Sunday, July 04, 2010

belated update

Yesterday's Common Ground Work Party was bountiful! We harvested the garlic planted last October - it's HUGE. So are the beets. The peas forest a whole acre (slight exaggeration), and just since last week everything has grown several inches up or out. Amazing. You can see some pictures on this blog. Now imagine everything BIGGER! Such a juicy garden! Things here at home (things being plants of the vegetable variety) continue to grow at a glacial pace, if at all. Too little sun? CUT DOWN THOSE TREES DAMMIT! Too little fertilizer? I glad for our neighborhood Common Ground.

Went to see a fellow art student's opening exhibit at First Friday. Drew Bardana draws! And paints. And I love his experiments with medium and style and subject matter. It was fun to meet him; we found out that we're both signed up this Fall for Grosowsky's figure drawing class. (you will recall Mr. G from last semester, yes?) Drew did an intensive one-week drawing course at the outset of summer term. For six days, you are in class from 9am to 9pm. Whoah. I'm considering rearranging my own summer term schedule (yet again) to accommodate the last drawing marathon which is at the end of summer term. That is some crazy shit! It sounds extreme.....and fun.

Last week we worked on perspective and organic forms. Drew outside most days, with assignments to draw architecture and shrubbery. I like the contrast between linear contained forms and the relatively nonlinear and looser/gestural qualities that shrubs and vegetatives bring to the picture. It's been an interesting week, with the usual ups and downs. But I'm learning what works and what doesn't and how to adjust with different sized drawings.

Here's the first homework assignment, which I really enjoyed doing. Discovering different mark-making techniques and figuring stuff out was actually fun. Graphite, 18 x 24".


The second homework assignment last weekend was to create a still life. I couldn't bear the idea or the execution of another damn fruit bowl or some random objects so I decided to create a narrative. Make of it what you will. I liked doing this one too, and grunging it up. Charcoal, 18 x 24"


I did an extra homework during the week because I wasn't satisfied or excited by what I had done in class one day (I was being social with a fellow classmate, and I really can't divide my attention productively: I have to draw, or talk, not both). The composition is okay but my focus was more on the perspective aspect of it, since I haven't practiced much with this discipline. Eventually I'll be able to keep it all in mind and use mark-making, perspective AND composition all to greater effect. Mixed media: charcoal, ballpoint, marker, graphite. 18 x 24"

Here's this weekend's homework assignment, part one.

The assignment: continue with perspective and organic forms. Create a minimum of six thumbnails and develop three with full value. Then do a full-page (have yet to draw that one up).

There are elements in all three that I like but overall I have yet to really hit the mark. For example........the middle one is too busy. Too many goodies, ya know? The last one I like as an idea: creeping up, almost to the corner of the house, and there is more resting for the eyes. Also, I want to create a sense of tension, approaching the corner of the building. Maybe tilt the frame? But here it lacks a punch that I'm wanting.
Aaanyway, a good learning experience. 

I think if I try that third frame full size in charcoal I might achieve more of what I'm after. I'll give it a go tomorrow.

This kind of drawing exercise is challenging in ways that I haven't taken on before, which is good (and necessary). It's kind of meditative too.....and in a way it's safe. Drawing organic forms alongside architecture is a good mix as I mentioned earlier up there - Mister Teacher knows what he is about in assigning this -- the looser/gestural quality brought to the scene with organic forms is a nice foil to the linear qualities of architecture and buildings.

I'm really glad that this instructor is giving us a variety of assignments. A good introduction to a discipline, and he states in the syllabus that aesthetic end and developing personal style (and composition!! always composition!) trumps skill. Nice.

I'd like to bring something not so safe to the table with these drawings and I am hoping I can introduce that in the third panel (make it nighttime instead?). However, I might just have to abandon ship and start over if it's not happening.

The cool challenge is to complete the assignments within the parameters and put a unique spin on it. Well yeah...that's what it's all about.....

This morning I reworked the three drawings, smoothing out some of the chatter and trying to create the shadows to lie on forms more convincingly; also boosting up the values with more contrast. Things were starting to look grayscale. In the originals you can really tell a difference since last night. Here are some closeups.

So in a lot of ways I think these are pretty safe drawings for the viewer. I'd like to create more tension and mystery. I'd like to discover some new techniques, push something somewhere further. I'd like to learn how to add more depth by laying down medium, erasing, and laying it down again. I've read somewhere that is how to create depth but I'm not sure how to do that. Yet. That third panel, I keep going back to; in this rendition it's pretty boring but I think there is a lot of potential there. I really like the big black of the window right up next to and falling off the edge (or, the implied continuity is technical terms this is called 'closure', when things run off the page).

Here's a drawing I did last week in class, instead of the boring still life in front of us. It's a portion of the studio's ceiling. The best bits to me are the spotlights. I like the ballpoint outline that describes the forms and the 'coloring outside the lines' I deliberately did with the charcoal. I've tried to recreate this effect but haven't spent much time trying (too busy doing other assignments, perhaps....?). Maybe I'll try to employ that in something this weekend; I'd like to finish the homework assignment today and then start on something new that incorporates certain elements of our assignment but that I take greater liberty with :)

The vent on the wall needs some reworking (yes that's a vent, right now it looks like.....what the hell is that?).

A couple of sketchbook sketches round out my appetite and once again I thank my friend J in Leeds for the references and inspiration!

Okay that's a wrap for now. Laundry needs to be hung the SUNSHINE! oh thank god it's sunny again.


The second half of the homework assignment, a full-sized. I decided to go for the night scene, and some things I like about this, but it's dangerously close to being too uniform in value (how do you avoid that at night??). I'm also hankering for some new techniques. Or something.

Interestingly enough, the last couple of days I've been out on my bike I have been looking more closely at foliage and buildings :) How the pieces all fit together, and Wow look at that streetlamp I want to draw that! and the patterns of light and shadow -- looking at the gesture of different plants and trees, and seeing things as the absence and presence of light. Pretty cool.


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joven said...

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joven said...

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