Posts Tagged ‘drawing from memory’

Sonja sketch 1I was thinking about Sonja a lot lately.  She was my cousin, and died tragically recently and was very unhappy until she died, and she was only 52 years old, just 2 years older than I am, and it was right around her birthday that she died.  I feel really sad that Sonja didn’t have the kind of life that I wished for her, ever since I got to know her when we were teenagers, and we spent a few days together at my grandmother’s house.  This is how she was back then:

She really didn’t smile much, and didn’t talk to people very often.  Mostly she acted like she wanted to be alone, but really, she was lonely.  She was chubby and had poor body image and very low self esteem.  But when she decided to talk to me, I found out that she was really nice and interesting, and honest, and had a lot to say that I thought was very worth saying.  I don’t my siblings ever really got to know Sonja, which is too bad, because she was worth knowing.  I really hope that she has a lot of peace in her soul now.  I really liked her.  It just seems unfair to me, that I feel like she never really had a chance.  This is just a quick sketch, and I had no reference photos of Sonja, either from childhood or as an adult, but this is how I remember her back then.  I may do a more finished picture





Here’s a 2nd pass at some revisions to the sketch,still all in graphite.  I think I will work more on this sketch and develop it, perhaps in colored pencil, acrylic, or another mixed media, since I really have no pictures of Sonja from any age, and I want to try to capture a particular memory that was special to me.  For some reason, it seems to be important to me to memorialize some things visually for myself about Sonja and perhaps myself as well, don’t know yet. 

More to follow as it evolves in my head and with my hands.  This image was especially difficult to begin since I had no reference photos of Sonja at any age, as mentioned before, but now that I have my hands in it and have started, I am getting more and more feeling about what looks right to me, though admittedly, this is based on childhood memories alone, so reasonable minds who were around at the time may differ, however, the memory that I am putting together had a key visual theme to it, and there were important reasons that both of us were very aware of how we saw ourselves and each other at the time.  More on that later.



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I LOVE this picture!  I call the big pecan tree at my grandmother’s house the “family tree".  It was the center of my universe of bliss as a child, and considering my “family history", it is the most accurate representation of any healthy parts of family and bliss and connection to the good parts of family that were available to me, and that time was when this was the most true.  I included photos of that tree in my first 2 journal pages: “Little Girl Bliss” and “Family Tree.”  Those of my siblings who were old enough before Grandmother moved away from the house in the country, including myself, all used to LOVE climbing on the pecan tree and playing on and around it.  Many many wonderful memories of many kinds in, around, and in the vicinity of that great tree.  In this picture, the cornfield is behind me, and I am facing the driveway by the back of the house from this angle.  That’s definitely me in the picture, of course.  Happy moments!

Hanging Around the Family Tree

This was done entirely in colored pencils—a first for me.  I am trying to learn how to use colored pencils better, as my last piece was the victim of “wax bloom” and by the time I discovered what was the source of the haze, I had added other media that made it impossible for me to correct it.  I may go back and do that one over again, at least the background, but I’d have to start from scratch on the background portion and lay over the rest of the image as a transfer.  But for now, I am busy constructing all of the images that I want to do for a series of “memories” from around my grandmother’s house and vicinity.  This is the second or these drawings that I have done so far.  The first is a quick sketch (aka “stage 1”) done in graphite and charcoal and I’ll upload it shortly.  I’m still not happy with my media skill with colored pencil coming out of this one, because I am still not getting the depth of color that I want before I have difficulty getting the paper to accept more layers, and I’ve seen colored pencil drawings that did achieve this, so I see potential to improve.  Could just be the cheap paper I’m using, or how I am constructing the layers.  I’m applying layers with a lighter touch with multiple layers in the buildup, and I’m using a workable fixative between sets of layers to avoid wax bloom and regain tooth, but I still don’t get back consistent tooth after applying the workable fixative as I feel there should be after about the 10th layer and then applying the workable fixative.  Maybe I need to apply more layers of the fixative, or be more careful about skin oils or other pollutants that are getting on the paper, or something else?  Will continue to work on refining technique with the pencils.

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