Looking Without Getting Lost

Lea Colie Wight drawing of a seated female.
Lea Colie Wight drawing of a seated female.

I am sure I have said this before, but it's true and deserves repeating. Watching great artists at work can be so instructive, especially if they follow a general process of work. Lea Colie Wight does exactly that; she draws in a way that organizes the development of her figure drawing and while observing I am not lost trying to understand what is right before my eyes. Watching her drawing figures, I see the figure sketch emerge from construction lines at about the same time.

She makes several passes layering the chalk, starting with shadow, and going into the lights. Towards the middle to end of the drawing, she put in crosshatching across the form, not just for highlights but for lights as well.

Although I don't have her as an instructor, I have had the opportunity to watch Lea draw several times in the last months, and each time I am awed by her ability to capture the model in both an accurate and intuitive, sincere way. Even when the sessions I watched were done in charcoal, as opposed to pastel, I felt like I could reach out and touch the model's skin. And I could see the strength of her anatomical structure without pausing to think about it. The drawings were just all there. That's not to say there weren't subtleties that became more apparent as I looked at the drawings. There were, lots of them, and they added to my appreciation.

Lea Colie Wight drawing of a seated female.
Lea Colie Wight drawing of a seated female.

Note that the drawings are cropped. Obviously that decision is made at the very beginning of the block-in of the drawing. Lea did not do any studies or small figure sketches to determine where the cropping would be done or how the figures would be placed on the paper. She prefers to draw directly while recognizing that doing the studies is likely beneficial.

For me, in addition to doing sketches, I find that my good old viewfinder, bought to use outdoors in nature, is equally useful for me in the studio with a model, and just as essential. Not only does it help with seeing the pose, it allows you to see the negative space as well.

In some drawings Lea has been doing recently, including these, she has been experimenting with the relationship between black and white chalk, how they work together and, of course, how the media relates to the paper she is using, trying different things to get different effects. While the details of her experiments will have to wait, I hope you can see how powerfully she makes her statement.




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2 thoughts on “Looking Without Getting Lost

  1. I would like to read more about this ” looking without getting lost.” Is there any more info or a book I could access? I would love to read more!