Sunday, July 17, 2011

The paintings are not going anywhere at the moment and I was getting tired of the side by side paper things. I went back to drawing, which I use as a kind of crutch to bridge between things.

The first steps are always composition, and then control of the constituent parts. Simple, and yet not so simple. I always learn something from drawing. This time I learned that although I think I know what I'm doing, as soon as the drawing is underway, I begin to learn all the things I don't know about drawing.

The walls I draw on, are rough, and in some places have a brushstroke textural surface from the years of paint, and repair. It's not something you can see just looking at them, and I'm not helping, by using pushpins, to reduce the problem.

I love talking about frottage in classes because it sounds great, and it's one of those things that I've seen used beautifully by some artists. If you aren't familiar with the word, it's french for rubbing, and in this context can incorporate all kinds of textures and patterns into the drawing, in both a specific organized way as well as an overall underlying texture that just becomes the surface upon which the image rests. The reason I mention it is, I'm not one of those people who uses it beautifully, in fact, I was disturbed and muttering to myself in early stages.

I discovered a stick of graphite knocking about in the pile of stuff I had brought with me. I've never used stick graphite, stick charcoal yes plenty, lots of kinds, but graphite, had always been something that either I hadn't learned to use, or had tried, failed, and never looked back. This time, I began with the stick on it's side, with rough shading to generally push the form into some compositional position. As I went on, I needed to reinforce some of the transitional areas and movements. Instead of repositioning the stick in my hand, it remained as before, and the long corner where two facets met, became the line making tool. It sounds complicated, or simple, but if you try it, from flat on one facet rocking over on to the corner, thats it. I make a point of boring you with this because, these are the marks that I've been admiring for years in loads of drawings, and especially Fechin. Nobody ever said anything about how the marks were made, nobody ever taught any one I knew what that was and how it happens. It happens as a result of both the textured surface, and the way the material is held, weather its charcoal, or graphite. I would hope I'm not the only one who is this excited about it. Now the big problem is how to control it.

As I said earlier, I find out quickly how much I don't know, and how much there is to still learn. I've used an eraser for years, and you would think that there are few things that I hadn't discovered, and you would be wrong, as I was. So the week was spent drawing, not glamorous, but still worth the time and effort spent in the journey. The two drawings above are the result, and I apologize, they are not the technical finesse that we see usually in drawing, they were dragged kicking and screaming into existence, as though it were a battle of endurance.

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