Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Shelly: July 11th

I've talked in the past of 'continual change' in that which appears in my drawings from one session to the next. 'Evolutionary change' I believe describes the phenomena best. Most often small and perhaps imperceptible to the beholder. Yet significant to me.
After my break (during May and June) for my foot surgery I picked up my fine-liner pens and the outcome can be seen a few postings ago. My response was that nothing fresh was apparent, so in the next session I picked up my graphite pencils and the three superimposed (part) poses of Penny suggested something challenging to me. The feeling and ideas I had are best described in the quote I recently referenced by Jenny Saville
"If I draw thro' (and I would add 'and/or over') previous bodily forms in an arbitrary way or a contradictory way, unexpected forms emerge from the nature of the drawing...……..and it gives a visual shock"
For me, the 'shock'  is often that the resultant drawing 'reflects', 'encapsulates', 'enhances', 'holds the essence of', 'summarises', 'extracts' and 'provokes' the character, the quality, the gesture, the fundamental form, the spirit, the feeling, the engagement and the connection with the pose, i.e. 'the muse-artist dialogue'...……
Is the true perception of the artist being revealed?
I am asking myself "Is this how I am seeing it?" Is this my inner self being brought out from the process and finding an expression and a format of communication thro' drawing?

Jenny Saville talks of unexpected forms emerging. Whilst is the past I have experienced the surprise to myself when I stand back and look at what has arrived on the paper, I do believe in that in my latest drawings I can apply her concept of a visual shock. Yet the shock does not remain purely a visual one from what one is looking at in the drawing. It is also a psychological shock to actually see some evidence of one's perceptual processes, presumably ones which are deeply sub-conscious, in operation during the making of the drawing.

My interest in the overlap and transparency of Francis Picabia is also playing a part in helping me gain insights into my art. When I draw one part of an anatomy on top of another I am not designing the drawing, I am much more allowing an experiment and exploration to take place, the outcome of which I will view (and perhaps analyse) when I stand back from my easel. I am liking the challenge I am setting myself to see if I can draw one thing on top of another, whilst avoiding any difficulty and confusion in my own mind, but in fact sometimes I am drawing behind and beyond that which has gone before. To me this represents a truly 'spatial enquiry'.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Two months away, so out with the fine-liners

After my operation I had a rest from life-drawing and when I returned, for some reason, I elected to take with me only a box of fine-liner pens.

Monday, 6 May 2019

More of Clare: and coming together in a new way.

I've frequently considered, and with full support from Paul Fowler at Extreme Poses, that I seem to be able to recognise with each set of drawings from a session an evolutionary change in some aspect, which to the 'untrained' eye may often go unrecognised. Often, that change has occurred comes as a surprise, but more than often the nature of the change, or the development, or the evolution, or the innovation (call it what you will) is the main surprise.
I've also talked in the past of how I may be helping to initiate change within myself by spending time reviewing my drawings and thinking about them in relation to the drawings of others. In this self analytical activity I often generate each time a different vocabulary to try to describe my work. This process of almost categorising what has taken place seems to draw a line in my mind around the particular emphasis, characteristic or phenomena. What then happens, quite unconsciously, is that I use what I have closed the door on as a base or springboard for the next step in my journey. I emphasis the unconscious aspect of this move because as I have said on a number of times recently 'I do not any longer go into a life-drawing session with a plan'. So what, if anything, guides me is that which is stored within the depths of my sub-conscious.

The above four drawings are of the model Clare at Extreme Poses in Stroud on April 25th 2019.
In essence in each one I bring together, overlap, superimpose those parts which fascinate me. Nothing new here then. I have been doing this consciously, and exploring and experimenting with its implications and outcomes, for a long time now. The one aspect which is consistent within these four compositions is the inclusion of the whole pose. And I wanted to do this. I had a sense that for far too long now I have been totally fascinated with what happens when one just brings parts together to generate a new whole, and with this a developing frustration that the beauty of the whole pose and any attractive gestural form is not engaged with. 
So, I am considering that within these four drawings we see much more than an incremental step. I feel a 'breakthrough day'. I can probably find examples of this in this archive blog, but I feel there appears to be a clarity of intent not previously acknowledged by me.
Paul agreed that what was happening was something new. Towards the end of the morning we sat and talked for ten minutes or so. I said that I thought what is happening is that I am thinking about 'an intention' which I described as:
  • two scales
  • the whole gesture, and
  • selected significant parts
but, the way these come together surprised.
I said that I did not 'consciously' consider my mark-making - I just drew!

