Thursday 8 November 2018

EDAM Week 5: Drawing Space and Light (2)

 Week  5  of Extended Drawing  for Artists and Makers   started with a recap of the previous week  where  we'd been drawing  space, through transparency.  Anne  had brought in one of her fragile artworks to show us, made from strips  of paper , asking us to compare it  with the very solid brown teapot  it was based on. This week we were looking at surfaces and the  way light  bends around the surface  and the  awareness of the sense of touch 

Anne Teahan 

Antony Gormley 
 We looked at 2 different art works  by  Antony Gormley  based on the human form with very different scales and approaches: ' Exposure' ( above ), a huge structure composed of space  and the small dense, dark,  form of 'Iron Baby'  cast from  his  daughter ( exhibited as part of 'Found' at the Foundling Museum)  
Antony Gormley 
Thinking of how you might  draw this sculpture, we looked at the drawings  of Georges Seurat  with their rich blacks of Conte  on  textured paper  built up of tone rather than line, his approach to curved surfaces.   (I rediscovered my 'World of Art' book on Seurat bought in 1980  when I got home - I've always preferred his drawings to his paintings) 
Georges Seurat 

Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat
In these portraits  by Chuck Close, he's used  clusters of fingerprints to create tone - using different pressures to create light and shade, using touch itself . 

Chuck Close
Chuck Close

So our drawing tasks for the morning  were  to draw from photo of  'Iron Baby'  with white chalk on black paper and  charcoal  on white paper   working directly  with our fingers and hands , feeling our way around the subject , working lightly to begin with.   
 We  set up a 'palette' on the corner of   the paper, rubbing the white chalk to create a  dense covering which we lifted off with fingers to draw/ smear on the paper, replenishing when  needed,  creating a tonal scale with white fingerprints down the edge.  Working outwards ,we  used an eraser  to remove some of the chalk marks, to  define shapes and lines ( trying to avoid using the chalk directly until working  on  the strongest  highlights)  
Introducing the  dense , velvety blacks of compressed charcoal was left to the end , using the same technique of  rubbing on the corner of the paper for a palette  and then applying fingerstrokes in the  very darkest parts of form 

 We then  repeated  the process  in reverse, using  willow charcoal  initially  before the compressed charcoal.   The results  were much better  ( and more interesting)  with white on black than black on white , partly because the subject was dark so didn't need as much of the chalk to  find and define  the form ( neither of the papers had much a  'tooth' to hold the pigment.), partly as  I was looking intently just at the areas of reflected light rather than the subject matter. It was quite magical gradually seeing the 'ghost' emerge, the trick was to put a bit more definition in certain areas - the fist, the line along the back 

 Having said I don't really like charcoal to draw with as it's messy  and dries out my skin, I rather went for it, with a bit of encouragement using the side of my hand to draw with ! I rather like the smudged  overlapping lines and marks   that you couldn't get any other way. 
 I couldn't resist taking   'selfies' of my hand ( but then I  have  used my 'inky digit'
 as inspiration, including the piece above for 'International Threads' )    

I then found   the work of Judith Ann Braun

Judith Ann Braun 

In the afternoon   we applied some of the techniques  to the  shiny black vessels or objects  we'd brought in ( in my case a coffee filter cone) , starting with charcoal on white paper 

'Spaceship Caffeine'
 ' Nul Points'  for  perspective  and elipses but  I had a wonderful time putting in the lines with the side of my hand  and some energetic mark making with my fingertips and an eraser.   I like   how the  history of  corrections  and  redrawing   adds to the richness if not the accuracy  

I  didn't have much time  for  doing the  white on black version  ( especially after all the hand washing to remove at least some of the charcoal) - a bit more accurate,  a lot less lively.

Next week  we're doing   one A1 drawing based on the combination of space ( transparency) and light( surfaces, touch). Lots to think about! 

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