Natural History Arts

Can I Really Finish this Giant Drawing?

 
Lake Drawing WIP, Day Nine   Copyright Terri Wentzka 2019, all rights reserved. Graphite on paper. All photos Terri Wentzka.

Lake Drawing WIP, Day Nine
Copyright Terri Wentzka 2019, all rights reserved. Graphite on paper. All photos Terri Wentzka.

One of my biggest concerns when I started making this large scale drawing was whether I could finish it.  Would I enjoy working on it, or would it be torture?  It’s hard to finish a piece of art and do a good job with it if you don’t like doing the work.  If a project is really making me unhappy I believe that in most cases the best solution is to abandon it and work on something else.

This was not a trivial worry.  By the time I laid down the first lines of the sketch, several years of thought, a year of prep, many hours of help from other people, and quite a bit of cash had already gone into this project.  

That’s enough to freak anybody out.  I’ve actually seen artists become paralyzed by big projects, including one who was awarded a huge amount of grant money for a project and then couldn’t bring himself to do anything besides talk about the idea.  As I started the drawing, all I could do was cross my fingers that that wouldn’t be me.

So what did I learn after the first eleven days of work on this project?  Can I finish it, or am I in deep trouble?

I love it.  Truly.  Working at this scale is crazy fun.  It stretches my abilities, makes me think hard, and forces me to work through challenges.  Consider it my version of parkour.  

Actually, now that quite a bit of the sky has been finished, the drawing doesn’t look nearly as big as it did on the first day.  I’ve been thinking about ways to set up for an even larger piece once I finish this one.  So there’s your answer.

The photo on the right below shows my progress on the rocks.  This part is trickier than it looks, and I’ve already spent two days trying to get it right.  It’s getting there, but still has a ways to go.  This sort of detail work moves more slowly than the scribbly work on the storm clouds, so I’m expecting the rocks and water to take a long time to finish.  On the positive side, the detail work isn’t as hard on my wrists so I can work for longer stretches at a time.  Much fun ahead.

Stop back again in October for another progress report!

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Lake Drawing WIP, Day Eleven [detail]   Copyright Terri Wentzka 2019, all rights reserved. Graphite on paper.

Lake Drawing WIP, Day Eleven [detail]
Copyright Terri Wentzka 2019, all rights reserved. Graphite on paper.