Drawings by Jean Vincent
Below many of the pictures on my site it tells what "stage" the picture is in. Here is what I mean by a stage:
A stage is achieved when I have finished one session of drawing on a particular picture. Sometimes I stop drawing (and thus finish a stage) because I don't have more time or I'm tired; sometimes I stop drawing because I have run out of ideas or inspiration at that particular time; and sometimes I stop drawing because I'm actually doing very well and I'm suddenly afraid that if I continue I might mess up a good picture. Whatever the reason is, when I stop that particular drawing session, I have finished a "stage" of the drawing.
When I know what stage it's in, it's because I have all the old scans, and I just count them up. I don't always have those old scans around, though.
I know that some people would prefer to see only the "final" drawing, but I like to show how I work (and, if I only put up the ones I considered 'finished,' there wouldn't be many on the site!); besides, I think it might be of interest to some people to see pictures that are unfinished -- to see what goes into these pictures...how I run into "problems" and how I try to solve them, and how some of the pictures actually never do get better (I eventually throw those out).
You might be interested to see an example of several stages of one of my drawings. It's quite old compared to most of the drawings on the site, and since I drew that picture, my approach to making a picture has changed somewhat, and in fact I don't approach all of them in the same way, yet I do start out with it "quite rough" and then clear it up as I go along, in one way or another. HERE IS THE PICTURE THAT SHOWS ALL ITS STAGES. It may need a little time to get started, but once it gets going, it changes by itself from one stage to the next - After the first time through, they come up more quickly.
By a ROUGH DRAFT I mean a drawing done very roughly, meant not to be a finished picture, ever, though I may have two or more "stages" of a rough draft. I often draw the rough drafts on the back of paper that has been used on one side (like a flyer or a letter or a printed page or an ad) or on the back of an envelope, though for a "color rough" draft, I usually use colored paper. A rough draft is always "rough" and sometimes "rougher" than usual. It is my first attempt at a composition that comes from an idea I have for a drawing. I try the idea as a rough draft to see if I think it will work as a drawing. It may be more like a "doodle" than a drawing, but sometimes it actually turns out to be a better picture than the drawing I do of the same subject! I only put those rough drafts on my site that I do intend to make a good drawing from; eventually they are removed from the site - unless they start to look so good that I can actually think of them as a drawing!
THE DATES ON MY DRAWINGS
The dates I have below my drawings are the dates on which I last worked on them. After scanning a drawing, I keep at least one copy with the date of the scan as its name, and that's how I have been able to date even my oldest drawings for the site. .I'm so glad I did that from the beginning. Note added on June 23, 2007: I have been photographing, rather than scanning, my pictures for a long time now, but for years I scanned them. - Jean
This is how I work: I start a picture I feel like working on, and then when I am "stalled" on that picture, I either go on to a new subject, or go back to one that I hadn't finished but am newly inspired to work on. I have found over the years that this is a good method for me -- This way I am always working on a picture that is really fun to do. There are always dozens of pictures that still need work, and it gives me a good feeling to know that no matter what kind of mood I'm in, there's a drawing around here somewhere that will fit right in (and if I can't find it right away, I start a new drawing!).
I read an article by Mel Gussow (in the New York Times online) on Arthur Miller, who was, at the time the article was written, 88 years old and still writing plays. I was astounded to find that he shares my strange approach to creative work.
"'I leapfrog plays,' he said during a recent interview. He explained that he will start a play, then put it aside, and often begin another. Stacked in his studio at his home in Connecticut - and in his mind - are beginnings, or at least ideas, for future works, just waiting for a spark that will send him back into action . . . . . He started "Finishing the Picture" about 10 years ago, and after writing 20 pages felt stymied. Years later he picked it up again."
"Woe to you the day it is said that you are finished! To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul - to give it its final blow; the most unfortunate one for the painter as well as for the picture." -- Pablo Picasso