Drawing Class. Session 7 prep. Life Drawing/male, day 4.

November 26, 2011

Here’s today’s “work” from Riven Phoenix’s Structure of Man figure drawing course, with some consultation of anatomy textbooks while away from the computer monitor.

I’ve decided to work quite big – full A4-size pages – and with very soft pencils (8B, 9B) to cope with Phoenix’s level of detail and sketching style. Phoenix reinforces his drawing approach from one Lesson to the next, helping imprint the formulas on the memory. I’ve picked up some of his linguistic idiom: “invention” is the product of the imagination, not the product of direct observation; “character design” refers to cartoon characters or manga drawings, “anomalies” refers to the foundation construction which is later erased for ‘proper’ detailed drawing over the top; “organic” refers to the differences between individual bodies. The attention to the skeleton is useful because there are certain “hard” spots all over the body, no matter how much muscle or fat is packed on top. 

Torrential rain continues here for days on end; no real opportunity for urban sketching outdoors. 

After the “work”, here is some “play” based on photos in the sporting pages of today’s newspaper.

At the end of another day’s drawing, some reading: Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap having finished on television this week (I’ve been re-reading each chapter prior to each episode), I found the differences between the novel and the television series intriguing, including the very subtle twists made by Tony Ayres on the original plot. Subtle (the events at the swimming pool and Richie after the Big Day Out) because they didn’t detract or divert from the original. I liked the way that all the parents and grandparents were suddenly sensitised after that slap to the physical abuse they dished up as part of their children “growing up”. It says a lot about how we adapt, through behaviour modification, to the exigencies of human rights. Being altruistic and compassionate is not a light load, it’s quite a burden, requiring focus and concentration – what Buddhists would undoubtedly call “mindfulness”.

I’ve now moved to Michel Hoellebecq’s The Map and The Territory, which has lots of parallels with Tsiolkas’ Dead Europe (contemporary Paris, the photographer/artist, the artist and his gallerist, globalization). Tsiolkas’ protagonist is from outside Europe, so issues of identity and background are more pressing than in the Hoellebecq. By contrast, Hoellebecq’s “Jed” is embedded in Europe, but there is a deal of observation on the multicultural and globalized aspects of contemporary life in France.


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