Friday, 29 March 2013

Life Drawings and Distortion

Every once in awhile I have the opportunity to attend an open studio session and draw the figure, from life. It's a wonderful way to spend three hours, slow down one's mind, and practice the art of perception (drawing what you see), not conception (what you know). I am at a stage in my art and life where creative interpretation is more important to me than photographic perfection, and so I like to do partial blind contour drawings of the posed model. This means that once I place my pen on the paper and begin to draw, I look mostly (hence 'partial' - 90% of the time) at the model, and almost never at the drawing on the paper. I don't worry about making a 'good' drawing, or accuracy in proportions, or modeling to make it look three dimensional and real. What I do work at is seeing and drawing what I really see in front of me. This is a great exercise in concentration and over time drawing skills do improve. However, my drawings are always somewhat distorted - and that's what I like. The degree of distortion is determined by how much I look at my drawing during the 5-10 minute poses, and how often I take my pen off the page and look at the drawing to re-position it in order to 'correct' or exaggerate proportions. 

These three drawings (approximately 17" x 14") were each completed in less than 10 minutes in this manner. At the end of the pose I looked at the drawing, and added arbitrary lines - to the figure, and to define the negative space, and to create shapes rather than allow lines to dangle. I quite liked the overall effect of that technique and will try it when drawing other subjects.

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