A monks face sometimes hold clues to burden of prayer they carry around where ever they may be – it’s the expression, the haunting eyes and slackened face muscles that has me curious. What is it they feel and think . . . how do they react to a world of which they are far removed?
Old Monk 2, a charcoal and graphite drawing (12×9) on Strathmore Paper, vine and willow charcoal was used for the monk and background, and 4H – 2H – HB graphite pencils for the cloth; tools used for blending were stumps, tortilium, kneaded and click eraser, and an artist brush. Drawing free-hand takes me a while to do an initial layout of a subject (4 hrs for this monk) and about 12 hours in total drawing time for this piece. Graphite was used for the cloth because of its reflective qualities and also it provides a slightly different texture than what the charcoal gives to the skin.
We had freezing rain, sleet and a little snow flurries (for February in TX, that’s unusual), in any event it’s dark out today so the photograph isn’t the best quality, but I think it represents him well enough.
Thanks for checking in ~ click onto the image for a larger view.
The reference image was from Elaine Cross an incredible photographer of pmp.
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I love this
Thank you so much for your beautiful comment, such a compliment – thank you!
so happy to see so many people appreciate your work… you’re always consistent
Thanks Heath – good writing to you!
Beautiful expression, Mary.
Thanks so much Jane!
I do believe monks experience, perceive and live life on a whole other level, very different from us the everyday sort of people and your subject certainly reflects that overwhelming knowledge and understanding of how everything works. There are great many details in this portrait which pull together and lend a strong character to this monk. He seems stronger than strong and at the same time more fragile than fragile. Marvelous work Mary, you really got under his skin and conveyed perfectly the essence and the spirit of a “Monk”.
Hi Eva, thank you so much for your feedback and support with these portraits. I totally agree with your thoughts on monks and how they perceive the world around them. This particular monk had such an intense, but sad look to him that I really wanted to try and capture what I was feeling as well. I think you read me well on this subject, I walked away from the final drawing with him still on my mind – someone that I’d like to have a conversation with. Thank you again – your thoughts give me insight in many ways. Have a lovely weekend.
May you have a wonderful weekend as well Mary!
Mary, your talent never ceases to amaze me. So much patience and peace expressed in this face.
Hi Elizabeth, thank you so much for your beautiful feedback – his expression is what spoke to me when I first saw him. So glad you enjoyed the piece.
Mary, what a beautiful portrait. Your details and drawing skills really shine in this portrait. I am drawn to his eyes, so expressive.
Hi Janell, thank you very much for your generous comments – drawing the monk was a great learning tool for me. Appreciate your kind feedback.
He shines with an inner peace, Mary.
Thank you for your thoughts Elena.
Yes, it certainly does make you wonder about what they are thinking and feeling. Another wonderful drawing Mary.
Thanks Rita for your thoughtful feedback, this one is an interesting character.
A haunting face! Well done!
Thank you so much, glad you enjoyed the piece!
Hi Mary! It’s as though a lifetime of worry is etched in his face. I wonder what he would look like if he smiled? Beautiful work, as always!
Thank you Elisa – it does make you wonder, what gives him peace.
He certainly looks as though he’s lived, Mary! Not just led a cloistered life. 🙂 It’s amazing how much expression you’ve got into that face!
Thanks Jo – it was his expression that intrigued me and am glad I was able to translate this humble man.
Mary, such excellent details on this one!
Superb artistry, Mary. You’ve really captured the wisdom of old age and the way his austere way of life has impacted his facial expressions.
Thank you Sylvia for your thoughtful comments – really appreciate it!
Thank you so much!
Nicely done Mary. You rendered his age beautifully with all his wisdom. I like the dark splash in the background giving depth but not taking away from the portrait.
Thank you Rhonda. Actually I usually have a background in mind when starting out, but this one I didn’t and I didn’t want a floating head. I also didn’t want anything with too much energy as it wouldn’t compliment his soul, so the splash on the right seemed to seat the Monk and still stay in the back. Thank you for noticing!
