White on White

I’ll admit to being very apprehensive about this drawing exercise. I figured it would be quite a challenge. In my new spirit of “just do what you can”, I shrugged off my worries, set up my scene — two white eggs resting on a white cloth napkin — and sat down to draw.

Oh, my! Where to begin? I decided the eggs themselves were the most easily-recognizable (and most easily-drawn) shapes, so I chose to start there. One thing I’m working on, as you probably know, is becoming more observant, spending more time looking than drawing, and I tried to do just that. To help me slow down, I set a timer for 20 minutes and resolved not to put my pencils down until time was up.

Here’s the drawing I did:

Two Eggs on a White Napkin – Graphite Drawing (Approximately 4 x 5-1/2 inches)

This, you’ll note, is a small drawing — a half page in my current sketchbook. While it’s not a great drawing, I’m going to say that it’s not really all that bad… is it? As a learning experience, I think this was a good exercise, and I am pleased with what I did. Yes, I used all of my allotted time, although the last few minutes were spent just looking at the drawing and assessing its good points and its weak points.

I did find, however, that the longer I kept drawing, the less I liked my sketch. For me, this is a reminder that I need to spend more of my time looking and less of my time making marks.

On the plus side, I was surprised that I got some of the creases and folds of the napkin looking as they should. That part was actually a lot of fun. I enjoyed looking at the cloth and noting how the values changed, and I tried to follow what I was seeing.

The most difficult part of the drawing was trying to get any reflective light at the bottom of the eggs. In doing so — or trying to do so, at least — I think one of my eggs ended up looking more like a potato than an egg, but at least it still resembles food!

I also got a bit heavy-handed with the shadowed edge at the front of the napkin. This was one of those things that happened as I was “tweaking” — trying to run out the clock.

My shading could be smoother in places, but I’m not going to sit here and continue picking the drawing apart. Instead I’m going to nod in approval and pat myself on the back a bit. I didn’t think I could do this drawing, but I did it anyway, and it’s not absolutely awful.

Sure I have a lot of work to do as I strive to improve my drawing, but what I’m happy about is that I’m feeling better about what I do. I’m shrugging off all my doubts, putting aside those apprehensions, and not worrying about the results. I’m practicing a process, giving myself permission to make mistakes, and learning to become more observant.

Drawing two white eggs on a white cloth napkin was definitely a challenge for me, and I think I rose to the occasion. And the eggs made a delicious breakfast afterward, so it was a pleasant morning all in all.

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