Drawing Class, Session 2. Homework: scaffolding double coupler.

October 26, 2011

I think the only difference between Sketching (Weaving/Braiding) and Meditation (sitting and walking), is that there is a physical artefact at the end of the process. Music is half-and-half; we have a physical artefact before and after, but the music-making itself goes into the ether (unless it’s recorded). Usually I’m more interested in process than in outcome. From time to time though, I’m forced to think about the ‘other world’ of physical artefacts: the individuals and industries surrounding the commerce of those artefacts – gallery owners, publicists, agents, gallery exhibitions and opening nights, e-tailing, exhibition sales, commissions, taxation.

At Drawing Class, the teacher indicated we might like to keep the drawings we do or not. I’ve kept mine, scribbling notes on each of the pages so when I return to them in future, I can remember what I was attempting and why. Part of that process spills over into this blog. There are plenty of artists who would never ‘publish’ everything; plenty who would hold back their best work for an exhibition.

In order not to think about all these issues (please, just not just now – later…), I’ve gone back to school to brush up on my technique. Classes usually means lots of exercises, one leading to the next, linearly, but in the past I’ve been demotivated because the exercises don’t ‘go’ anywhere. Contradicting what I’ve said above about process vs outcome. So this time around, I keep my own proper portfolio – all the best of my stuff together, a narrative construct which seems to valorise what I’ve done. This seems better than the jumble of accumulated classwork I normally assemble. I’ll come back to narrative construct because last week I went and saw the ArtBound exhibition of artist books.

Last class saw lots of drawing with the non-dominant hand, blind contour, even an 8-minute portrait done in continuous contour with the non-dominant hand. Just as a fun thing, with ‘proper’ portraiture instruction coming down the line in future weeks. A lot of that is front-of-mind in my urban sketching and object drawing and pen-and-ink work.

In my work at home between classes, I wanted to differentiate between Small Object Drawing (with the only problem being parallax error caused by being so close up to the object) and Large Object Drawing (requiring sighting and measuring with a pencil). For the Small Object Drawing, I’ve set up an old scaffolding double coupler on a squared green cutting board. I’ve been a bit cruel to myself by putting in the squares from the board after doing the drawing, just to see how ‘out’ I’ve been. This exercise at home seems to contain just about every challenge possible in matters to do with blind contour, sighted contour, some tonal range.

In the coming days, I have to look ahead to still life composition and a tonal bar. I notice Cathy Johnson advocating unusual objects in still life drawing – not the usual apples and napkins. I’ll keep that in mind this week. As predicted, we dropped willow charcoal in favour of pencil in class, like an unpopular relative.

Too wet to draw outdoors in Marrickville today – noone outdoors at the Post Office cafe, though the umbrellas were unfurled (permanently during summer?). Inventing all sorts of ruses to avoid doing revision for forthcoming university exams in Italian verismo and Moroccan ecriture feminine.

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