I think you handled it well! Bravo! 👍
One in deep thoughts. Loved looking closer at all the detail. 🙂
Thank Frank – the close-ups are so interesting, gets the character of this person on a more intimate level. Hope you are enjoying your break – I was thinking about your next play and wondered if you ever thought about doing a Pre-K through High School theme from a child’s perspective.
Now there’s an idea (student’s perspective) … definitely worth mulling over. Thanks!
He’s perfectly drawn and has the expression of many monks I’ve see. Like they’ve seen the world in both its joy and pain. xx
So spot-on Linda and that’s what I thought when I was drawing him. Thank you and for always being present – means a lot!
You have certainly captured the burden and the wrinkles.
Thank you Gallivanta – that’s what I was after, how to show the emotional side of the subject.
Beautifully done Mary. I really like it. There’s always such expression and intrigue in your portraits.
Beautiful description Don, means a lot. Thank you for such a compliment with my art – these portraits have been an interesting twist to my normal subjects.
What a wonderfully delicate drawing! The intensity of his concentration and his strength of character (i.e., his prayerful spirit and wisdom) was captured perfectly by your work, Mary!
Thank you Tom for your generous comment and description – there is a lot going on with this subject and I think that’s why it took longer than usual for me to develop him. Thank you for noticing what I was trying to achieve.
You’ve captured the years in his face – excellent!
Thank you Uncle John – this subject spoke to me the whole way through the drawing process.
oh this is fantastic! i love it!
long ago i did portraits at times for book illustrations, and the time spent studying the nuances of the faces always took me to a different level.. it was as if i stepped inside the psyche of the person, and it was spooky… i reached a point where i did not enjoy doing portraits at all – it was like being a voyeur.
do you sometimes get that feeling? the depth of this study suggests that you’re definitely on the same ‘vibrations’ as this monk…
Hi Z! Thank you so much – loved what you wrote and I can totally relate to what I meant about getting so deep within a character while drawing or painting a person, their psyche does start to emerge. You are right with this Monk I felt as much. Lisa your gentle soul and compassion for those around you I think naturally allows you to experience a subject on a totally different level than many others – it doesn’t surprise me that you would tap into the psyche of your subjects. I hope drawing portraits don’t take me down a path that takes the enjoyment out of it for me ~
Great work, Mary! Frame it up, pop it on the wall. 🙂
Thank you John – for your engaging action steps!
I so admire your talent. Drawing is not among the things I can do though goodness knows I’ve tried.
Thank you Lulu, what a beautiful and gracious comment to make – much appreciated.
He not only has seen burdens, he carries them. There’s something very good in the asymmetrical aspects in the mouth and nose and those lines in sharp relief on the neck are indicative of his inner strain. I think the eyes, though, being left dull as they are really shows the depth of the weight he is carrying. All put together, a most wonderful capture, Mary!
Hi A!, such deep and thought-provoking comments. Really appreciate your intimate analysis of the monk – it’s a way to see within the obvious. I really enjoyed your feedback – thank you so much.
Hi A! I meant to say one other thing w/re to your comment. Thanks for noticing his dull eyes, after I applied several layers of charcoal I purposefully went back and blotted the eyes with the side of my thumb to dull them. It seemed totally appropriate for his eyes to be there w/soulful life rather than bright and dark. Thanks again ~
Hah! And I work so hard to give you feedback and always feel inadequate in the scope of your talent! I’m so glad I captured your capture! 🙂
Thank you Cindy, much appreciated!
This portrait is so much like a remarkable BW photo that captured the moment…
Thank you Amy, glad you enjoyed the piece.
Oh, this is wonderful, you have captured this so perfectly.
Thank you Holly for your lovely comment.
it is always my pleasure to visit your outstanding and beautiful art work.
Right back at you Holly with your writing – that flows beautifully from your pen.
Thank you dear Mary, such a lovely comment.
A beautiful wise face that has seen much.
Thank you Emily ~ his eyes spoke to me.
Ah, Mary what an amazing portrait. You’ve captured his thoughts! 🙂
Thank you so much Marina, I was just about ready to sign off. Thank you for such a wonderful comment – have a lovely evening AND a great week!