Pushing Directions

crouching manSometimes limitations can add to interesting results.

Not being able to attend the untutored life drawing for a while due to extreme busyness, I decided I needed to go – for my own state of mind – and to focus my mind away from quite an intense week. Late and hassled, I grabbed the only materials I could find – two watercolour pastel crayon things and a chalk. I was short on paper so there’s about four drawings under this one – including a rather nice foot study that was merrily obliterated. This created an interesting interaction of shapes and colours – and something to fight against which is always good. Having just two colours – red and blue – inevitably lead to feeling of hot and cold with the hands, feet, knees, groin and ears being the red areas. (Why ears? It’s a mystery.)

Often people stick to their favourite method. Or spend a lifetime chasing likeness or tone. I spent a long time doing tonal charcoal studies (which I hated) before asking myself why.

Strangely it was a traditional anatomy class  released me. (Full of skeletons and diagrams of muscles!) Far from making me more tight and academic as you might expect, it made me more confident to change things up. The piece must exist on its own long after the model’s hoofed off home. Who cares if you’ve precisely captured that particular nose or that particular hairdo? What matters to me is composition, some sense of structure, expressiveness and a sense of mood. The model is a jumping off point, a point of inspiration. Change up materials. push directions.


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