I found this Hangout session incredibly motivating. I’m having a difficult time at work which has prevented me from spending the time and energy I want to on art recently. After enjoying the new experience of drawing from life and producing a good volume and quality of work that I found engaging and fulfilling in the first couple of months, I had convinced myself over the last several weeks that I had not achieved much in this part of the Drawing 1 module. Ilsa’s positivity and enthusiasm for my work is infectious and has been a tonic.
We talked about ‘vocabulary’ in an artwork in the context of my reluctance to include background detail in my work beyond perhaps a simple line. Ilsa made an interesting point by saying that this approach requires more care in a drawing than in a painting. Absence of any background in a painting seems deliberate, whilst in a drawing can simply make the piece appear unfinished. This is a useful distinction to bear in mind in future.
We discussed the artists and pieces I chose to include in my research points. I can appreciate that I need to more explicitly analyse my own responses to the work that catches my attention and consciously try carrying the intriguing elements into my own practice to see if I like the influence and impact. For example, I could try using no line at all in sketches, emulating Wendy Artin, or try to create images that are a ‘slow read’ like the digital portrait I couldn’t identify the source of.
The subject of shadows came up again. This time I better understood Ilsa’s guidance because of the context she used to explain it; when using a photograph to draw from, shadows appear flatter than in life because the source image is already two dimensional. In real life, our eyes adjust whilst looking into shadows and pick out contrasts that are not captured on film.
Other limitations of drawing from photographs is that the image is still and you have ‘slowed down’ to capture it so to deliver an image describing movement is very difficult. I will draw moving figures from life as advised in order to experience and appreciate the difference.
Ilsa also recommended that I do more drawings from imagination. I have some very large paper that I am itching to try- I think I’ll do some whole figures from imagination once I’ve installed my super-sized drawing board, hopefully this weekend.
I found Ilsa’s guidance on my unsuccessful final portrait particularly useful in helping me understand why it is still of value. Some of her phrases particularly struck a chord, such as “you were trying to make a mark without making a mark”, “it is better to go too far than not far enough”, and “don’t try to keep something you’ve already lost; use it as a learning tool”. I have a tendency, which I’m sure would be mitigated by doing more sketchbook study work, of always aiming for a ‘finished drawing’.
Thank you Ilsa, I still only have an embryonic idea about what I’m going to do for my final assignment piece but I’m much happier about it now!