04 July 2011

life drawing

One of the riddles for me about life drawing is that while there is much to be achieved in drawing the nude form, and much beauty to portray - in anyone - the hands and feet, the head and face are critically important. I find that I don't get it, don't begin to draw the person well, without coming to terms with their character as revealed in their face or the excruciating difficulty of drawing a person's hands or feet.

I have been copping out, in a way, by using conté crayons, much like charcoal but less mess on the floor, allowing you to fuzz up and erase. Last week I could not find my box of tricky drawing stuff so I went out with paper and B4 pencil and discovered that I could find lines and could show light and shade and also, I think, mood.

The model was young and appropriately apprehensive, modelling for the first time. I could not quite catch the broad softness (and underlying strength) of a young face but I did catch her mood, I think. Her eyes - deep, dark, large - were almost constantly on the move and she chewed the inside of her lip, a full lower lip with a ring in it. How to represent the restless energy and emotion of such movement?

I am also trying not just to draw known features but light and shade, to approach minimalism.

Huh! When I edit this blog entry, Google (as it does with gmail) displays ads like "How to draw eyes." I remain happily uninstructed. I am attending a life drawing group, not a class. There is a freedom in being uninstructed. I do not know how I draw what I draw. I am constantly surprised at things that appear in front of me. If the artist does not know what he is doing (as Fellini maintained and I agree) do I want someone to tell me her/his ideas of what I am or should be doing? Much of the value, for me, in drawing, is in the struggle to produce: the birthing process, as well as the surprising baby. So exciting to discover this emerging on the page...

This is one of four drawings from a 15 minute pose. 15 minutes is a huge length of time when you look for the essence... and it's a huge time if you want to muck something up, not knowing when to stop.