Monday, 18 November 2019

When is the drawing of a nude, not a nude?

When it is an awesome spiritual experience!
And, it often is just this.
I've just had meaningful conversations with my philosopher/visionary friend, Andrew Brown, from Vancouver Island. AND this, coinciding with the return of Clare to Extreme Poses in Stroud.
Andrew and I talked around concepts and ideas about Unity, Truth, Goodness and Harmony, and Beauty. We discussed the triple human activities, those dominated by The Mind, The Will, and The Heart, i.e. the mental, the motive and the vital. My engagement in my process with the intellectual, with the volitional, and with the devotional.
Can you sense that I feel I'm on to something special.
How much did the role of Clare play in my new confidence, I am not sure. She is special! But I wasn't thinking this at the time.

Of the four drawings I believe one stands out. Which one do you think?

Yes! It's this last one.
Whilst there are some juxtapositions of selections, views, perspectives and parts which may challenge the beholder in the three other drawings I am proposing that the final drawings can be seen to continue a subtle yet significant pre-occupation with a particular spatial dexterity which has been emerging as a central theme within my perceptual processes in recent times. I intend to pursue this by bringing together examples of this and I will post them in due course.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

'Chance favours the prepared mind'

Two days ago at Paul Fowler's 'Extreme Poses' and I'm drawing Andrew at an interesting time in my thinking about my life-drawing. The next few postings will reveal how I believe the 4th Dimension and the 6th Sense are coming into play, or rather should I say how I am beginning to understand, but only just beginning, the role these concepts play in perception and the process of one's art.

On a number of occasions I have claimed that a period of analysis and reflection (which takes place as I photograph and post my drawings and then write about them) often is followed by a discernible 'something new or different', a slight evolutionary change or development both in what appears on the paper and in the way I approach the next session. A kind of threshold has been set up which I am about to step over into a new world. I have also said that the term 'approach' does not imply coming up with a plan as to what I intend to do. Long ago I realised that plans don't work as there are so many variables to a life-drawing moment that can vary so much so that each session, and each pose, presents a new if not unique context to operate in. So no conscious plan, except going into a studio without a plan is, I suppose, a sort of plan.

What I am trying to say is that these days as I turn my attention to the pose before me I am consciously attempting to be relaxed, free in my mind, meditative, and divorced from worldly and personal issues. So much so that I am attempting to encourage and allow the message and the stimulation to come from the model and the pose. But going in the other direction are the sub-conscious deposits from my reflective self-analytical activity, some of which are quite near the surface and I am aware of them coming into play. But much of what influences my perceptual process at any one time are I believe hidden from me.

So if it is true that 'Chance Favours the Prepared Mind' which is from Jerry Uelsmann who creates amazing photomontage pieces, then my research, self-analysis, note-book and blog postings prepares my mind not only for change but unexpected change. I have claimed surprise at what appears on the paper before me. At one level this can be when I put on my spectacles and see clearly the nature and character of my mark-making, but much more significantly the gymnastics of spatial interpenetration, of overlapping superimpositions, of unexpected juxta-positioning of different anatomical parts, of the parallel existence of diverse viewpoints, of conflicting and different scales, of multi-perspectives allowing advancing feet and disappearing limbs, and the delight when ambiguity presents itself.

Many years ago I came across the photographic distorting experiments of the human body by Andre Kertesz. I very recently revisited his work and found parallels with some aspects of my life-drawing, via some writings of Professor Olvind Storm Bjerke of the University of Oslo. He talks of 'distortions of natural forms can create interesting abstract and confusing patterns that dissolve an object', of 'forms that undergo metamorphosis', that 'by detaching the body from the usual perception of it, the body is estranged and perception itself is thereby placed in focus'. He says that in Kertsz's photographs 'the body is transformed into an object we no longer have a firm grasp of. It escapes the kingdom of the gaze, it avoids us as a slippery bar of soap'. I guess that is one reason why we keep on with and consistently pursue the challenge of life-drawing. I have argued that the drawing is not all about the body, but about the disintegration of spatial perception to which one has become accustomed.

Shelly on October 31st

Extracts from the first three 30 minutes poses were superimposed in this drawing.

Here I am using lines from the straps to define spaces within which events from the pose are given an identity.

One of Shelly's amazing poses as she squashes her face into her hand, takes the weight down to her elbow resting on the thigh, and then her whole body supported by the plinth.
Why is the height of the pose concertinaed?
There could be a long explanation to this question, but here are a few quick thoughts which I believe come into play:
a) I rarely do the whole pose these days and love responding to the parts which attract.
b) I like to draw big and get into the detail. As a consequence the whole pose cannot be completed as it is on an A1 paper.
c) My experience is that selecting and compressing and the resultant morphing often helps to emphasis the essential message of the pose effectively, and in such a way or in a different way that a drawing of the whole pose would otherwise do.
d) I am very much dealing with how I am feeling about and perceiving the whole pose, the gesture, the idea within the pose. I believe I am steering clear, but not completely, of my cubist, deconstructive, analytical, interpenetrative and spatial attitudes, which occasionally I feel perhaps violate. Should I claim that in responding to a more coherent, and I would add a more conventional approach and format, I am celebrating the female body as the incarnation of harmonic and beautiful form.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

My door of perception

I have entered thro' the door into my perception (or perhaps into a greater insight of my perceptual processes). So at this moment in my life-drawing journey I am saying that I see my life-drawing process as a 'perceptual activity'. 'Mark-making' is incidental yet significant.
I believe I am much more engaging with both the 4th Dimension and the 6th Sense than previously.
The drawings I have recently posted I claim are reference to this.
I have talked in previous postings of my engagement with the 4th Dimension and what I believe this to be: its about a fairly complex process of drawing with time and with space, and drawing in time and in space.

