Monday, July 9, 2012

A drawing of the James Caird - Part 1

I wish I could say I have long been fascinated by The Endurance expedition and Shakleton’s incredible real-life adventures in Antarctica, but in reality it wasn’t all that long ago that my friend Grace introduced me to the book Endurance and thus got me entirely caught up in that amazingly captivating tale of heroism and survival against more than all the odds.

It’s an entirely unbelievable story; that Shakleton and his crew would undergo such torture at the hands of the icy Antarctic. That they would live through so much, and yet be met by some greater horror of nature. But least believable of all, is the blatant fact that after all that nonsense the entire crew, Shakleton and all, would survive the entire voyage. Not a man lost. Incredible as it all may seem, it is pure fact. No fiction, no exaggeration; the voyage of Endurance and her courageous crew is absolutely solid truth and a historic venture that ought never be forgotten.

If you have not read Endurance (Written by Alfred Lansing…) before now, I would like to highly recommend finding it. Buying it online, ordering it from the library, or purchasing it at a used book-sale for an attractive bargain (As I did… Yep, I’m cheap.) are all perfectly acceptable ways of getting your hands on that beautiful narrative on the topic. (And it really is an excellent read. Not only is it absolutely stuffed with historical facts, all of which I found to be enthralling, but it is written in a really exciting and suspenseful style which keeps the reader quickly turning pages to learn what happens next.) It, most-definitely, is an excellent read!

The same friend that introduced me to Endurance (Bless her soul, I honestly don’t think she was expecting me to be as enthusiastic about the whole expedition as I ended up being…) came for a visit with her family about a week back and brought her copy of South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917 The Photographs of Frank Hurley which we sat down to look through together. I was absolutely and entirely swallowed up by the amazing full-page photographs on the pages. One of the larger photographs was a large black and white print of a number of the Endurance’s crew pulling the James Caird which is mounted on sled runners. (These times of pulling the smaller boats like the James Caird were tremendously difficult for the crew, and they gained little ground per day…)

We were both struck by the beauty of the photograph and I decided quite suddenly that I would draw it. We decided immediately that large paper would be a necessity, and after taking a quick look through my drawing-pads I found an 18x24 one that has some paper that would be perfect for the piece. Sadly, since last we spoke, I just haven’t had an opportunity to work on it. I made a bit of time for myself this morning, though, and sketched out the preliminary lines I’d need to rough out the drawing.

During the process I learned that my desk is most-certainly more suited for my 9x11 drawing pad, but I think it will manage at least for this one drawing.
What a mess...

I can’t wait to finish it. Though I adore the drawing process for all its therapeutic advantages to me, I always love looking at a finished art-piece and marking its strong points and weaker ones. That’s where I learn the most…

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