Pam, charcoal on paper, 16 x 13, copyright Pat Aube Gray
Each Tuesday night artists who belong to my "Studio Club" come to my studio and draw or paint from a model. Following a family tragedy in 2007 followed by shoulder surgery, it was well over a year before I was participating again on a semi-regular basis. I found that my interest in this had waned, even though, as a portrait artist, it shouldn't, and working from the model used to be one of my favorite things to do. At the start of 2009 I vowed to participate regularly once again and get myself back in the swing of things.
Well, I was there, but my ability to do well seemed to have disappeared! Whatever I once had I didn't have anymore! I was painting in oils and wiped clean my canvas repeatedly, seemingly unable to produce anything the least bit satisfactory.
Trying to work my way out of this block, I decided last week to draw instead of paint. I love to draw and thought it might make a difference if I changed mediums. To further distance myself from what I had been doing unsuccessfully, I also decided to draw in charcoal, something I rarely do. (I usually draw in graphite or conte pencil.)
I am happy to report that this seemed to do the trick. Getting out of my element, so to speak, working in a medium that I still have to "work out" because I am not used to it, forced me to concentrate on the medium and not on the actual drawing process. So the drawing ability, which is more or less second nature, kicked in while I focused on the use of the charcoal. I think I wound up with an acceptable rendering of our model, Pam, and, hopefully turned myself around!