On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shadows and folds

I'm still working on shadows and folds -- and plan to keep working on this for quite a while (read, forever!). I once had an art teacher who believed that was the really big secret to being able to draw, learning how to execute folds. She didn't think much of my work but I put forth quite a bit of effort and would have appreciated more direction. Now I'm working more on my own and will practice, practice, practice.

It's a chilly, drizzly wet day here in northern California but the weekend is expected to be back in the 80s. That's disconcerting. In the past, we have had early rainy seasons that absolutely dried up by November and left us in near drought conditions. So, while the early fall has been most welcome to everyone but the grape growers, I hope the warm lull is just that, a lull.


  1. I see you ask advice on EDM about drawing folds.

    I think drawing folds is basically like drawing anything else: one has to learn to look in the right way.

    My advice would be to not work too much in colour for the moment, first learning to draw well in monochrome.

    Get yourself a book titled 'Drawing on the right side of the brain' by Betty Edwards: she teaches one how to look at things. (She also wrote one titled 'Drawing on the artist within', and it works just as well, so you could get either of them.)

    Another useful thing that I would advise is to find pictures of folds by master artists and copying these. Go check sites like http://www.wga.hu/index1.html or www.artrenewal.org ; both have web galleries with gazillions of old master works. One cannot do too many copies of master works. It's a great way to learn, and it teaches one new appreciation for these works.

    Lastly, try not to work too much from reference photographs. Instead take a towel or sheet, drape it across a chair or something, and try to draw what you see.

    It does take a lot of practice, so don't get too frustrated.

    Glad to ear the cancer is in remission. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She was lucky: they caught it early and it looks like she'll be okay. The same is probably true for you. These days, many doctors consider cancer to be something of a chronic disease rather than the death sentence it used to be, because these days it is very much treatable. Just keep on going back for regular checkups, so that if it returns, they can see it in time to knock it back.

    Good luck! I think your work looks good. My feeling is you'll learn very rapidly.

    Brian (EDM mailing list member)

  2. I totally agree with what Brian said. Using a simple towel or plain scarf, something without a pattern to practice on first will be much easier than the coat you've done here. Before you even put pencil to paper, just take some time to study the subject. Keep a light hand and have a good light source. Something that will define your lights and deep shadows. And yes, practice, practice, practice. This really isn't all that bad. You've got the right idea about using values and no lines. You'll get it and there'll be no stopping you! Great work, Barbara.


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