I worked on the etching ink portion of No. 28 (on the right) and No. 29 (on the left) today, and it was interesting to note how different the experience was with each of these drawings. No. 28 flowed perfectly, I felt that I could put the marks down with confidence throughout the entire drawing experience, and I seemed to be able to retain a cohesiveness and gesture in the overall portrait. I feel like most of the work has been accomplished with just the etching ink portion, and that the amount of reworking I’ll be doing with the exacto knife and lithographic crayon is going to be minimal. This is the best experience I can hope for: having an initial foundation to the drawing that is confident and strong which paves the way for details to simply fall into place.
No. 29 on the other hand was a completely different story; I fought this drawing from the very beginning, and continued to do so until I finished working for the day. The facial expression is contorted and awkward to begin with, with an emphasis on the mouth, chin and neck area that I haven’t done before. Already the drawing feels fragmented, without the kind of flow and relationships to hold the drawing together. I know with this piece that the details won’t fall into place, rather there will be a lot of reworking of the surface and form before the details can even begin to be introduced. As I worked the piece, I kept telling myself that a particular area would have to be resolved with the lithographic crayon and exacto knife, because I knew it wasn’t working in the etching ink. I’ve definitely had pieces in the past that I’ve had to fight, and sometimes I’m able to resurrect the piece, and other times it just experiences a slow and painful death. I’m not ready to give up yet on this piece; there’s still so much that can happen after this.