Sunday, November 14, 2010

IS ACADEMIC DRAWING A YAWN?...365 Days of Drawing

"GESTURE, CONSTRUCTION, ANATOMY, TECHNIQUE", my main drawing instructor Sheldon Borenstein always advised in his teaching plan as the order of drawing play. He certainly taught me a lot about "GCAT", as he nick-named it.

Gesture (movement) is what you put down in the first few minutes of a drawing. Without movement a drawing is nothing. Construction is added on to that (the boxes, spheres and cylinders of the human forms), then anatomy, and then finally technique. You see it really is that simple! Ha.

Technique takes the longest time I think. To make it your own. Your Point of VIEW. Regular life-drawing, practise, practise, practise and reading and copying from great art anatomy books like George Bridgeman, one can nail down the first three FAIRLY competently within a few years. The books by true modern day master draughtsman Glenn Vilppu (Sheldon's teacher) are certainly the books I have slaved over also like Scrooge over his Christmas ledgers.

I read an interesting blog post yesterday about the highly academic Florence School of drawing and learning. Drawings VERY similar to my last few in this yearly challenge. Polished and worked over for quite some considerable time. Which was my point in wanting to do them. Not that spontaneous. Some were arguing in the post on Florence, that drawings like these, while technically good are not that exciting. Not enough so to speak. Certainly the posts on my Facebook public page, where almost 1,000 are now watching the challenge (thank you!), went way down as I posted these more academic drawings. A certain snore factor set in.

My theory is good drawing, like The Florence School teaches, is a must for the figurative artist and you can sure tell which artist has done their homework on the figure or not. There is NO hiding it. As Vilppu says, there are no rules just tools. But one does need to learn the rules in drawing. I am so grateful I learned to draw from the animator Sheldon/Vilppu school of drawing which is all about movement.

This caused me grief in my early journey. Paralysis by analysis. I would see these technically perfect drawings around mass (more the painter's way) rather than line (line, more the Vilppu way which I was learning) and wonder if I was in the right class. Even artists I admired told me I needed to switch to the mass school of drawing. Oh, the agony of it. But I stuck with those Vilppu books and learned. And I painted a lot from life. That showed me all my faults. Still does.

Time heals art drawing paralysis if you show up often enough to your drawing board. Now I am able to go back and forth between both schools, certainly not a master, but appreciative of what I have learned from both and how line and mass are meshed together in drawings that I like.

Today's drawing I think is a perfect example of how I really like to draw. My technique which has taken me time to work out. Pastel with gouache on paper. With a water wash. Line meets mass. Little loose in places. Not too overworked. And a sense of fun. This drawing took me about one and a half hours.

Let me know your thoughts!!!! Dying to here.


Anonymous said...

What a treat to see the process. I just admire and awe at your skillz girlfriend!! I absolutely adore the movement and attitude your drawings always so accurately portray (did you notice how many "a" words i used in that sentence? let me finish with another.."Amazing!"

Anonymous said...

Someday I'll learn to post my little photo up in the corner. But meanwhile, though I may not have any formal training in art (to speak of), I do know when I appreciate art from deep inside out. I see it here in the female form, which always intrigues me. I love your work, Johanna!

David Magallanes

LindaHunt said...

Fascinating...I appreciate your description and our course your sensitive beautiful drawings.

Dana Cooper said...

Great post Johanna! Loving the figure too, and trying to find the balance between what is accurate and what is expressive is always the have found it in this piece!