Pulling punches and Portraits

January 1, 2011

More work on forearms and portraits. Tackling long-standing weaknesses in my figure drawing repertoire. Sharing drawings online makes me accountable to a ‘greater’ or ‘more public’ self – it forces me to ‘move forward’. I appreciate how time-consuming all the scanning and commentary is, at least references to same by sketcher colleagues with weblogs. These are all pages from the Glenys Mann The Artist’s Notebook Project event (Fibre Arts Australia); the A5 visual art diary notebook is slowly filling up and my deadline is end-February 2011. Since Glenys’ colleagues are in the textile/art cloth community, my sketchbook is somewhat outre. No ideas for surface design of textiles there. Ultimately of course my sketchbook is due for filing on the shelf along with all the other earlier ones, so it has to be essentially ‘me’, part of that long personal journey.

Additions to the sketchbook have been desultory over the last few months because priority has been given to temari balls and most recently yubinuki. The notebook however includes my current preoccupations: male portraits, male figure drawing, male cellists, foreshortened arms/fists, with the odd reference to analysis of patterns for temari balls thrown in. Since I have retained all my photographic reference material, I may end up simply repeating the same subject matter over and over (to see if and by how much I improve, perhaps). I could always mirror-image the entries of the first half of the sketchbook, copying from the same sources in the second half of the book in reverse order. No-0ne would know except me.

Not included in my sketches has been my ‘holiday’ of stitched biscornus while I give temari balls and yubinuki a bit of a break. The current searing heat of midsummer and a week away from work/commute – the metro/bouleau/dodo routine – is traditionally a time when I ‘do something else’. I am slowly getting back to Riven Phoenix’s Structure of Man, which I know lies at the heart of my future progress in figure drawing and will mark a revolutionary step away from the tonal copying I am doing to a decent structural underpinning in what I do. The inspiration of USK will make itself known eventually too, especially since my workplace is so close to a large Sydney cemetary.  The Brooklyn Artist’s Sketchbook Project, and other Net references, seem to prefer the small 3×5 and larger 5×8 moleskines/visual art diaries. I have a 3×5 moleskine to hand which should become my ‘public’ face (I show no-one my sketchbooks normally because of the contempt in which the public/strangers hold male figure drawing); it might become the vehicle for pen & ink and form a springboard to w/colour and work with markers. The moleskine I’ve always considered somewhat too small (for the sort of work I normally do), but I experienced a life-changing moment and a profound new respect for this size notebook, when I saw a group of them, with sketches of clouds no less, all done by J.M.W. Turner (or was it Constable?) at a blockbuster art event at the National Art Gallery in Canberra some years back.


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