Our Blessed Mother, the Tower of Ivory

Graphite on Paper, with contrast heightened to compensate for scanner. January 2005.


Jef Murray said...


Love the detail and feel of this piece. But I have two criticisms regarding the pose of Our Lady.

My greatest criticism is Our Lady's face. There's something about it that looks a bit off to me...perhaps intentional, but I find the nose appears too "flat", and face, overall, is a bit long, giving a masculine feel.

Also, I'm a little concerned about the left arm...it appears that elbow is out in front of figure rather than behind/beside. This "reads" as an awkward pose for left arm, rather like elbos is twisted strangely. Maybe this is just me and others aren't bothered by it?

BPHatke said...

I'd love to see a higher resolution version of this. Lots of detail!

When you sam "graphite" do you mean an architectural pencil? I'm curious because I'd like to try it out. I still haven't found a drawing pencil that fufills my every wild expectation.

(the ultimate drawing pencil would magically grant me a pizza every time I finished a good drawing)

bPHatke said...


bPHatke said...

Why do the comments keep asking me for a password?!?

theodore said...

Matthew. Lovely. I agree with Jef's first crit about the face... though it doesn't bother me that much. The left arm is great. you would look awkward in armor too!

Ben, I get that password box too: "To view this page, you need to log in to area “Emory Webdrive” on webdrive.service.emory.edu..."

I just hit cancel and it lets me alone. I'm not sure what the deal is... maybe Regina can find out what's going on?

Jef Murray said...

Hey! I get the message about Emory webdrive, too, and I expect is has something to do with me, because I work at Emory (and actually use Emory Webdrive). Thought I was the only one getting this, but I guess not!!! No idea why it's happening....

catholicgal said...

I'm not too sure about the star over Our Lady's head...? It looks Jewish?

Matthew said...

The face is the least successful part of the drawing, and i agree--less about masculinity than she appears to be in a bit of a snit, on retrospection. It's also a bit marred by the scanner.

I think you are also right about the left (her left, I assume) arm; the elbow piece sort of disguises the fact that the upper and lower parts of the arm are (I see now) too widely spaced apart and should meet at more of a right angle.

Catholicgal--that was deliberate on my part, as Our Lady is also the Tower of David. Anyway, the Star of David was not unknown in Christian art from very early on; perhaps even before it became adopted by Judaism.

Bphatke--I used a very plain mechanical pencil, very cheap. It's not the best but I love using it.

Jef Murray said...


Yes, I meant her left arm. And I think you're right about possible solution...that should work.

Regarding medium used, I don't know if you specifically share my love for 0.5mm Pentel mechanical pencils, but cheap mechanical pencils have been my favorite for sketches for years now!