Natalina is pastry chef and owner of Pasticceria Natalina, an Italian pastry shop in my neighborhood. It is said on the website that they make the best Italian pastries on this side of the Atlantic. But I have to tell you that I have been to Italy and I have not tried anything better there! Natalina’s pastry is the best I ever had anywhere. Made on site in front of you (the kitchen, the shop and cafe are an open space, you can see Natalina and her husband working) the confections are fluffy, light and flaky and are created to delight your senses. And let’s not forget her gelato and cookies! That’s not your usual Chips Ahoy, they are not made to withstand a delivery truck, but to crumble and melt in your mouth and create a taste sensation akin to poetry. And this is from a person that doesn’t like sweets.
This portrait took me longer than usual because of hands. I felt Natalina’s hands were important in this portrait both because of what she does with them and for their expressiveness. When I showed the portrait to George, my drawing teacher, and complained about complexity he asked “Why are you doing this to yourself?!” meaning why add difficulty and time to my already tight schedule. The hands doubled the portrait time. It is a very good question. I guess I am doing this to myself in order to see if I can manage this.
#25 of 40. Graphite, Moleskine Cahier sketchbook
I think hands are so important in figure drawing. At times more important for the expression than faces. Yet when drawing a hand of a model I am always guessing, have no idea what’s on the other – invisible – side. This book teaches how construct a hand, in any position. I am thrilled to know, not guess or suppose, where to attach a hand to a forearm, how to position fingers, how to curve them. Amazing how everything has a logical geometric explanation to it – the fundamentals. Burne Hogarth is a genius.
I have more hands drawn by now, but am too lazy to do more scanning. I will draw more still, am not done by any means. These are basic forms, measures and construction blocks. Later in the book he is getting into stresses, actions, foreshortening, communications, gesture and behavior. Fascinating. I have my work cut out for me.