I’m starting to kick into high gear to work on these 10′ x 4′ drawings for the Davis Museum exhibition in the fall. I spent yesterday and today at Wellesley College moving all of my sculptures and supplies from my office to the printshop. I arranged everything to be sure that I could observe natural lighting on the sculptures as I worked on the drawings.
The scale of these drawings has already proved to be logistically challenging; at this size, the Dur-Lar is quite heavy and awkward to move around. Each drawing has three layers, which means that every time I have to move to another layer it requires quite a bit of physically maneuvering on my part with the Dura-Lar. These are the largest drawings I’ve ever made, and it’s exhilarating to be on working on this grand scale.
For the past three days in the studio, I’ve been focused on transferring my reference sketch to the Dura-Lar. I sketch each figure onto a sheet of tracing paper, which gives me the flexibility to move the figure around until the placement is right. I trace a very light contour of each figure onto the Dura-Lar which allows me to map out the composition in advance of the final drawing stage.
Once I have a contour marked for each figure, I go in and do the first pass of tone to generally state the figures and the reflection in the water. I’m very insistent that I do a first pass of every figure in all three compositions before I even think about developing any part of the drawing. This process is tedious, but it’s easy to get lost if the entire compositions aren’t blocked in from the very beginning. The fact that the drawings are layered prevents me from being able to see the entire composition all of once, so I keep detailed “maps” to remind me which sculptures, figures, and reflections are matched together. I’m hoping that by tomorrow I’ll have the first pass on all three compositions complete, so that I can really get deep into the drawing process.