06 April 2011

[art] Another Diary Girl: Elizabeth Taylor

2595.My last diary girl came out pretty well. I wanted to push my envelope a little, and found a picture that really spoke to me.

In a Time magazine article from a couple weeks back about the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, there was this big beautiful face-shot that, despite being in black and white, captured her facial beauty very well I thought. The famous eyes, darkly outlined, kind of looked right into you. Also, the overall theme was rather simple and involved a monochrome palette, perfect for graphite, which, due to its eternal friendliness, has always been a co-favorite with pen and ink.

So, out came the diary, and this is the result:

Liz Taylor in a Diary

Here's a closeup of the drawing itself:

Liz Taylor in a Diary Closeup

So, I'll be honest about this one … I'm not 100% pleased with it. I didn't get the physical appearance as close as I'd hoped, and for some reason, at this resolution, it's plain to see why. The eyes are too big. The mouth is too narrow. The vertical proportions are off. I tried for Liz Taylor, but what I got more resembles a blend of Audrey Hepburn and Carrie Fisher … which are/were not unbeautious actresses, but when you're trying for Liz, a bit wide of the mark.

However! It would be a mistake to assume that because I didn't get exactly the result I wanted that I consider this a failure. I'm unstiffening my visual and drawing muscles after a too-long hiatus; I would have been overjoyed to hit the mark but that's not really a practical thing to want. Things rarely go that well when one is tentative. But I did use shading to indicate volumes; I did use tone, rather than line, to define objects, which is what happens in real life; I did, at least, get the damned woodless graphite sticks … the second greatest art supply after pen'n'ink … out and used them. And when you've been creatively disabled, as I have for a while, just the feel of these things getting used is redemption.

I have the basic muscles. They're still there! The thing is, to flex them. I'm going to try to draw a bunch of lovely women, and then after that whatever strikes my fancy, or maybe during, and keep putting them in my diary and putting it up here for all the world to see.

This is hard work. Creating art always is. But there's good hard work, and it doesn't scare me much anymore.

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