Collateral study exercises

Edgar Degas – Giovanna Bellelli


These days I’m doing some additonal work with an exercises from Robert Kaupelis’ “Experimental Drawing”.

I chose this image because I spontaneously liked it: it represents Giovanna Bellelli, Edgar Degas’ cousin, in a charcoal sketch. I am supposed to “live and fall in love with it” for a few days and , of course, I have to introduce her to my family and friends. I will write my conclusions in a few days but in the meantime your thoughts and feelings are worth more than a penny for me. 🙂

(The picture comes from Pinterest, since I had a hard time finding it with the referenced online libraries.)



Insights and Inspiration

Insights on Drawing&Writing

Maybe some of you find that I write too much and draw too little. It’s only fair that you should think so, as sometimes I do too. But I have discovered that “journaling” is the best way for me to calm my “débutante” fear of pencil and paper. I find it natural to mix writing and drawing, since I think that images spring when words reach their boundaries. I take my own sweet time and I really enjoy the ride!

So, please, bear with me…



“Draw like a Boss” by Ashley Edge

I recommend this very enjoyable book as a helpful and easy-to-go companion on your journey to drawing. Ashley Edge, it’s author, approaches drawing from a very playful perspective and he teaches through his own experience, with all the psychological drawbacks and revelations, therefore the more precious. It is a “hands-on” book, containing well desguised theoretical notions. Last but not least, it is an open-minded work, written with passion and commitment to drawing and dedicated to all those who fearfully start on this pathway.


Kickstarter project by Ashley Edge and Elinor Rooks, ISBN 978-0-9955182-0-9


Insights and Inspiration

Insights about exposing Art

I am following a line of thought that started in one conversation on the OCA forum. It’s about showing versus showing off one’s artistic creations.

I had to admit that each and every artist must have a little grain of vanity and feel the need to be praised, including myself. I don’t know how Art Schools used to teach during the second half of the last century and which were the trends. But every Art Book that I have browsed or read during the last years, since I became more and more convinced that I should pursue Drawing to a professional level, tought artists to display as much as possible, to not hesitate using social media and to steadily work towards building a solid portofolio.

Nevertheless, I have met talented artists that found to be demeaning exposing their work on some kind of the nowadays social media. I have heard their convictions that only art galleries are worthy of their work. Needless to say that those persons are not fulfilled artists and that they are always critical and bitter towards creations published and advertised on social media, pretending that it is cheap work.

I find it terribly sad since it’s a waste of valuable talent and of human spirituality. Times have changed, superfluous pride is counterproductive and I find that artists should first learn to mingle before standing out in their own personal style. I find that the capacity to adapt is one of the keys of an artist’s long term survival. Speaking in terms of fashion, falling into the myth of the poor and misunderstood Artist is no longer fashionable. 🙂

My question is: how do you show without showing off? Or do we actually have to show off?

This is one of the reasons that make me avoid using Facebook. I’ve been off Facebook for more than a year. I was getting tired of the imbued with themselves personalities of a majority of users, with their relentless preoccupation for their image or projection into other people’s minds. For me Facebook became a synonym to showing off and to competition.

I do not believe in the principles of competition in Art. We are not equal in a sense where we are complementary pieces into a bigger spiritual puzzle. Each and every one’s input is valuable, since it shows another side of the die and completes the larger picture… And then there is always something more to learn or to improve, humility being a step forward to progress.

I'm doing my own illustrations although they do not amount to much right now... :)

(I’m doing my own illustrations even though they do not amount to much right now…)


Insights and Inspiration

Childhood flavours…

When I was very young, 6 to 8 years old, contrary to nowadays, I have never concerned myself with not being gifted or not being able to draw. I was just going with the flow, drawing and colouring, never getting tired of it. I was stretching my imagination and the results were always good and promising. I was actually feeling and enjoying unhindered progress. The walls of my room were practically wallpapered with my creations and I enjoyed looking at them every day :). What a feeling!

One amazing souvenir is my box of Mr. Sketch coloured markers. They were brought by a friend of our family from Canada and since they were nowhere to find in Romania at that time, they were extremely special to me. I remember my amazement when I received the box since the markers were strongly fruit scented and the scent was lingering on the paper a very long time after the drawing was finished. This was the scent of a wonderful and creatively rich era, this is the scent of my Childhood.

Then I grew up and the colours have sadfully dried…

I recently bought a box of Mr. Sketch in rememberence of the old one and of the happy times that I have so much enjoyed. Still, the new ones will never be as shiny or as beautifully perfumed as the ones in my memory…

Let me introduce them to you:

When and how did you know that you needed to draw?




Exercise 1 – Warm Up

I don’t know about you but I for now find it difficult to be spontaneously creative… which can be extremely embarassing and even frightening for an aspiring artist. While doing the warm up exercise, whenever I think of something to create I get a locked in feeling: nothing comes out although I sense that the answer is at the tip of my fingers.

I made two little spontaneous drawings but while I was drawing I was feeling some kind of an abyss, since I didn’t know  how my drawing was going to turn out. Also I found my lines clumsy and somehow… lost, unexperienced, with no purpose.

The first drawing is self explanatory :). The second one is trying to depict an Alabama house from the beginning of the 20th century. My inspiration was Michael’s McDowell classical horror novel, “The Elementals”. This is how I imagine it, sorrunded by the mystery and the tension in the novel. The house drawing was an opportunity for me to find out that I am interested in specific architecture belonging to a specific time and place (research subject to follow: Alabama houses dating from the last century).

I am currently reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It is a wonderful book, along with its workbook, teaching how to unlock creativity, for all becoming artists, no matter their orientation. I highly recommend it, for all of you who find themselves confronted with the same kind of creative block.

(I have to open a parenthesis to make some amendements: while I love and I am thirsty for all information concerning drawing and while I will gladly share with you all my sources of inspiration, I think that reading too many books or following too many drawing  sites can actually be counterproductive. The focus dissipates in too many directions and the result can be void and discouraging. So my advice for you and above all for me 🙂 is to stick essentially to the main structure of our course and to the referenced bibliography and take it with patience and resilience, one day at a time.)

The good news concerning the creative block is that I think creativity is born while… creating. I do not believe in talent per se: while geniuses exist from early childhood (Michelangelo, Da Vinci etc) I believe that anyone can learn to draw through patient and repeated exercise, which will strenghten and expand the neural circuits and synapses responsable for the habit of drawing. Talent is only the perk.

I find myself very creative in my daily activity but in my working field I master most of the basic and advanced pieces of the puzzle so I can play with to an innovative and useful purpose. Through analogy I conclude that with Drawing is going to happen just the same. All needed are diligence and steady exercise.

(Some old exercises, done for warming up).

Do you find yourself confronted to a creative block? How do you deal with it?

How do you warm up for a drawing session? Do you actually draw light sketches or do you prefer some other artistic activity, like singing, dancing, playing an instrument? Or meditation maybe…?