Thursday, 18 October 2018

Drawing Andrew at 'extreme poses'

Andrew is fit, runs a lot, and as a result is able to hold very challenging poses up in the ropes at Paul Fowler's 'extreme poses' life drawing classes at Pegasus Art in Stroud. It is Thursday, October 11th, and we have the usual five 30 minute poses. I am very relaxed, not having any pre-thoughts, except that my return to graphite pencils during the last week or two has been enjoyable. There has been a new 'boldness' in my mark-making and a feeling for the anatomy, but not 'ecorche'. In other words I am not removing the skin to reveal muscles and vessels of the body.

I am sitting at my easel with a metre or so of distance between myself and the model, although he is way above my eye level. So for most poses I am looking up at Andrew hovering over me. I am uncertain as to how much I consciously respond to the spatial relationship of the overhead body to my viewpoint (unlike in the Sistene Chapel).

In the first pose I was, in fact, very aware of how his arms came towards me and how they framed his head which was set back from this frame. I guess I did try quite hard to engage with the perspective in the pose.

In the second drawing the foot went in first and I brought it forward as much as I could. The diagonal of the arms I saw as an important contrast to the leg and foot in the overall composition. And I simply did not incude any of the rest of the body, his buttocks and his torso, which I recall being well within my view, but their omission ensured a focus on the two elements I did include.

The third drawing is one of my morphing playtimes. Seeing what is created by juxtaposing two or more parts of the body.

The coloured drawing is a strange departure from the path I had been taking with the first three drawings.  Probably necessary to take a break. I don't like what  came out. I see no value in it other than reminding me of that which I am currently fascinated with.

Drawing number five is a type which comes up occasionally. There was an identical one last week: quick, bold, searching lines.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

'pieces of anatomy imply a vital force.......'

"pieces of anatomy imply a vital force that the complete form has become too trite to embody; corporeality authenticates itself through duplicated, severed, and transmuted parts"   I think I got this from John Updike talking about the work of Jean Robert Ipousteguy, and I feel it helps clarify my approach.
I seem to produce compositions of discrete hands, feet, legs and breasts, of an isolated elbow. So what is my true subject? Since drawing is my thinking on paper, my thought's medium, the resolution grows out of the process of me drawing.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

The linearity issue in my recent drawings - 4

This is the fourth posting on this subject and it may appear on my blog slightly out of sequence. It contains the other four of thirteen recent drawings which I am about to examine within the context of my grappling with the issue of line and tone, or line versus tone, or whatever way you may wish to juxtapose the subjects of 'line' and 'tone'.

Friday, 28 September 2018

There are always ropes and straps........

............but usually I don't see them. I don't think about them. I see only the body, the anatomy, the forms within the pose. I see only the parts of the pose which grab my attention. Yet, I only become conscious of that which attracts my attention when it begins to appear on the paper. Drawing is my thinking on paper.

Having said that, occasionally the straps are included. There is an example of this in this posting. I immediately focused on the two feet and particularly the shape of the right foot. But as we were coming towards the end of the 30 minute pose (all poses at Extreme Poses at Stroud are for 30 minutes) I elected to draw in the strap as it was essential to explain the bent distortion of the toes.

But, I now ask myself why add the strap, when it was the form and shape and distortion of the foot which interested me?   Why did I feel the need to explain this foot shape? Why should I want to help the beholder understand what they are looking at? Why do I feel it appropriate to enter the field of 'explanation'? It is my own world of life-drawing that I am within, not the world of realistic representation.

I am raising here above perhaps a fundamental issue in life-drawing and probably a fundamental issue in art generally ......... that of 'realistic representation' as opposed to a 'personnal and idiosyncratic response'. I have over the past three years or so felt that my drawings indicate that I am doing something which comes from within me, can be identified as peculiar to myself, and is something which I feel I have a real ownership of. This view is helped by observations and analysis from my life-drawing colleagues. My morphism, superimposition and overlap, my drawing with both hands simultaneously, my frequent use of fine-liner pen, all are part of this personal approach. And I want to enter this world more and more, and to explore and discover where it will go. So, drawing a strap in order to explain an anatomical distortion does not fit into this journey (at least, I don't think it does). So, I raise an important issue, or do I?

These five drawings come out of what I feel to be a good morning. I felt great going into it. Relaxed, happy, with no anticipation or intention of what I might do. They reflect a contented state of mind at the time. The question is, Are they any different to earlier drawings? I usualy feel quite stressed.

They are posted in the order they were drawn. Each is from a 30 minute pose, on 220gsm A1 cartridge paper, using either fine-liner pen or graphite pencil. All start off with two-handed drawing which is continued with to varying degrees in different drawings. I always have a pen or pencil in each hand but am often not conscious of when marks are appearing from one hand or both.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The linearity issue in my recent drawings - 1

These next three postings include recent drawings produced during a period when I have been debating within myself whether line can address tone. I guess I have always been aware of this question, but recently I have felt that the question needs to be resolved. Most would say that line and tone are different aspects of a drawing. But when I study the drawings of Albrecht Durer I see that all his marks are lines, and areas of tone are made up with lines.

I have just been gifted some books on the work of Durer by a dear friend of mine. In one of them 'Drawings of Albrecht Durer' selected and introduced by Heinrich Wolfflin, the author talks of "the beauty of the whole is not in the figure alone, but in the network of lines in which the figure is, to an extent, enmeshed". He recalls that Durer's drawings are (often) spoken of as 'grand decorative linear systems'. 

When using my fine-liner pens there is no attempt to introduce tone. Sometimes with graphite pencils then tonal work enters into the drawing with some diagonal shading. Sometimes I use charcoal, caressed with the finger, or tinted charcoal with a tissue or my finger, in order to help myself differentiate the various parts of the pose I have brought together and superimposed. Here I am using the tonal treatment as a way of informing what the drawing is of.

So this set of drawings are not in any way the outcome of an investigation or study of the issue of line versus tone. What I want them to be is examples of my drawing techniques which can be analysed to help enter a discussion about line and tone.

The linearity issue in my recent drawings - 2

The linearity issue in my recent drawings - 3