A perceived failed painting provided me with a starting point for this week’s life drawing session as well as a valuable lesson hopefully learned.
I had spent days trying to develop a piece of abstract art on some watercolour paper. Various colours, shapes, techniques and collages had not visually worked and I was left with a multi layered scrap. In the end I poured dilute white acrylic all over it and spread it about in desperation.
However on Thursday morning, as I was reconsidering it, I had the idea that it would make an opportune surface for a line drawing. Consequently that, using last Saturday’s featured drawing by Theresa as a fine example of employing biro, is what I chose to do.
The drawing came together especially because Fiona, last night’s model, agreed to wear a beautiful silk scarf covering her hair which added a quite historical context to the drawing.
I had lurched from my disappointing Saturday painting and this failed abstract to some degree of success in the resulting drawing. I really should know by now that the nature of the beast is emotional peaks and troughs of Triumph and Disaster and should learn, as Kipling said, to treat both impostors the same .IF only!
The lesson learned is that of seeing an opportunity, of realising the value of regular communing and working with other practitioners of art, of gradually absorbing the many and various examples, methods and techniques used by others and then, by a process of osmosis, distilling it into our own work.
Such a full attendance at the life drawing session last night and so many drawings to see and study. Each one an individual and valid expression of how we see and describe the model in front of us. They could each be described by their elements such as line, value, texture, volume, colour or scale, the basic phenomena of visual art. However they are more than that analysis, they are a time lapse in space recorded by a circle of scribes and they stand together to form a composite 360 degree image.
I saw these snippets of advice in an old book of mine and thought they might be useful to the life drawer.
RELAX. Take a breather from your habitual way of doing things. Take time to step off the conveyor belt of life.
LOOK. Really look, meander where you would ordinarily walk with purpose.
PAY ATTENTION. Tune into senses other than visual, what are you feeling, what sounds are you aware of.
DON’T MAKE ART. Open yourself to novelty. If you find yourself trying to make it look good you are just doing what you always do.
DRAW DREAMS. Keep a sketchbook by your bed. (Not sure about this one!!)
TRUST YOURSELF. There is no wrong way.
Finally I arrived yesterday in the heat of the mid-day sun. In the top floor studio with roof windows I concentrated completely on my painting and drawing. After practising and dwelling on the trickier, more uncontrollable abstract expression and application of paint it was a welcome distraction to focus on pure drawing. The opportunity and facility to be able to do both is a joy to me. So absorbed was I in my work that it was not until I emerged from the outside door into the night, and saw streetlights and headlights on, that I realised it had gotten dark.
by Sandra Cowper
Paintings and drawings by Barry, Catherine, Chris, David, Hadyn, Hilary, Janet, Paul, Roger H, Roger S, Russell, Sandra, Steven, Sue, Tom and Tony.