The Great Charcoal Marathon

Artist’s Log: July 29th, 2014, 11:30 pm
32.5 Hours remaining, 2 of 6 drawings completed
Project: Six 22×30 charcoal drawings focused on a unifying theme.

Two drawings were completed early on during the quest, but discipline has grown lax in recent weeks and now I am tasked with completing 4 drawings in less than two days. Discipline continues to be lax, however, and after completing half of a grandfather clock, I abandoned my artistic pursuits and spent the rest of the evening in the local pub in good cheery company with a glass of ale at my elbow. Becoming drowsy, I retired to my berth for the night.

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Artist’s log: July 30, 2014, 10:30am
21.5 hours remaining, 3 of 6 drawings completed

The grandfather clock was completed in the hours of the morning to the sound of an audiobook of “the Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. In addition to smearing charcoal all over things, I am getting a lot of reading done in this manner. I have proceeded to listen to “Love Among the Chickens” by P.G. Wodehouse, a lighthearted tale about a chap who, despite his complete lack of knowledge concerning chickens, is drawn into a chicken farming scheme by a friend who, if possible, knows even less about tending to chickens. (For example, the ignorant fellow uses the incubator to dry his shoes).

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Artists log, July 30, 2014, 1:00 pm
19 hours remaining, 4 of 6 drawings completed.

I relished the challenge of drawing a glass decanter with its multitude of edges, etchings, and facets. I am now brewing my third cup of tea and diving into the inadequately-lit interior of the family homestead to sketch an old telephone, which would be moved out to the studio but for the fact that it is bolted to the wall. A table was dragged within viewing distance of the subject, causing the living room to be impassable by foot. To reach certain crucial areas of the house, the weary traveller must crawl and squeeze under and between various items of furniture.

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Artist’s log: July 31, 2014, 12:30am
7.5 hours remaining, 6 of 6 completed

Crippled by exhaustion, I stooped to careless coloring-in of large areas with no attempt whatsoever to allude to shadows or texture of the surface. My mission complete, I retire for the night.

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Artist’s log: July 31, 2014, 7:30 am
30 minutes remaining.

I feverishly apply Matte fixative to the charcoal to prevent smudging, inhaling a great deal of both fixative and charcoal in the early morning breeze. After wolfing down a quick egg, I Sally forth.

Artist’s log, supplemental, August 2, 2014: This project was extremely time-consuming and stressful. But I take comfort in the fact that it was not until drawing #6 that I felt the creeping sense of loathing for charcoal that I had feared would come over me. In my class that morning, we all hung out artwork on the walls in the hallway and perused each other’s work, like an art gallery. Seeing those things on the wall instilled a great sense of pride in me, and as I stood with a pair of classmates and looked at my work, I said, “It was a nightmare, but I would definitely do it again.”

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