I’ve finally gotten my drawing space somewhat in order after moving from Portland, Oregon, to Memphis, Tennessee, in May. I have wonderful southwestern light and lots of space.
I’ve missed doing my daily drawing practice. I’d hoped to keep an excellent travel journal, but it turns out, I wasn’t that good at it. I get car sick if I try to draw while I’m in a moving vehicle, and when we stopped, I was too tired to do much.
Moving always unsettles the best laid habits, but I’m slowly getting back into both writing and drawing daily. I confess I started drawing and painting earlier in the month and was appalled at what I produced. I’m trying new techniques and experimenting with acrylics and ink.
I’ve also been reading a lot. My dear friend reminded me of the novella The Lover by Marguerite Duras. A beautifully written work with the immediacy of poetry, I was glad to re-read it and hold it in my heart again.
I was intrigued by the cover photo of Marguerite, which was taken when she was fifteen, I think. I decided to try to paint her. The first one, I drew in walnut ink, then used the ink for washes. I wanted to the capture the sepia tones of the photo.
I decided to try another in watercolor. I washed the paper with a very light sienna. After it dried I used Daniel Smith sepia watercolor and gold gouache to try to capture her intriguing expression.
In the book, Duras writes,
“Between eighteen and twenty-five my face took off in a new direction. I grew old at eighteen. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, I’ve never asked. But I believe I’ve heard of the way time can suddenly accelerate on people when they’re going through even the most youthful and highly esteemed stages of life. My ageing was very sudden. I saw it spread over my features one by one, changing the relationship between them, making the eyes larger, the expression sadder, the mouth more final, leaving great creases in the forehead. But instead of being dismayed I watched this process with the same sort of interest I might have taken in the reading of a book.”
A face is so much like the reading of a book. I can only capture fragments from them, but I do so like reading the faces around me. The curve of a line, the depth of a shadow can completely alter an expression or an identity. I see so much clearer when I take the time to draw.