Some parts of creating my art are more meditative than others. My drawing process is one of them.
I work with lead pencils filled with different weights. Usually, I start with a 3H which is a harder lead and lighter. Then on the second go-round, I switch to a 2H which is a little less hard and a slight bit darker. Eventually, I do my darker shadow areas with an HB lead which is what we all used in elementary school with our yellow pencils and pink erasers.
The motion I use is a type of squiggly form which can only really be seen when your nose is up close to the drawing. I obliterate the light lines I initially create when drawing the form of the flower so the edges are quite soft.
This slow rhythmic looping movement with the pencil was so familiar to me when I first started doing these tonal drawings. I felt in my hand and wrist that I’d made them before but couldn’t identify where but knew it was my handwriting.
And then one day I remembered the tactile feel. As a very young child, I baked my Betty Crocker cakes topped with chocolate icing. I made the icing by melting blocks of unsweetened chocolate & swirling into it some powdered sugar. With a spatula, I spread that soft chocolate creaminess onto the top and the sides of the cake using this same slow rhythmic swirling motion. I would spend as long as I was allowed to swirl and swirl and swirl by those sitting at the edge of the counter watching and waiting to dive into the eating stage.
That movement is so soothing for me that I have to remind myself to stop and declare the drawing done. Art is never really complete. You can caress it for eternity. It’s not like a cake that has a defined purpose, one that demands completion so it can be eaten. Drawing is endless. But eventually, I just have to “Ship It”.