Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Exploring Concepts

 Assignment 2
 The Figure and the Self Portrait
 Project: Looking

Painting with a Stick:

Free painting with a stick was a very good exercise to help free up ones work, the elimination of detail was achieved quite literally at a stroke.  It made me realize the importance of having long brushes when working in oils, and encourages one to stand back from the work to observe.  Nonetheless, there is a frustration in not being able to paint details of the face, in particular, to obtain a likeness; but for the figure itself it is a rewarding concept. I am not quite sure how one could use this method to produce a finished painting, buut it does give ideas about the value of lines and which bits can be left out, yet still form a coherent picture. 

The stick painting is also reminiscent of lost and found lines but for different reasons, not so much by making judgements about which part of the line should be lost or found, but by appearing an disappearing randomly. It was frustrating in that the paint did not adhere to the stick terribly well, but the results were interesting. I am not sure how one could use this method to produce a finished picture but it does give ideas about the value of lines and which bits can be left out yet still form a coherent picture.

Focus on the Model:

Drawing a continuous line without looking down at the paper but observing the model produced some wonderful semi-abstract compositions, one of which I developed as a sketch asking "Who?" 


Look at the spaces:

Again, in order to hold the pose and draw at the same time, this produced some interesting shapes, which would be useful for an abstract way of working.

Facial Contours:
Drawing by Feeling was not very successful, I only did a couple of sketches, but I felt my brain was over-riding the touch sensation to produce what I knew to be there, and the output was merely interesting, but didn't have as much potential as a technique as the other exercises.

Check and Log 
  • Which of these approaches worked best? How can you incorporate this way of working into the rest of your work?
Two methods worked well for me the free drawing without looking produced some interesting possibilities for abstract work without compromising on the subject of the painting, indeed from my  point of view enhancing it in terms of its volume and human qualities.
The other method that worked well was the stick method, particularly using charcoal.  Not only did it enable me to work more freely but it also drew attention to the need to distance oneself from the easel.
I have already seen the potential in the first method and developed some drawings which demonstrate this. I think the second method is an on-going influence on my work which needs to be much more free, but I feel I have started this process.
  • Were you able to ignore the desire to create an ‘accurate’ representation of the model?   
Not entirely, particularly with the portrait, where the desire to obtain a likeness tended to be in my mind.  With the figure itself, I was conscious of the freedom to express the modelling in a less controlled more interesting way.  The spontaneity factor was much more evident I think. 
  • Is your work becoming freer
I definitely feel that these exercises are something one should to resort to every now and again to ensure that one achieves a style that is less detailed and more expressive, and I am reminded of the drawings from the late 19th Century which are technically brilliant but lack the expressive form of the human figure.

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