Monday, 30 November 2015

Why drawing?

Drawing in a more "academic" way forces you to thinker deeply about the place of drawing in the modern world. Drawings certainly grab my attention better than photographs. That may be because I like to draw but also because the world I live in is absolutely saturated with photos, Iwona Blazwick calls it a deluge of photographic images in the recommended  2011 Jerwood Drawing Prize conversation with Deanna Petherbridge wonder how it must have felt in the past when a photo was remarkable and unusual and how it would have grabbed the attention. Maybe I'm slow but it has taken me years to really understand how the lens distorts the world even without photoshop. I think that may be because I've never really tried to take photos in the past, I only really started when I got a phone with a camera. Initially you think it's the quality of the camera or the lack of skill of the operator (me!) Slowly I came to really understand how difficult it was to make a permanent accurate record of what I saw in front of me.
But then actually I never wanted to accurately depict what I saw. Yes I'm a figurative artist (it's hard to call myself an artist, I should retype that to say that I like to draw in a figurative style) but I'm a secret megalomaniac who wants to manipulate the world around me. I remove backgrounds to make things stand out. I remove objects that are slap bang in front of me that I don't like the look of, lamp posts, cars, furniture, people. When I draw I make a snap decision whether I like you or not, if not you're out.
Drawing is about thinking and seeing. I've just read Andrew Marr's A Short Book about Drawing which failed to make the connection between drawing and meditation because he felt that drawing is an active and difficult process that requires effort and concentration. I've tried to meditate and I can tell you that meditation isn't easy either. Drawing is about being really present in the world and really seeing not just glancing at something and filling in the gaps.
I like to see other people's views of the world whether photos or drawings. It's the only way to step inside somebody else's head and get some idea of their personal view of the world. I don't think it is surprising that for me the most striking image of the atrocities in Paris was Jean Julien's Peace for Paris Symbol which rose above all the awful images.

References from Andrew Marr;
David Hockney's favourite drawing by Rembrandt
William Gillies simple drawing of trees
Katherine Kollwitz etchings

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Reflection on Drawing 1

I did this module as it is the gateway to Drawing 2 but I learnt a lot more from it than I expected. This is my 4th and final level 1 course and it has raised more questions than the previous modules maybe because I am starting to think more like a higher education student than a hobbyist. What constitutes drawing? Why do we do it? What is it's place in the modern world with the availability of photoshop and where nearly everyone has access to a camera?
Challenging myself with different materials and techniques has undermined my confidence a bit as I struggle to create something that I still find visually pleasing. Because I have drawn for a long time without receiving formal instruction I place too much emphasis on the technique and not enough on what I want the viewer to get from looking at my drawings. To really embrace education I need to find the confidence to let go of being representative and realistic but I still want to draw like myself not be a pencil for hire working to produce someone else's visions.
As ever some drawings worked and some didn't. These are the ones that I am pleased with, I would love to know if you prefer others.