An Act of Creation

June 1, 2009
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Soft light lines. Curving and dipping, they fill the paper, imitating the picture. It is a good beginning to what will hopefully be an accurate portrayal;an artist’s favorite challenge is to make nature’s flaws look beautiful. Small overlapping circles. Again and again, my pencil retraces the pattern,striving for perfection. Though there will be flaws, when looked at from adistance, the piece will have a smooth first layer of shading.


Darker. The lines slip away as the shading gets heavier, and the piece begins to come to life. Slowly, the darkest areas begin to pull back as the lighter ones pop out. But it is nowhere near finished.
How to create the allusion of a soft bumpy texture with only hard lead? Patience, shading, and imagination. And a little bit of lying. Artistic license allows me to do that. Carefully, I layer the different leads, and the piece begins to look three dimensional. Now, how to make an object look alive on unchanging paper? A meticulous mark here, a dark line here, a light spot here.And the long stringy texture? Alternating between hard and soft strokes, long and short, straight and curved.


A few lines here, a couple more overlapping circles, and I step back. It is finished.


My eyes gaze back at me, my curls fall around my face, my mouth frownsthoughtfully, as if studying me right back. I smile at her, remembering all theneck cramps, the smudges, the moments I wanted to rip and tear until only smallpieces remained of what could only be a hopeless attempt. But I would never have believed that the product of my countless long hours could look so refined.

So artistic.
So much like me.





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