Nude, pencil on paper. © Sarah Marie Lacy

Nude, pencil on paper. © Sarah Marie Lacy

I’m really out of practice when it comes to drawing from life. True, I did a whole lot of it this year for my nude show, but I used to have a practice of doing a life drawing daily. Somewhere along the line, I stopped. Now, I’m kicking myself.

I’m getting frustrated with my abilities, my skill to translate what I see into an accurate representation on the page. I have high standards for myself – you could even say I’m looking for perfect. I’ve been admonished and warned about striving for perfection in my work before but it’s never done me too much harm. If anything, it’s done me good.

Now I know some will argue with me – that you’ll only kill your work by aiming for perfect and I both have to agree and disagree. For me, perfection is a long term goal. I can accept that a certain piece, on its own, might not be perfect, that there might be flaws. That’s fine. I see it as being a snowball effect – today, it was far from perfect, but tomorrow I’ll pick up a little speed and I might inch a little bit closer.

I completely understand that I may never reach perfect. Again – I’m fine with that. But it’s still my goal. I’m nothing if not ambitious when it comes to my artwork. I only want to create the best that I can create at that moment, I only want to work towards something bigger, something better. It’s about the evolution of my craft, and right now, I’m pretty annoyed at myself for neglecting it.

While I’ve been devoting myself to painting, I forgot about my foundation – my ability to draw. I really noticed this in my recent experiments with oils. Because I’m still practicing, instead of my usual detailed preliminary drawings, I’ve been freehand drawing with paint. Oof. It’s painful.

It’s especially obvious on a self portrait I’ve been working on – and drawing yourself is hard enough as it is. It’s really highlighting my weaknesses. I’ve reworked this painting almost 5 times now. I started it in May. It’s challenging, frustrating, exasperating. One day, it might be finished.

But more than anything, like a flashing neon sign, it’s telling me that I need to practice drawing. I need to spend time studying line, and relearning how to see. And quickly, before my work suffers for it.