So what about the 6th Sense?

There are two very recent occasions which brought home to me the nature of the 6th Sense.

Firstly, whilst I was drawing Gemma in a lying pose with her head towards me and her body stretched out in a long perspective I was starting to recall drawing Kate in the same pose but two years previously. No conscious recollection or conscious comparison at the beginning. The connection and relationship between the two situations only gradually emerged. They took place in different venues. They were two years apart. I did not make any conscious connection. Yet, within me links were there. And many aspects of the two drawings are similar. I have posted them together and made a further comment on them. There is a strong personal connection and relationship between Gemma and Kate which no doubt played a part in the similarity of outcomes of the two drawings, influenced through the way I perceived the two people as one.

Secondly, it is with the model Natalie. She modelled around 9 to 10 years ago and I have many examples recorded on this blog from this period. Many expressive pieces mostly it appears in charcoal. She was amazing. And consequently her overall poses and the characteristics of the way she held her head, hands and feet, became embedded in my vocabulary. This enforcement of retained images was regularly strengthened as I scrolled through my blog for various reasons on many occasions. So imagine my surprise and absolute delight when the other day after setting up my easel and paper I turned to find her entering the studio in her robe. No news or any other indication it was to be her, so no 'mental' preparation or anticipatory thoughts. There she was. She climbed on to the plinth and into the ropes and what was I seeing? I had instant recall of those images, and what is more the pose she took up was in my mind right down to the dangling hand. So in the posting I recall an earlier drawing to relate to the present one.

The 6th Sense was fundamental to both these situations: i.e. the role of memory in influencing our perception, and this playing a part on that which appears on the paper.

Friday, 25 October 2019

The 6th Sense

Here are my two drawings of Natalie referred to in the above posting about 9 or 10 years apart.
The most recent represents my deconstructive and cubist approach. The earlier comes from a time I was experimenting with charcoal and aiming to include the whole pose in one.

As I described above whilst I was drawing Natalie the other day I had a very strong recall of her from all those years ago. So much so that I believe I can truthfully say that I was projecting from my mind across into the space and depths of the paper my recollected images. I also believe that there also came into play a range of feelings, concepts, emotions and memories from those years ago which together played a part in influencing my perceptual process of the moment.


Here are my full set of drawings from the morning of Thursday October 24th at Paul Fowler's Extreme Poses at Pegasus Art in Stroud. Natalie presented five 30 minute poses utilising the ropes and the plinth. They are very much a continuation of my current pre-occupations, with the middle drawing (which was the first of the session) having the additional fascination of the 6th Sense which I have talked over in the above two postings. I am, of course, not implying that the 6th Sense is normally absent.

Kate & Gemma two years apart

In the above posting 'My door of Perception' I describe my analysis of how these two drawings came about. There are similarities, yet they are two years apart. Some powerful force has come into play and my view is, at this moment in the evolutionary path of my life-drawing journey, that it is to do with the part that the 6th Sense plays in the complexity of senses which influence ones response to a model. I will add a note later about my thoughts on senses.
But, take a look at these two drawings.
Kate is the first one from two years ago. Then Gemma from October 20th this year...……….
You'll have to forgive me. I thought I had a lot to say. I wanted to pull apart the two drawings, analyse their content, and come up with some conclusions about my changing perceptual processes over time, etc. etc. 
But now, looking at them, 'Do I see or detect any differences or any changes in me and my art?' Quite honestly I don't think I do! My blog writings over the past two years, as I believe they do previously, describe and explore my experimentation, my evolutionary developments as I move almost weekly in new directions, sometimes quite imperceptible to the eye of the beholder, but often a movement I can see and ones which are regularly recognised by my mentor, Paul Fowler.
In the period between these two I have developed my 'cubisme' and I have identified an engagement with concepts of 'transparency', 'simultaneity of diverse viewpoints', 'spatial interpenetration', 'ambiguity', 'superimposition', 'layering of planes', 'layering of spaces' and 'space/time and the 4th Dimension'. I have focussed almost exclusively on mark-making via a fine-liner pen in each hand, and have rarely engaged with tonal work and the sculpting of the human body thro' the use of pastel or charcoal. 
BUT and YET, here we have two drawings which are very similar in composition, similar in dealing with perspective exaggeration, similar in their tonal sculpting and response to light and shade, and similar in the way I have overlapped parts of the pose and brought into play different scales in order to include all parts in the composition. WHY so similar? WHY so similar when I believe I am an 'evolutionist' in describing how I change in my art, and within my art, from week to week. Something powerful entered and became fundamental to my process on October is the 6th Sense coming into play.
I now need to question my simplistic model of 'evolutional change' and attempt to understand more the complexities of my 'perceptual processes', and explore further what I mean when I say I have engaged with the 6th Sense and indeed the 4th Dimension.