So, what was I thinking about during the 30 minutes of each pose?
  • her body: making the most of it (her pose, the gesture, her anatomical characteristic(s)
  • the composition - within the edges of the paper (whether as a complete form within the space of the paper, as in the 3rd drawing, or one being deliberately cropped or moving into the space beyond the edges of the paper)
and possibly
  • how to express, best, the dialogue between me and Clare's body, from my perception
So, yes, I am making/constructing a 'composition' on the paper. And, I recall, that I did, on this morning consciously think about the composition - i.e. how it sits within the rectangle of the paper.

An additional pre-occupation and one which has started to emerge recently is of placing one drawing on top of another. This is dealing with the quality of 'transparency' which has been around with me for some months now and is a characteristic of my work and frequently mentioned. But here I believe (and again this is something I  am being conscious of, therefor thinking about) I am trying to discover the implications and any problems which may arise by drawing one thing on top of another. How much does one have to think about it? Does one have to think about it whilst doing it? Can two or three parts be superimposed without considering their juxtapositioning and any confusion or clarity issues which may arise. In my case any difficulty is easy to handle as I tend to only superimpose two or three parts on an A1 paper. My fascination with Francis Picabia has revealed that he superimposed up to eight drawings at a number of different scales on big canvases, often bringing in parts of animals and architectural features intertwined with whole poses and anatomical parts. My 30 minute poses have so far restricted my engagement with this fascinating issue. Is this just an aspect of my cubism or something quite separate from it? The simple answer is that it is just the way my life-drawing is changing, and perhaps I should stop putting a name to what I do. 

A final observation. The medium: graphite pencils seem to hold such variety of weight of line - this allows an expression of a) initial exploratory outline, thro' to b) confident agreed emphasis.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

You see what is not there.........yet you also see it from different viewpoints simultaneously.

Three weeks since my last life-drawing and perhaps a self-imposed time for reflection. Not that I've consciously reviewed my art and my involvement in drawing the body. But I'm sure this will have taken place. I will know in the morning when I go over to Paul Fowler's Extreme Poses for five 30 minute entries into my life-drawing world.
But during this break I did come across a fascinating concept whilst reading a review by Jonathan Ree of 'Being And Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenology And Ontology' by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Sarah Richmond. published in the London Review of Books, April 18th 2019.

"Imagine for instance that you see a woman (lying on the grass under a tree). You may think that your experience is simply an effect of light bouncing off the woman (the grass and the tree), impinging on your retina and triggering a chain of events in your optic nerve and your brain. But think again. Your awareness involves not only what is taking place in front of you, but also what is not: that the figure is neither a man nor a child, and not sitting or standing, (that the surface is not paved, that the tree is no flimsy sapling). The world, in other words, is constituted by what is absent as well as what is present, and these absences depend on the expectations you bring to it rather than how it is in itself."

So tomorrow I may bring into my process what is not there.

I also came across for the first time Jenny Saville's series of works entitled 'Ancestors' at Gagosian. I have been inspired by her art for many years but particularly after experiencing at first hand her exhibition at Oxford Modern Art some years ago. These latest works are extraordinarily provoking and for me screamed out thoughts of Bacon and Picasso and Surrealism as I searched through her imagery on my screen. But I also found in her text a few words which echoed what I have been attempting to describe about my own drawing.

"I'm trying to see if its possible to hold onto that moment of perception, or have several moments coexist ...……… like looking at a memory."

"If I draw through previous bodily forms in an arbitrary or contradictory way, unexpected forms emerge from the nature of the drawing and it gives a visual shock"