the natural way to draw

Potted Violets in White; graphite on paper; 5.5" x 8.5"
I've returned again to Nicolaide's instruction book: The Natural Way to Draw.  I love the idea of a regimen and the discipline of all his neatly laid out schedules.  And I adore the materials he requires: manila paper, 3B graphite, watercolor in only Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Black, lithograph crayon, etc.  But the practice of his method can be quite unpleasant and frustrating because it seems like you're deliberately drawing in a most unnatural way.  The hope is that the efforts will yield breakthroughs and new insights.  And I think the hope is well-founded.  But there really is no way to measure one's progress.  Maybe by recording my experiences on this blog I'll see some concrete evidence of improvement.

Ironically, the drawing above came about after a frustrating attempt at contour drawing.  I simply wanted to break free and draw my own way.  This, I can see, is my natural way to draw with lots of tonal variations and selection of emphasis.  Plants are so complex with all of their overlapping elements and changing light on dark and then dark on light.  They're definitely a favorite subject of mine. 

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