Monday, 12 February 2018

The lady in the twirling hoop

Eliza in a leotard is acrobatically moving about within a suspended hoop which is every so often given a spin around. As it twirls and inevitably slows down she sometimes sits with arms outstretched, sometimes hangs by her legs like a circus trapeze artist, and assumes all kinds of other positions. Occasionally she will be given a chunk of charcoal with which she expresses her movements, hanging upside down, by mark making on a large sheet of paper on the floor. At some point I will include a photograph which she gave us permission to take.

I did not find an immediate empathy with this piece of theatre. Feet kept whizzing past, going out of view just as one got an idea of what to draw. But I very soon realised that one could start for example a foot and it would come into view time and time again. Also, as she changed poses and moved around within the hoop then a part one had started to draw from one pose reappeared in a later pose. 

I recall that in other places I had moved back and forth across a studio in order to include in one drawing different views of the pose. I did this simply to explore what would happen on the paper. My previous analysis of this process resulted in my describing it as a 'cubist' approach (see earlier postings).  I am looking at the human body from a number of different view points all at the same time. So the two outcomes above I feel clearly illustrate this cubism I seem to have entered.

So what happened with drawings three and four from this same morning?  For some reason they simply became more abstract. I introduced some tinted charcoal to help me differentiate those parts of the revolving anatomies which I had transferred on to my paper, but some new outcome has emerged. It is not atelier life-drawing, it is not representational art, it is not that which I have previously encountered appearing on the paper on my easel as I respond to the model and the pose before me. So, what is it?  

It's me, enjoying my art. I believe you become what you draw. Unless you become it, you cannot draw it. I now draw lines, and my line has become an 'expressive line'. All by itself it expresses light and dark. It expresses a third dimension. It is spatial.

Re-reading those last few lines (above) I have a feeling that I have begun to understand the philosophy of an artist whose work I have always hoped would at sometime in the future influence me (some of those words are likely to be his).  He is Frederick Franck whose book "Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing: Meditation in Action" was given to me by a great friend and a gifted artist, Marianne Hvass, in 2015. I know that Marianne would see in these last two drawings that I have touched a fulfilment in our shared art. One which Marianne and I talked about together on so many occasions. Marianne passed away in July 2017 but she is here, with me, an inspiration to our intertwined process.

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