Adding Unexpected Color

Hello all—a rather awful week on my end—lots of work!  But I was able to take my full Inventory Drawing class with Peter Hristoff, which was a very welcome break. 

As I’ve mentioned, Hristoff’s class calls for rapid drawing; Peter gives specific words to prompt each image, and then allocates about a minute or so per image.

Despite the fact that (i) it is a class—i.e. something to learn from; and (ii) that it is a class that moves very quickly, there is a still that very natural tendency to want to make “good” drawings; in other words, to perform, to excel, to make something worth keeping.

But as I’ve moved along, I’ve found myself letting go of that tendency a little. Of course, I still would like to make good drawings, but I’ve found that it is best to get feelings of performance (and the accompanying wish for acknowledgment) out of the way, and simply to respond to the prompt.

My wish to move out of performance mode has been strengthened of late because I’ve been so rushed! In prior semesters, I’ve tried to prepare for the class–get materials all set out before the zoom sessions begin, maybe even prepare some drawing surfaces.  But these last few weeks have been pretty fraught for me, so I’ve had to jump into class most of the time at the last minute, without much time to set up materials or surfaces. Honestly, I think preparing drawing surfaces is a great thing to do–as I noted a couple of posts ago, they can add unexpected depth and texture. But it’s been heartening to see that a lack of preparation can also have its good side, in that it forces one to just draw and not worry so much about the product.

In this past class, Peter focused on words drawn from Arabic poetry. Inspired by the idea of Middle Eastern tiles, he suggested that we do thirty one-minute drawings in one color, then go back and draw thirty more prompts on the previous pages in another color, and then go back and draw thirty more prompts on the same thirty pages in a third color. 

I followed this routine, more or less.  What was challenging for me is that (i) I used soft pastels (thick chalks) as those were the easiest colored implements I could find. (They are beautiful but not very exact for drawing.) Then, because the class moved so quickly, I did not have much time to choose the colors. I somehow landed with pale blue (that one was a choice), a dark green (that I thought, when I picked up the chalk, was going to be teal), and a pinkish red (which I repeatedly regretted!)  (I did sneak in a little yellow and lime green at moments.)

In the end, using colors that I felt uneasy about was freeing. And going back to previous drawings—fitting unexpected things into a drawing already started—was also very freeing. I felt, in other words, that I was learning!  I can’t really articulate what I learned—greater confidence? A greater willingness to use what is at hand? A more open view? I don’t know.  Still, I felt learning happening, and that is always something to be happy about. I post some of the drawings above and below.

I hope all are well in these uncertain times.  Take care. And thanks. 

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4 Comments on “Adding Unexpected Color”

  1. Helen Dehner Says:

    Wonderful, wonderful drawings ~~ I spy my favorite color ~~ bits and pieces of periwinkle blue!

  2. Katie Turner Says:

    These turned out great! Doesn’t it seem like the faster you draw the less your inner critic gets in the way? At least that how it seems to work for me. Great job on these!

  3. M Says:

    Wonderful sketches, Karin ~


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