As the session drifted into it's twilight phase, Roger H sloped over and in a voice the colour of old linoleum muttered the enigmatic phrase.....Less is More..... what could he mean? Without another word and a knowing glance he melted once more into the shadows. Less is More. Those words raced around my head, it's is one of those phrases that seemed to sum up a great truth, three simple words and yet when it came to drawing it seemed an almost impossible, even maybe a mammoth task to apply such a simple old adage to something so complex as drawing. In life drawing so often’ less is more’ becomes ‘more is more’ as we pile on the detail, zoom in and look ever deeper at all that compulsive information. Fingernails, in or out, eyebrows, for or against, toenails, are you with them or are you agin them, hair, you're fired, don’t shilly shally. On a day when democracy was given the thumbs down and the electorate chose to walk on by, these important decisions can make all the difference, the belly button are you going to go for it or will the smooth mound of the belly no longer be violated by the insertion of this little intruder, you decide.
It’s all good and well saying less is more, but what less and what more? What stays in and what gets left out, that’s the dilemma of life drawing and with a two day marathon looming are we going to see a festival of detail or the birth of monk like abstinence where only the essentials survive the cut. We shall see.
Of course the easy route is just to pile the detail in, no doubt hoping that this great accumulation of bric a bric will amount to a museum but a museum it ain’t without organization, without prioritizing and without the big D, Decisions. Decisions are what make the work and tough decisions always impress, it’s the grand gesture that constantly captures the headlines. No amount of beautifully detailed toenails will set the heart racing, the great sweep of a swathe of charcoal or the mighty splash of a fully loaded brush; these are the things that turn a head, that whisper in the night those alluring words, freedom and creativity. Counting cuticles will never cut it where exciting drawings are concerned; risk averse is also excitement averse which translates into boring. So I say what’s wrong with eleven fingers, a wonky eye and a bent nose and that’s before we’ve started drawing (only kidding all you gorgeous models out there), let the camera do the dogs work and we can have fun, push the boat out and see what happens when life drawing stops becoming the accountants life sapping accumulation of endless details. Let the number crunchers, crunch numbers our role is to be the ones covered in feathers, squished into a spangly basque, shaking our booty, heading up the parade, artists are meant to be life enhancers, party animals not the dour door keepers of the dullest do in town, let’s amuse ourselves, why not! Less is more but that more can be massive. Now there’s a challenge.
I like Patrick’s large energetic charcoal drawing; it seems filled with boundless optimism and determined to make the most of what was an un-promising angle. Russell’s paradoxical drawing where the background says ‘let’s parteee…. And the figure says does the music really have to be so loud, sadly something I see in myself all too often at the dimming of the day, a wise and thoughtful drawing. Andrew's channelling Bob Dylan, he's gone electric with a powerful drawing full of energy and commitment and Sandra continues on her spiky road of discovery, how can someone so kind of nature, gentle of disposition produce such Scheilesque angst ridden lines. Sue seems to enter her own time warp continuum and produce far more than anyone else, I suspect jiggery pokery and the use of hallucinogenic mind altering substances like herbal tea, that can be the only explanation for the difference between Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening. Compulsory dope testing, it's the only answer, I feel a Lance Amstrong moment may be upon us.
We are planning the annual Redbrick Mill Life Drawing Christmas Lunch Extravaganza so dust off that mistletoe and get ready for a good old rummage in Santa’s sack, tenders for the role of Santa are now being accepted……….. Details will be posted soon.
Paintings and drawings by Andrew, Barry, Ben, Catherine, Cathy, David, Fiona, Hadyn, Hilary, Ian, Patrick, Roger H, Roger S, Russell, Sandra, Steven, Sue, Tom and Tony.