Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Not been entirely idle

In the last couple of months, it seems from reading here that I've been totally preoccupied with health-related things, and I suppose it's mostly true, but while thinking about the big Life and Death issues, there is plenty of time to do things when energy permits. (Albeit, mostly things involving a lot of sitting down.)

We had been called in to the Gemelli to have a consultation appointment when the histology report came back positive for cancer in the margins. We had to wait quite a while in the rather stark hallway outside the oncology office and I was going to go mad if I didn't do something with my hands and brain.

Fortunately, having been to the Lateran recently to get the feast-day plenary indulgence, we stopped in the bookshop and I bought postcards of the 12 magnificent Borromini statues of the Apostles, and even more fortunately, had brought one along to the appointment. I had intended only to do a little study of the hand and surrounding drapery, but well...

The paper is very toothy in the leather-covered sketchbook I just bought which is often good, but presents challenges.

A great place to buy beautiful leather-bound sketch and writing books (with refillable paper inserts) is a cartoleria just behind the Pantheon, I think it's just called "Cartoleria Pantheon" but the brand name of their gorgeous stuff is "Manufactus". (Anyone who ever wants to buy me presents can start and end there.)

I had been meaning to do another copy of this Leonardo drawing since I had done

this one a year ago and had intended to do them periodically as a way to measure my progress.

A friend of ours came to visit and I wanted to give her a present so it seemed like a good time for another try.

Getting better, I think, though infuriatingly slowly with all these interruptions.

Started the next Bargue drawing in class, this one is the first I've done in charcoal. Delayed by surgery and by Andrea's stay in Australia until April. But getting the knack of the charcoal technique and could immediately see how much closer to painting it is than graphite.

Andrea said that when she comes back and resumes classes, I am ready to do the cast drawing segment. Should be more or less functional by then, (should the test results come back as we hope).



Bill White said...

Do you draw in silence or is music involved? I find that Bach's works for solo violin help my mind along in orderly paths when I'm writing computer programs.

BillyHW said...

Is it true that some people's brains are wired toward math and others toward art?

Anonymous said...

I caught that Miss Trickiness. What, exactly, are you referring to by "cancer in the margins?"

Is this report pre-Latest Unpleasantness, or post?

Don't try to slide one by me. Harrumph!

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


no idea. I know that most of my life I've been totally hopeless with math, but I think that was because I was never really taught with any care. My mother's undergraduate degree was a double major in marine biology and mathematics, and she went on to do engineering and music. But I didn't cotton on to math until I took an adult upgrade course based on Euclid's geometry, and I rocked the course. The teacher asked me why I was in his remedial class and I said that, believe it or not, when I started I couldn't recite the times tables.

I think, however, there has been quite a bit of research done on this subject. I think much of it is geared towards figuring out the differences between men's thinking and women's, perhaps in an attempt to improve the way girls are taught mathematics.

I should be interested in seeing something on it if you find anything readable.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


I do a bit of both, though I find talk radio intolerably intrusive, and when we are working in the studio as a group, there are long periods of very deep silence. When it is an open three-hour class, there is quite a bit of chatting, but when there is a live model and the poses are timed (at about 13 minutes each) over a period of three or four hours, there is total silence during the work periods.

I have neighbours upstairs who occasionally are loud as only Italian women can be. I recently bought on sale a wonderful set of Bose computer speakers and I have begun training them that whenever they start shrieking at each other, they WILL get the Four Seasons. It works quite well, and I hope to maintain this training to the point where the mere sound of the Four Seasons will produce absolute silence.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Jon, no, this is nothing you don't know about. It was the information session we had following the previous minor surgery. We are still waiting for the histology from the large surgery last week.

Anonymous said...

My personal theory is that when modern girls of normal intelligence cannot do math, it is due to the combination of bad teaching and lack of handwork. - Karen

Anonymous said...

Your drawing seems to me outstanding- although I am not an expert I am usually very critical on most art. In comparing the two Leonardo imitations, both seem good although I can see that the second one seems to have added depth to the realism in the face. The drawing of the St. Andrew's statue (I believe that this is St. Andrew) is excellently done in my view- also with a great amount of depth and realism. I am wondering if you have always been so talented naturally gifted from childhood.


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


you must be new here. For the last year or so, this blog has focused on my drawing classes, which I started from nothing whatever.

We have also extensively discussed whether such a thing as "talented and naturally gifted" exists. The consensus is generally, no. I have said it many times, that this is a skill like any other that can and emphatically ought to be learned and taught, but that it has been lost along with most of the traditional areas of education in the western world.

Mark S. Abeln said...

One of the interesting characteristics of Euclid's method is that it is both unrelentingly logical as well as being simultaneously constructive. Both head and hands are used. And Euclid is poetical, and so the heart is also involved.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you found the pen store. I bought a beautiful silver pen there, but could never remember the name of the store.
Jennifer McConnell

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

That whole neighbourhood north of the Pantheon seems to be dedicated to fancy pen and paper shops.

df said...

Great to be kept abreast of your progress, medical and artistic (let me know when you're prepared to take a commission).
You remain in my prayers.