Thursday, 10 June 2010

Life Drawing Spring Term: Week 6 pt. 2

In part 1 I wrote a little bit about the lack of "connectedness" showing up in my life drawings. I'm sure it's always been there in all of my drawings, in varying amounts, but I suppose I've only started picking up on it fairly recently which is causing me no end of frustration at the moment.

Take this drawing of a 20 minute pose from the session on Monday night:


This is a perfect example of my tendency to quickly block in the elements of interest and proceed to get busy with tone, adding odd bits of details here and there, while forgetting to see whether those elements relate to each other in a meaningful way. Which they don't.

In fairness, I'll admit I've made a few decent observations and choices, such as the the weight of the legs as they hang off the chair arm (observation) and the decision to contrast the paleness of her skin with the darker tone of the chair (choice).

Observations and choices like these are few and far between in my latest bunch of drawings and in this case create quite a fragmented picture. Let me elaborate further:


At my most positive, I'll accept the feeling of the organic leg forms against the sturdy sofa. And by way of that contrast the shape of the thighs and dangle of feet convey a sense of flesh and bone. And the background elements kinda imply a sense of space, an environment.

But that is only one half of the drawing.

Let's look at the other half:

Here, there is a sense of space implied behind the chair - it's minimal because there's so much going on tonally, between the sofa, cushion, her hair and some vague shadows under the sofa. However, the forms from her rib cage through to her hips are passable at best (but not really passable).

And here comes the big reveal, as I take another look at the whole drawing:


it's suddenly very clear that those two halves are incredibly disconnected. For instance, setting aside the issue of proportion, just follow the forms from one end of the figure along to the other end - they clearly don't relate to one another. This is what I mean by that lack of consistency or connectedness in my drawing as a whole. It's that extra bit of follow through that is missing.

I'm not trying to explain my work but rather I'm trying to understand why I'm dissatisfied with it. Fortunately, I became aware of the central problem with this drawing in the final 3 minutes of making it, so I quickly tore out a sheet of paper and placed it over the left half and drew over the parts that I felt were most problematic:


Hopefully this 60 second sketch demonstrates what I've been saying in this blog post. At the time, it certainly confirmed the issues I tend to have when attempting to make a meaningful life drawing.

In the final minute of the pose, I put all these drawings aside and grabbed my pen and sketchbook and drew "blind":


To me, of all the drawings I made in the session, this one feels the most engaging and most connected throughout - no doubt partly thanks to the process of "drawing blind" (more about this process here). Quick drawings like this feel fresher and much more honest than the longer ones, so I really want to try and retain those qualities regardless of how long I spend on a single drawing.

As I struggle to improve my skills through life drawing, blogging my efforts creates a diary / visual record that I can go through at any time to remind myself of the stuff I've learned. And right now it's also helping to exorcise my current drawing woes as I experience them.

We also made "drawings" with plasticine in this session, I'll blog those tomorrow.

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