Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sam I Am

"You use contour all around the face 
so no matter what light Lois steps in, 
she'll photograph well and she'll look good 
no matter what angle you see her in."

                                                                                                   -- Robert Williams

Self portrait (contour drawing) 7-10-13

"The outline of your future path already exists, 
for you created its pattern by your past."

                                                                                                       -- Sai Baba

Sometimes when I feel creatively blocked, I do blind contour drawings to get things flowing.

Blind contour drawing is an old art school technique used to train students to really see their subjects, without looking at the paper. As you draw, you keep your eyes fixed on the outline of the model or subject, meticulously tracing it with your eyes as you draw its outline on paper. You go slow and steady, and you never lift the pen or pencil from the drawing surface, so the finished image is one continuous line.

If it was made of yarn, you could pick up one end the whole thing would unravel.

The end-result is often a drawing that is not very good. But that's OK. The point of blind contour drawing isn't to produce a masterpiece. The point is to develop your drawing skills. That said, the drawings can be kind of interesting, often distorted, and I think revealing. They often uncover or magnify a little truthful something that I didn't see before.

Today's face is a blind contour drawing of myself. I drew it while looking at my face in the bathroom mirror. But when I looked at the paper, the tangle of lines looked a lot more like my son Sam than it did me.

People always comment on how much Sam looks like my husband. And he does. They share many obvious similar traits and characteristics, for sure. I have looked hard to see the resemblance between my son and me. It's there, but below the surface and a little harder to see. I loved how this contour drawing helped me uncover a striking similarity without looking for it. Without looking, period. Even though it's a rudimentary nothing special kind of drawing, it kind of magically captured a similarity that made me feel a really cool connection with my child.

It's a fusion of us both.
Sam in me.
Me in Sam.
Sam I Am, green eggs and ham.