(Originally written 04/10/18)
We started off the day with a continuous line drawing of a structure in the middle of the room that was draped with cloth and tarpaulin. It was quite fun, but I do feel like I need to practice continuous line drawing at home more to try and hone my skills. After we were all warmed up, we were asked to draw the structure, and given 45 minutes. I quite liked having more organic shapes to play with, as the past weeks have been with an emphasis on more rigid shapes, and as my background is primarily in portraiture which makes use of more fluid lines. After 15 minutes, we were told to stop and move 5 easels clockwise – this was now our drawing. We were encouraged to rub away any incorrect lines and make sure all of the angles were accurate, instead of filling in the unfinished parts. I found this a lot of fun, and it almost gave me a sense of relief, moving away from my drawing and on to another one. I had no qualms with rubbing out parts of the picture, and enjoyed trying to reconstruct what I had erased. It was almost like a puzzle, trying to slot in correct angles and deal with the domino effect of corrections from each adjustment. I felt free to absorb myself into the work without getting “clean page anxiety” or expecting it to be perfect. After another 15 minutes had passed, we were told to rotate to another easel, and do the same again. This was a little trickier, as by that point two people had already worked on the piece, so there was a distinct difference in stylistic choices already present.
We shared our work with the group and then were asked for 3 words to demonstrate what we learned from the experience, to carry over and focus on during our next drawing. Mine were freedom, flexibility, and being constructive.
The exercise allowed me to feel a real sense of freedom to work loosely, I found I didn’t worry so much about making mistakes when I was working on something that already had parts present. I wanted to keep this in mind for the future so that I can push myself to not be tied down to perfectionism, and instead enjoy the process of creating.
I think it is important to be willing to change parts of things we have already done to make way for new, revised input. Flexibility is important in many facets of life, and is very relevant to art as well; we must stay agile, and willing to be honest with ourselves to create the best version of our creations.
It is all too easy to feel like we are making progress, when we are simply going over our same lines over and over. This is true in life as much as it is in drawing; We can isolate ourselves in our echo chambers and only do what we know, believing we are growing, when we aren’t. This is something that is becoming more and more apparent to me as the weeks go by – I have spent so many years of my life stagnating, and only making very slow progress because I have been afraid to fail. In the context of this drawing, I found that the time pressure pushed me to make bolder decisions and really forge the lines I was making. It was a great feeling, and I would love to be able to keep this concept in mind more.
We then took a piece of A0 brown paper and were told we would have the rest of the day to draw the structure using charcoal and white chalk. It was very difficult to try and get the proportions and angles correct with the fabric being flowing. Despite that, I enjoyed the exercise and found it an enjoyable experience. I am appreciating drawing from life more and more, it is a different beast from using a 2D reference but it very rewarding, and I really feel like my drawings from life have a weight to them.
After lunch we came back to find that the covering fabric and tarpaulin had been removed to reveal the objects underneath. This included a skeleton, a bottle, a tyre, and other bric-a-brac. Our task was to take a coloured pastel and show these in the drawing we had already done, in the hope that all of the items fit in under the blanket we had drawn. My main conundrum upon being faced with this was how to use the coloured pastel, as the drawing already had tone, and the paper was brown which covered the mid-tones. I opted to use it as an accent to show any areas that were covered by cloth previously.
I was very surprised to find that most of the items fit proportionally in my drawing. It was far from 100% perfect - upon measuring using the skeleton’s skull as a size reference, my picture was one skull too short. You can see this in the legs of the skeleton, as they do look a little bit short. There are some issues with angles too on the boxes and suchlike. I am pleased with how it came out however, and I really think that if I had tried the same exercise a few weeks ago it would’ve not worked out well at all.