Thursday, 17 May 2018

A stella(r) performance

Yes, it was a good morning at 'extreme poses' in Stroud, after an amazing few days in Cambridge at a friend's birthday party with lots of lovely people. So I was on something of a high. There I met Stella, who was not only at Cheltenham Art College in the early 60's but also like me now does life-drawing. So I am posting this morning's drawings to celebrate meeting Stella.

Something of a tentative start with this first drawing, although it seems to embrace my recent preoccupations with overlap, superimposition, weight on plinth and spatial composition, though not at all abstract and no suggestion of a cubist approach or morphing of various parts of the anatomy together,
Just a reminder that I commence my drawings with a fine-liner pen in each hand, then introduce some tonal charcoal and some stronger graphite pencil marks, all on A1 220gsm white cartridge paper. Each drawing is from a 30 minute pose.

Then on to a conventional representational drawing with no attempt whatsoever to deconstruct or play around with the pose. It was just so lovely to focus in on the triangulations and the depth of the space within.

For the third pose the model lay in the ropes with her left foot advancing towards me, way above my eye level, and her right foot resting on a plinth which gave her some gravitational support. I often commence a drawing by starting with that part of the pose which attracts my immediate attention, which I find attractive, or which seems to me to be a fundamental characteristic of the pose. This time the lower half of the right leg from the top of the knee right down to the foot on the plinth went in first. Then I just brought in, to overlap and morph in with this leg, the other parts of the pose, with an expectation that whatever form and composition emerged would be of interest. Over recent weeks I've come to value the inclusion of a straight line or two as a complementary contrast to the organic mark-making of the rest of the drawing.

After a 30 minute break for coffee, and a good chat with everyone else about what they were doing, I heard that the model was to sit on the plinth and then for the last pose to turn to face the other way. I instantly saw this as an opportunity to pursue my cubist approach by superimposing the two drawings and hopefully get them to face each other. Heads were at different angles, and in the second pose her left arm was supported at the wrist by one of the suspended straps which allowed the hand to dangle, whilst her right hand rested on her knee. It is unusual for me to have a pre-considered strategy for making a drawing. Nearly always the construction process of bringing parts together is experimental and the outcome is a surprise. In this case a very pleasing surprise.

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