.

What I loved so much about Francine's story of Rahab was how she wrote the possible thoughts that were going through Rahab's mind about the LORD and who He was and what He was doing......and if He could love her.

Then, she began to trust Him....turn away from the destruction and pain....and turn to Him. She got to live in the Promise Land because of that faith and trust. It's astounding to me how wide and deep and far the love of God is.

Okay, so the process...it's a lengthy one. I first started with some soft tunes to get me where I needed to be, a bit melancholy but faith filled. The drawing of Rahab on the left page was the first response (above). The drawing of Rahab on the right page of the sketchbook was more about studying her legs. It's a weird perspective....but I felt I got it. Then the drawings of environment came in.

Figuring out the setting.
I struggle a lot with environment, and I think that, along with composition, it will be the biggest struggle for me with this project. So with that said, I had to do some research.

I knew that what I'd find for Jericho would probably be a lot of ruins that wouldn't help much, so I looked up Palestinian architecture since that is the location today.

SO beautiful!!! You never really see it in the sketches, but I plan on taking time on some of those details in the architecture for the final piece. It makes me drool.

After research, I re-sketched her, trying to figure out details of the clothing, seeing if I could draw the pose again, decide the lighting...and although she looks great, I felt it lacking.

Configuring details.
The whole point of the project is to "feel" and "be there" with the character. Shoot, if I don't get that how is the viewer?!

Nope, this wasn't working and I knew it. The hard part is letting it go. And I did. I decided I needed to sketch.

Candace gave me a great piece of advice she said to sketch from reference something other than the project. Paraphrasing of course, but ya get the gist. So for the rest of the afternoon I sketched random images from around the studio. It helped, because by late evening I was ready to try again, and I think I got something.

Final sketch and layout.
There are still some adjustments to be made, but I understand this one. I can smell and feel the breeze, I can figure out her emotion, her yearning to understand God and wonder where she fits in it all, how His love could include her.

Now the tricky part...the placement of that sketch. I want freedom with these. I want open space to play.

I was reading Stephanie Law's blog today and she said something pivotal. It was if you don't draw enough, what you do draw becomes precious, thus you work harder and possibly over work to make it perfect...special...no more fun (paraphrasing again). I totally agree and I can feel it. I feel stiff in thought and execution. I teach all of the fun techniques that I know in watercolor to my students, but use only two or three.

Why?! Why am I not exploring and applying my own teachings?
Hopefully I will in these pieces, which is why I want the 12x16 space!

Which brings me to my final bit of this project....practice, practice, practice.

And I need your help!

I need to sketch more, just to sketch. I need to loosen my mind, hand, and imagination. I need to become comfortable with my favorite mediums again to where I can run free with them and enjoy the act of drawing/painting.

Please go to my Facebook page and post a word, or two, or three, or however many you want. I will sketch it in my wee little red sketchbook that I will be carrying around with me this year. I need a lot of words! Is there something you'd like me to draw? Go enter your words!

1 comment:

Kim Vanlandingham said...

I don't belong to facebook, but I really like what was said about the sketches being "precious" if we don't do it that often. How true is that!!