Wednesday and Still Drawing……

Day 3 of my 5 day Drawing for All course was one full of challenges: a challenge to draw dark and shade, to record movement, to do things back to front and counter intuitively.

I think a couple of my classmates struggled with some of the tasks we were set, but where on Day 2 I had found my difficulties in measuring proportion and capturing the image of my first life model had started to make me feel a bit disaffected, I enjoyed the process. Fabia was, as always cheerful in her acceptance of everyone’s reactions.

‘You’re going to hate some things, but you won’t know until you try.  So give it a go.’

In the morning we had another life model, Caitlin, and the topic for experimentation was light and shade, so she was bathed in additional light to help us see the shadow under her arm or in the curves of her back.

After my discomfort with the idea of drawing a real person really poorly, on Tuesday, it seems I have quickly adapted to the concept of studying a model very closely and having a go, whatever the outcome.  I think part of it was that the methods Fabia asked us to use were causing everyone in the class to pause and struggle, so I felt less like the dunce.

For one of the poses we had to cover the paper entirely with charcoal, and then create an image by rubbing out creating lighter spaces, leaving the charcoal for the shadows.  What a gloriously messy business; my hands and nails were coal black within seconds and the lump of putty rubber was the like a jet pebble.

I found it impossible to visualise where I was going with the task without adding back a few lines onto the drawing, contrary to the set up instructions.  I loved the teacher’s response.

‘Can you see you’ve really captured Caitlin’s presence in that?’

”Yes, but I didn’t do what I was supposed to.’

‘Oh, that doesn’t matter.’

The afternoon was all about movement.

Where the too previous models had been required to sit still, Ian, had to be in near constant movement; sitting, crouching, stepping up onto a stool, rolling into a ball, doing a press-up, stretching.  We had to try to catch something of his rhythm.

But at first, those of us who are right handed had to draw with out left.  Odd, at first, there was something quite liberating about it.  If the result is rubbish, well, I was using my left hand, what do you expect?

The instruction was to keep drawing all the time while Ian moved up and down his little runway in constant motion for about fifteen minutes.  I ended up with a tangled mess of lines all over the large sheet of cartridge paper we had been told would be the only piece of paper we would be using that afternoon.  It had no shape, no sense and only a couple of curves.

In the next round, Ian paused in certain of the poses, and the short intervals gave the chance to make an attempt at a representation.  Each time I scanned my scrawl to try to find something in it I could convert into a coherent image.  Eventually some things emerged out of the tangle.  I found it a satisfying thought I could extract something from a mess, and that a bit of scruffiness isn’t irredeemable.

It’s not a bad lesson…….

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  1. kathy

     /  July 21, 2011

    Really enjoying this series Rowena. Thank you.

    • Thanks Kathy. I’m such a neophyte with visual art compared to you, I take that as a real compliment!

  2. Jill

     /  July 21, 2011

    Fabia sounds fantastic. It all sounds fantastic, and I’m sure you’ll find your writing will benefit from all this ‘release’ as well.
    And please don’t think I haven’t taken note of your regular postings…thank you. I know it’s not always easy to find the time, but your fans appreciate it 🙂

    • Thank you Jill. Crikey- fans! That thought takes some getting used to. Fabia is great and without any hint of ‘jaded’ teacher about her; it’s such a gift.
      Yes, after all my song and dance, I’ve only missed one day…… I’ve got some time away soon where internet access can be a bit tricky, so I can’t make any promises as to future service levels.
      I am however delighted to have you as a regular reader.


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