Today in class, we spent the entire drawing session on one face. Starring, mark making and drawing lights and darks. The day had been kind of crappy up to this point, but I was already in love with my photograph’s eyes. Those eyes. Eyes! I love eyes.
Charcoal to paper. It felt good. A little light here a a little dark there. And then I got to the nose. My eyes were too close together and so my measurements didn’t translate. Plus either from being worn or the lighting, there wasn’t a lot of great information about the nose. My brain, being ever so thoughtful, decided to jump in to help. But slowly, my brain started reeling between what I could see on the page and what I thought I should be able to see on the page and in between frustration mounted. Mounted and mounted.
And let’s be honest, today wasn’t great anyway. I’m locked into this thinking-about-Mom cycle. The miss has been pretty deep the past few days and it’s in the quiet of drawing where I feel it most often. So to be standing in class, cascades of charcoal billowing around me, a terrible drawing forming before me, I kind of wanted to scream. But I kept working. My new friend in the class, Debbie, clipped her drawing to the wall. It was beautiful. The greys, which I couldn’t seem to handle today were delicate and expressive. The eyes were soulful. The lips were LIPS. She even had rendered the shadows of the glasses beautifully. We’re not suppose to compare but boy, was I now. Everything she had succeeded doing, my drawing lacked.
When Phil our instructor called time, I almost said out loud a loud, “Thank God.”
“Come talk to me if you’re experiencing trauma,” Phil said both jokingly and seriously.
I walked straight to the sinks. There, Debbie asked me how today felt.
“It felt pretty bad,” I said honestly. It felt good spending 90 minutes working on one face but emotionally (ego wise), it felt pretty bad. “Yours looked amazing,”I continued. “You’ve got to feel pretty good about it.”
The slightest of snorts came from my right. I looked over to her.
“Wait,” I said. “You don’t like yours?”
The look on her face said that she hated it. Hated herself. Hated everything about today. It probably looked a lot like my face’s expression.
I started to object but instead I just started to laugh. And she started to laugh. And good God us humans are complicated and learning to draw is hard.