The devil in this case being the seduction of details. I went to Philip Solomon's open studio last night and started out reasonably enough, using my newly-learned technique of roughing out the pose with the side of a short piece of soft charcoal. But I knew I had 4 hours and very quickly I was lost in the details. As you can see, I didn't even finish marking out the whole pose. Somewhere around the chair arms I started to notice all those interesting little shadows, and wrinkles, and, oh, those hands! Pretty soon I was lost. Only when I was finishing up and ready to go home did I realize what had happened and I was left with a huge left shoulder and a shrinking head. Well, it was fun anyway. Guilty pleasure. I think the forearms and hands are pretty nice. And I met some nice fellow artists. A night spent drawing can't be all that bad.
But I'd have to say getting lost in the details has to be one of my biggest faults. I know I'm not alone—I happened to observe students at work recently at a workshop and there they were, refining the details of their lop-sided drawings with tiny needle-like sticks of charcoal while the teacher serenely worked on his own painting over on the other side of the room. My first real drawing teacher, Max Ranft, would never have let that happen! I owe it to him to always be aware of the overall drawing. And my current teacher Douglas Graves, through his book “Life Drawing in Charcoal,” is always demonstrating how to start on a drawing by roughing in the whole thing. I better get to work.