Do you keep a sketch book? If you are like me, the quick drawings in my sketch book are free and spontaneous, while often my ‘real art’ becomes tight and controlled. I fight getting locked into my approach to drawing, I get scared that letting loose will take my drawing/painting into a place of no return…..Here is a really great exercise in approaching drawing/painting that forces you to ‘let go’.
1) Pick a painting, photograph or other digital image that can be altered in Photoshop – (better yet have a trusted friend pick an unknown image for you so you do not know what you are going to draw/paint)
2) Open the image in Photoshop and rotate the image upside down
3) Go to Filters: Blur: Gaussian Blur and blur the image so only contrast is evident. Save image.
4) Continue to reduce the blur of the original picture, sharpening the image in small increments and save each stage as a separate image. Now you will have a bank of images to work from. Draw or paint the image starting with the most blurred version, and moving to the sharpened image. At the last stage, turn the image right side up and compare your art to the original. I guarantee you will have a freer, more fluid version of your drawing than if you tried to create a copy from the original. Here is my example:
I picked the painting, The Conversion of St. Paul, by Caravaggio
Here is a picture of my final charcoal drawing: