Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Exploring geometrical frameworks (with Fra)

 I've been experimenting with introducing geometrical frameworks on to the surface of my A1 papers in order to help me 3-dimensionaly structure the space, both within and beyond the 2-D surface, within which I can then place the whole pose or parts of the pose. Sometimes a grid, sometimes a series of circles of varying diameters, sometimes fairly random diagonal lines, etc. etc.

For this evenings virtual life-drawing session organised by Andrew with Fra as our model I introduced into my process the Golden Rectangle (or ratio) with its accompanying Fibonacci Spiral. I also prepared a few sheets with 100mm grids.

Here are the outcomes:

started with a 100mm grid, then on the night Fra started with 5 one minute poses. before posting this drawing I emphasised the lines of the grid between the figures and erased those within the outline of each figure. Then I thought to add floor and ceiling perspectives lines in order to suggest a space within which Fra is dancing.

one of my prepared sheets included a large circle so, when Fra stood with outstretched arms the  'Vitruvian man' of was it Leonardo or Alberti? immediately came to mind. Unlike the previous drawing I had already included the perspective lines suggesting the space beyond the circle.

the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Spiral create a composition that will draw the eye to the important element of the drawing, so here I selected Fra's left foot going behind the lower part of her right leg. I recall that I felt the eye was being drawn down by the lines of the legs to this area of the pose. However I also recall, and I believe this was a stronger pull in relating the shape of the pose to my geometrical strategy, the curve of her back could be compositionally juxtaposed with the line of the spiral. Another strong thought at the time is that the seat upon which she was sitting could be the second of the squares of the golden ratio of rectangles. So it all seemed to come together in my mind almost instantly at the beginning of this pose which was held for about 20 minutes or so.

another aspect of the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Spiral is that they foster organic and natural looking compositions that are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. So I had no hesitation in employing this geometry to the beautiful lines and form of this part of the female nude.

and so to the final pose of this evening's virtual life session. I don't often do whole poses these days as for quite a few years I have employed my de-constructivist approach prior to re-constructing within my own personal perceptual parameters. So I experience a frustration in attempts to get the proportioning more or less right. Playing with perspective by bringing a foot forward and exaggerating it in terms of related size with other parts and conversely diminishing in scale the more distant parts of the pose are to me very enjoyable and challenging ways of drawing. I suppose in that case proportioning is a consideration but almost surreal and abstract forms and shapes become the result and the focus of attention. But here I felt a need to simply enter a process of representing on my paper a realistic portrayal of the pose which Fra was presenting to me. I could add a detailed critique of the shortcomings in terms of proportions, but I know what they are and they are so obvious.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

2D...3D...4D Spaciality Within and Beyond

 This posting is built around my drawings from Andrew's virtual life-drawing session on the evening of August 10th 2020. It will include my pre-session thinking and my researches into related issues. So, I will expect to return to this posting and add some material over the coming days. But in the meantime here are some extracts from my notebook which I hope to expand upon:

'entering the plane of the paper, transposing the body, its disintegration and dispersion into a two-dimensional format': I have set up a number of different geometrical spatial frameworks on 5 or 6 A1 papers into which I expect to place whole or part poses at different scales and varying perspectives.

from the Journal of Architecture, a paper 'Drawing the female nude', has brought to my attention the work of Euan Uglow - 'Nude from twelve regular vertical positions from the eye' (1967). I can relate this to my fascination with exploring varying perceptions of the human body and my re-vitalised engagement with 'spatiality' born in me from my early days studying architecture, together with my own 'cubism' and my indulgence in concepts of 'transparency' which I have begun to understand from studying the works of Francis Picabia.

distorted figuration.

to bring a new youth to old ideas (OK, I've done this before, or something very similar. But, it feels new!)

"I think my work as a process, so the question of achievement cannot be thought" Maria Clark (A life model and performance artist who lives in Paris, publishes about her work, and who I have communicated with recently)

drawing: "the graphic imposition turns the actual flatness of the ground into virtual space - translates material/reality into the fiction of imagination" David Rosand.

"In drawing the moments of choice have been kept visible" John Berger (Berger on Drawing).

A drawing is essentially a private work, related only to the artist's own needs.

'I want to oblige the viewer to undertake the labour of interpretation' (This is from a London Review of Books article on the film work of the amazing Jacques Tati)

and a few more terms which I find helpful: polyvalent (having or using a lot of different forms); multi-layered (i.e. superimposition/transparency); dismembered/fragmented; manipulation/layering/filtering; etc.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Then and Now!

From two-handed squiggle drawing with HB wood pencils to two-handed, bolder, graphite pencil: mark-making over time.

Virtual: July 27th

Fra is modelling again in Andrew's Monday evening virtual life-drawing session:

a close up study exploring textures and marks with graphite pencils, willow charcoal and compressed charcoal (with a complete indifference to any sense of proportional representational accuracy, i.e. the hand grew larger and larger during the process of the drawing , the knees were brought in from the left in order to include them in the composition, and the breast descended so as to be included)................

and a part portrait in HB wood pencils juxtaposed with a line-liner pen drawing of two models (I recall Kate and Jemma over at Neil Bally's studio in Talgarth) from a few years ago...............

and also four quick poses brought together in one compositional drawing (in this process one has to rely upon one's instinct to anticipate what might be coming next, sometimes it works, usually (I find) it does!

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Virtual: July 20th.

Andrew is modelling with:
2 x 2.5 minute poses
1 x 5 minutes
1 x 10 minutes
1 x 25 minutes
1 x 45 minutes

As previously I selected some old drawings from which I could choose an appropriate one when Andrew assumed his pose. I also brought into play another earlier approach of mine in which I placed on the paper geometric forms which would help me enter into the vast space of the paper. For many years I have not seen the paper as a 2-dimensional surface. It is a huge space which not only penetrates into the depths of the paper but also goes beyond the edges of the paper. This space also comes forward  to engage with me as I stand or sit on the other side. In a live life-drawing situation the space which I am perceiving then also goes beyond to engage and embrace the model. I have held this concept in my life-drawing activity for quite some time now, and have discussed it previously. Then within these geometrical spatial structures I can place the pose, or parts of the pose, as I react to them. Different scales and different perspectives can be used in different parts of the drawing. This framework, for me, does not impose strict  boundaries. Bits can burst out of the parameters of the geometries and thereby overlap and superimpose, which has become a pre-occupation of mine and so a characteristic of my recent work.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

More of the present meeting the past

It is Andrew's virtual life-drawing with Fra our model, on July 13th. After the experiment of last week when I selected past drawings as a base I continued with this approach. There had been a particular request for Fra to simulate the well known reclining pose by Ingres. The one in which she looks over her right shoulder at the beholder and has an extremely elongated back. So I was able to have available half a dozen drawings of my own reclining poses from years past from which to select one appropriate for exploring a complementary juxtapositioning. In the end I used two similar drawings during the 45 minute pose. These were in HB wood pencil, one in each hand, in the early days of my two handed drawing journey. So I used HB's again.

There are five drawings in all which follow different approaches:
Nos 1. Two five minute poses at the beginning of the session
Nos 2 & 3. After Ingres
Nos 4. A straightforward frontal with an enjoyable knee using graphite pencils
Nos 5. Here Fra moved slowly around for about five minutes and you will see I briefly captured four stages of her movements with simple outline gestures, and placed around two poses by another dancer, Robin at Paul Fowler's 'Extreme Poses' in Stroud, again some years ago.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Virtual meets Reality

The last few postings record what has been my one life-drawing event of the week which is sitting in front of my big tv screen having plugged in my computer to it and participating in Andrew Buckle's life drawing program. It filled the gap but I was tending to withdraw into my comfort zone and repeat some of my experiences from the past and nothing different or new was emerging. I was morphing, superimposing, and juxtaposing anatomical parts in experimental ways.
Then, at the weekend I decided to start a clearance of my huge stack of past drawings. I've attempted this before but always found a huge reluctance to actually throw some away. Every drawing had role at the time in the evolving journey for all kinds of reasons. However this time was different, and I had the particular idea of furthering my interest into the complexities of the work of Francis Picabia (referred to many times in previous postings) and retain some pieces which I could use as a 'starting point' or 'foundation' or for 'initiating a narrative'. So on Monday evening July 6th, I made available about 12 or so drawings which I could select from when Andrew set up his pose on the screen. I had to instantly make a connection and see a possible relationship. I have found, upon reflection, that what came out of this session with the 4 drawings is a fairly newish response and I have been attempting (as I always do) to find an appropriate vocabulary to describe it. I say it is 'fairly newish' because I can see many connections with that which has happened in the past. But a term such as 'anatomical surrealism' may be appropriate. However, because the starting drawings are from about 10 years ago my principal thought was that I would be contrasting in each drawing my mark-making, e.g. my squiggle technique using two HB wood pencils often of a whole pose, with my bolder response using graphite pencils and juxtaposing selected parts of a pose (that's just one of the comparative aspects which came to mind).
So, here are the four results. And perhaps I will add a note about them following further reflections or may be just look forward to next Monday.