I’ve been enjoying Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. Late last summer, you might remember, I purchased a used copy of the book from Amazon and I’ve been using it as a “how-to-draw” textbook for the last several months. I’ve had fun following along with the lessons, and I’ve learned a lot about loosening up (when needed) and keeping my marks more controlled (when needed).
The only problem I’ve had with this book is that I keep losing it. I do some drawing in the studio, but as often as not, I take my drawing pencils upstairs and draw at the kitchen table, just as I did when I was first learning. It’s comfortable, I guess. Or I grab my “art go-bag” to do a little drawing on the go, on those occasions when I’ll have a little “waiting time”, such as when I go with my husband to his retinology appointments. Sometimes I take Bert Dodson with me — well, his book, at least.
A few days ago I was excited to start another drawing project, but when I looked in the studio for Keys to Drawing, it was not where I expected it to be. Oh, no! I hurried back upstairs. Nope, not in the kitchen either. The guest room? The bedroom? No. And, no. How about that go-bag? Nope, not there either.
I’ve kept my eyes open for it, expecting it to turn up, but even now, after several days of being “on the lookout”, I haven’t come across the book. This is one of the most frustrating aspects of art for me. Having a nice-sized art studio is very nice, but I’m struggling to keep track of things.
It’s not just Keys to Drawing, you see. Despite my best efforts at organization, despite even recently putting labels on a lot of storage bins, I still can’t find what I’m looking for.
Yesterday before beginning an oil landscape project, I wanted to try a new technique I’ve learned — using oil pastels to make the initial sketch. I went to the supply closet where I keep art supplies I don’t use often. I was sure that’s where I’d put all my pastels. But, no.
Every day it seems to be a new search for something else. The problem has been exacerbated a bit, I think, by having Flower Child, our precious kitty, in the studio. She’s a curious cat. She wants to get into everything! That means always picking up and putting art supplies away. It means never leaving anything out where she might sniff, chew, eat, drink, or walk.
Sometimes it feels that the more organized I try to be, the harder it is to find anything at all!
At this point it seems the only thing I can do is to start all over again with my studio storage. That’s probably a good thing. I have dozens of oil paintings on my drying rack that need to be sorted. Some are worthy of framing and hanging. Some will be useful for practice — I always enjoy taking old paintings and re-doing them a bit, just to see what I can do. Some paintings will be marked for the “paint-over” process. I’ll scrape off as much oil paint as I can and start over with something new.
My oil paints have definitely gotten a bit disorganized. I’m using a new storage box — one of the “cat-proofing” changes I’ve made. I’m wanting to go through my paints and re-stock on colors I’m running low on. That will be a good thing.
I need to empty the trash cans. clean off the shelves, and change a few things on my bulletin board. There’s so much I need to do!
Wasn’t it only recently that I was cleaning up the studio? Yes, but obviously I never really got things in order. It’s frustrating to lose things. It’s frustrating, too, to waste time each morning looking for supplies I need. And, of course, it goes without saying that the more new art supplies I get, the more frustrating it becomes.
I am a huge part of the problem. I don’t always put things away, obviously. I’ve got to be a bit stricter with myself, strict enough to keep from constantly losing things I really need.
As for Keys to Drawing, I still haven’t found the book, but until I do, I’ll just keep practicing the last lesson I completed. I was doing a bit of gesture drawing and continuous line drawing. Maybe this is a sign that I need to work on those exercises a bit longer!
So, that’s my plan for today. Drawing exercises first, and then tackling the studio re-organization project. Again. I guess learning to manage my resources and setting up my studio effectively and efficiently is one of those things I’ll have to keep doing over and over until eventually I get it right.