I should be doing laundry, paying attention to an upcoming exhibit, any number of other necessary things – but ultimately, this is the most necessary thing at the moment. To draw. Every drawing is one step closer to where I want to be, which is where I don’t have to erase holes through the page to get the mouth right. But the hair flames, the gown floats, the coat feels like velvet and satin, so I’m getting closer. I salute the actress, Allison Ocha Lawrence, who smiled the smile of confusion and arched her eyebrows with, “Oh, really?!” so well, who clenched her lovely fist with subtlety and conviction, who played the Beauty to the Beast without the happy ending. I can only imagine what life would be like with that glorious head of hair. And I salute the costume designer, and her vision, and I am so proud of her. SO proud.
One of the drawing schools in London (called London Drawing aptly enough) specializes in life drawing using actors and actresses in costume, live and in the theatre. This was the group who orchestrated the Tower Lock-In at the Tower of London, which I absolutely loved. I thought it would be fun to try that approach with the production of Othello that my daughter Corey Jay costumed at Pomona College. I saw the play last week and met the actors, now working from photos courtesy of Corey and the other cast members, my plan is to sketch the main characters. I wish I could have sketched “live” during rehearsal, I’ll have to figure out how to make that happen someday…
So here is Othello the Moor, as portrayed by Marshall Anderson. A bit of self-critique now, thinking out loud so to speak. Portraits… tricky. He is angry, hurt, frustrated, sad, confused. But he is inescapablly so very Large and In Charge that he leaves himself no options… nothing like some simple body language to catch in a few angles, but I’m liking it. Skin tones… pretty good, although amazing how many individual colors went into producing something akin to brown skin. Face… aargh. The actor is far more classically handsome than I was able to convey here – obviously, I opted for a deep shadow to make up for not being able to really puzzle out how to get the left side of his face properly, especially his eye. Plenty of room for progress here. Fur collar… really fun to see that silvery gray (presumably fox?) fur can be drawn effectively using pink and lavender. And the icing on the proverbial cake: talons on the epaulettes. If all else fails, simply squeeze the life out of your prey. The essence of a tragic character conveyed right there on his massive shoulders. Way to go, Corey Jay, Costume Designer! Up next: Desdemona
The main purpose for the trip of course was to marvel at Corey’s costuming of Othello. This was her Senior Thesis Project. The Moor was intimidating in his fur-collared cloak, featuring epaulettes of eagle claws and green leather scales, Desdemona was luminous in burgundy silk and velvet, Iago oozed just the right amount of slime in his Nazi Youth-colored military garb – breathtaking all the way around. Unfortunately, even the lovely costumes didn’t keep everyone from getting killed in the end – those tragedies always leave me wondering if we couldn’t just once have a Do Over for the plot of the final chapter. Hopefully I’ll be able to capture some more of the costumes and characters soon.