Monday, 14 November 2016

From life-drawing to an 'alive' drawing

I know that over the 8 or 9 years of my drawing the nude my art has changed. This blog records my journey, and I have regularly attempted to describe my approach and my evolving philosophy. In my last posting I recalled Paul Fowler's observation about what he saw taking place during that morning. I have reflected on his words and now feel that probably a significant moment or period has arrived or is emerging.

So its a good time to bring in a piece of writing by Hugo Colville (2013), which in fact I downloaded about 15 months ago when I first came across it and at the time it resonated with me but now the words seem very relevant by helping me externalise what I am currently doing and thinking.

He says, "I want my drawings to go into directions that enliven me. Let's have an 'alive' drawing rather than a life drawing". I have said in the past that I want my drawings to provoke. Not necessarily to provoke the beholder but to provoke myself to continue my journey. I believe I have been pursuing this approach for some years now. Here for example, from perhaps five/six years ago, are eight drawings of the reclining Robin made on the same day. In them I am stretching myself by exploring various media in a lively way. I would also claim they are 'alive' drawings in that in them I am consciously dealing with such issues as perspective, exaggerated foreshortening, composition and in some cases anatomical sensitivity. But above all I believe I am experimenting and searching for a way (perhaps a technique) of externalising an experience. However, there is much in Hugo Colville's writing that says so much more about where I now feel I am, so I will now recall those passages which I feel I closely relate to.

"I start with no preconceived plan" in fact I now tend to start with the part of the pose which immediately catches my attention for various reasons. Then, "As the drawing takes form, it dictates how the drawing developes to completion."

"So when I work, I do not know what I am going to do at all"  This is very difficult to follow, but I am working on it. "The idea arises from the working itself. There is this unfoldment which I participate in......to let it reveal itself. The whole problem is one of becoming sensitive to its intention, its unfolding". Here I recall my recent descriptions of my 'art as process' as one in which my drawing, my mark-making, is an externalisation, a realisation, a product or outcome of my feelings and what I am experiencing as I stand at my easel and engage in the emerging dialogue between myself and the pose and myself and the model.

"I discover the meaning, what it's about, through the doing. I don't have a meaning and then draw it - but draw it and the meaning comes through and tells me what I want to say."

"It's all about a truth to feeling rather than appearances."

"Adding line to line, they have an accumulative value whereby, hopefully, they enlighten and enhance one another."

"I aim to simplify the lines and articulate the image with a structural simplicity, constantly grasping what I think is essential and shaping it by trying to reveal its essence compellingly. I must try to draw the essence of things - eliminate everything unnecessary."    (this does not mean using an eraser to remove that which has already been drawn, but it means exactly what Paul Fowler is referring to i.e. the essence is brought to the paper through the artist, the essence is that which the artist has selected/responded to, is sensistive to, has a feeling for). 

 "Refine and spare down forms in order to arrive at their essence. Somehow it can all be said in a few lines. Lines that keep looking for truth and beauty, mystery of life. The expression of the drawing comes from the relationship of the lines togetherness, their linkage, the way it all binds together. The lines have to feel right together, they have to belong to each other. Its harmonising shapes. Its getting lines to greet each other."

"I want my drawings to go into directions that enliven me. Let's have an 'alive' drawing rather than a life drawing. I want to put peace and assurance and vivid stillness in every line."

"To-day, like most days, I shall draw a line."

So, many thanks to Hugo Colville, 2013


Now, when you have looked at these drawings refer then to the first two drawings from my previous posting, and compare. The question I ask is this 'Are they sufficiently different to be called 'drawings of the essence of my experience?'


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