Day 80 #100horsesbyroxanne

Having spent the last few days freeing up my drawing I wanted to see how that would translate into my life drawing, so what better way to spend day 80 of the project out in the British sunshine drawing horses 😎.

I taped my willow charcoal to my long bamboo stick and began to draw, well...TRIED to draw. The charcoal kept on catching on the surface of the paper again which was forcing me to try and scribble with it to try and get the marks I wanted. This is exactly what happened back in the studio the other day. Perhaps it's the angle I'm at with the paper being on the floor? Maybe it'd work better if it was on a board on an easel in a vertical position? Or maybe the stick is far too long which gives me no control whatsoever. Either way, I could only make random marks which didn't amount to much so I opted NOT to continue using the bamboo and have decided not to include those in today's blog. Instead I held the charcoal in my hand. 

Over the course of the project I've learnt a variety of ways to draw the main structure of the horse quickly and wanted to see how this could be interpreted when drawing a REAL horse. It's always going to be trickier working from life as the animal is constantly moving and it certainly was very difficult.

When a drawing is hard, especially when working from life, the temptation is to pack up your things and go and draw from a photograph instead. At least a photo doesn't move! BUT, no matter how tough one finds it, you MUST continue on. I felt this today and even began doubting myself as an artist. Yes I know! Crazy isn't it?! Questions like, Am I really a true artist? If I was then I'd be able to do this and would find it easy. I know that this isn't true and that to be really good at something then practice is what it takes. I know I'm good at what I do but this particular part of my practice I'm not so great at yet and that means I've got to keep going just as I did all those years ago to get to where I am now. Learning and growing as an artist is a continuous process and there's always something else to master. 

I spent about two hours watching and drawing the horses in the field today. I'm finding that just standing there watching them and their behaviour is just as important as the drawings themselves. If you don't truly look then how are you meant to draw them accurately? They were so interesting to observe. When I arrived they were happily grazing but as the sun got stronger you could see them beginning to tire and get hot and they'd begin to snooze and stand still! Yay! 🤩. I could also start to see the hierarchy emerge from the two herds on either side of the fence throughout the time I was there. 

After using the willow charcoal for a while I then switched to a fine liner pen. I like using pen as it doesn't tempt me to erase any mistakes. I do find that I tend to scribble when applying it though. I'd like to become more confident in creating definite lines, especially when working from life so that I can see the areas I need to improve on. I can maybe practice my 'lines' by doing some warm up exercises before I draw. However, I'm rather happy with these little gestural studies for today and compared to the life drawings I did at the very beginning of the project I think I've vastly improved and for me that's definitely a step in the right direction 👍.

Sketching using willow charcoal

Charcoal life sketch of a horse grazing.
Charcoal life sketches of horses grazing.


Sketching using a fine liner pen.

Pen life sketches of horses grazing.
Pen life sketches of horses grazing and standing..

Pen life sketches of horses standing.


Drawing the horses. They're just a stone's throw away from my studio.


Photo of Roxanne Gooderham drawing horses from life.


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