Monday, 16 January 2017

Part 5 Project 1 revisited

I wrote the reflection and decided that I'm not finished with this project so I made some paper scrolls and went back out to a different set of shops with my pens. People didn't hang around so much this time, its no longer bank holiday and the weather was dull and grey.
First a mixed red, blue and white pencil which isn't really bold enough for this exercise.
Then felt tip pens changing colour for each person.
Then switching between a red and black pencil, I didn't spend as long on this one as I was called in to work.
None of the drawings are individually as good as the first session but there is a better sense of the crowd. However they all appear to be present at once so I don't get a feel of passing time. The felt tip pens probably work best because there is a suggestion that maybe the different coloured figures aren't inhabiting the same space at the same time, especially when they overlap.
I wanted to experiment with using colour to suggest the passage of time.
This time I used oil pastel as I was given a set with a good gradation of colours. First using a different coloured pastel for each individual.
Then I drew a row of yellow figures, overlapped them with a row of orange figures then red, purple blue and finally green.
For both of these drawings it was raining so the people didn't hang around for long. The figures are drawn from a mixture of memory and imagination. It was a good exercise for me because I couldn't focus on the individuals or any detail. I concentrated on trying to get a feel of each person. I think that you can tell that I drew the top line first, I've relaxed into the drawing process for the second set of figures and I think that this is the best version yet because the lighter coloured figures look like the ghosts of previous people. Should I have done this in neutral colours? It's a grey day and I'm enjoying the colour but maybe it distracts the viewer?

Following on from this project I went to the Tate Modern and drew the people in the Turbine Hall experiencing Phillipe Parenno's Anywhere. (Sadly still without flying fish)

The earlier sustained practice of drawing moving people has made me more decisive in capturing this small crowd. 

The people drawings have a sense of movement and the use of broken line gives a sense of abstraction.
The rainbow effect drawing is less successful because it is predictable but the over-laid coloured figures are better and create a forest of lines and colour.

The animal drawings better than I judged them to be. I felt that they moved less than I would have expected them to and most of the movement was the head. At my tutorial we discussed the way we see figures and how we are programmed to focus on the eyes and mouth, this has been studied in the drawings of young children. My tutor commented that this is a useful tool for composition, exploited by some artists who slightly enlarge the head/eyes when drawing people.
The repetition and the need for rapid mark making encouraged the use of confident lines and gestural drawing. My tutor could see parallels with the continuous line work of Claude Heath. I had studied his work shortly before making these drawings and I suspect that this subconsciously influenced how I approached this project. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Part 5 - Project 1 - A changing scene

I sat in my car in the car park of some local shops. It's the new years bank holiday so it was quieter than usual but fortunately the bakers was open and attracting a slow but steady flow of customers. I started with a Tombow brush pen.

 Then I changed to a plain felt tip pen.
It took a few drawings to adjust to the different pen. This time I fitted the figures in randomly just trying to get as many as I could on the page.
Finally I used a brush pen, the sort that takes a cartridge of ink. This felt very bold after the other pens. I found that I had to be more precise with my lines.

 It worked a bit better if I drew bigger figures but I think that they lost that feeling of movement.

Straying away from the brief a little there are a few figures that I quite like.

This woman holding her child
The women at top left
The lady in green and the hoodie with the dog

Using photoshop I combined two images. There is an element of passing time where the figures overlap but not as much as I want for this project.

Reviewing the other drawings I think that I was doing better at the start before I got over excited with drawing people. The felt tip pens conveyed the transience of the lines better because I could use them more freely, scribbling lightly or bolder heavy handed marks.
I lost my way towards the right of this drawing.
 but it looses the sense of time passing if I crop it narrower.
I think that this drawing works best.
The different sizes of the people and the fact that they are all heading in different directions help.
Although I enjoyed making this drawing it doesn't seem finished enough to be the final piece and I was too busy capturing people to think about time.

Drawing in my sketchbook I started to think about how many figure models slowly drift as you draw them, it's even worse when you try to draw a sleeping animal which appears to be still but is constantly moving very slowly so you start to feel that you're going slightly mad.
What if, instead of trying to capture a snapshot, I drew exactly what I saw, including the movement in the drawing?
 Like this biro drawing of my dog. 
After a few lines I found that it was easy to get lost between the versions of the drawing. The head may be disproportionally large or maybe, because that was the bit that moved the most, it's just that there are so many different overlaid versions. Apart from the thorax, which was reasonably still, how do I, or the viewer, know if my lines were accurate at the time that they were made?
I repeated the exercise drawing my cat in different coloured Tombow markers to try and keep track of which version I was working on, and to show the development over time.

The markers are becoming dried out which, in the early stages makes them nicely responsive, but now I'm not sure which one is going to work. I don't think that this drawing works as well, the rust coloured lines dominate the drawing.

I did a biro drawing as well which I think works better as all the versions are equally weighted and the viewer can choose which one to see. The cat didn't move much more than his head, although I couldn't really see his feet. I cropped the drawing just to the area of movement.

but I don't think that it makes sense without the body so I prefer the first dog drawing as there are more areas of movement.

What were the main challenges in working this way? People came in groups, lots of interesting potential subjects and it was hard to decide who to focus on, then there were gaps when there was no one to draw. I was comfortable and hidden in my car but other cars and street furniture hid some of the action. 

Did you feel comfortable focusing on movement at the expense of a more ‘finished’ effect? 
thoroughly enjoyed myself but I worry that I turned this into an exercise in self indulgence. The "finished" drawings look more like sketchbook pages which is the sort of art that I like to look at but tutors have commented on the lack of resolution in my work so I don't think that I've made an adequately "finished" piece out of the exercise.

Did you choose the right materials for the job? I am happy working in felt tip and biro. The ink brush pen was challenging and I used it for self development but I didn't feel comfortable using it. I wanted something that wasn't erasable so that it didn't get smudged but I want to think about using several different colours on the same drawing, maybe similar shades which sit well together but highlight the different figures and the timescale.

What would you do differently another time? Find somewhere with a clearer unobstructed view. Work on a longer landscape drawing with figures at the same level. Maybe work from left to right gradually changing the colour? I'm not sure how to get this to work at the moment, dip pens? (messy in a car or public place) coloured pencils?