Friday, 6 January 2012

First day of Drawing Summer School

I had a wonderful day today.  The drawing class was published as being every Friday, from 10-4.  Being keen, I caught the 8.52 bus, and strolled up to the classroom at 9.10, only to discover the class started at 9am.  University administration being what it is, the class had been publicised to start at 9am, 9.30 and 10am to different people!

Michael, the tutor, appears excellent.  He is really into the expression of a drawing - the sense of adventure, the qualities and characteristics, honouring the medium, consciousness and habits, artistic licence, experiencing and responding, and evaluating and enriching your creative process.  This sounds like my sort of class.  There are 6 classes, where we get 6 hours of tuition and we are expected to do 6 hours homework too. 

My notes from the class say:

What do I want from a drawing?  The quality of the mark; that it expresses my feeling; that someone else gets a feeling (not necessarily the same as mine) from it.
Open mind.  Bring imaginative stuff.  Charcoal bricks
Experience and respond/ avoid judgement
Forget concept - focus on the experience of what you are doing.
Biggest hurdle is your eye and judgement
Be aware of when you work in habit; when you are frustrated; when you go into judgement mode.
Identify your habits
Identify whether you work from your head or emotion
Allow the experience to affect you and respond to it.
Find connections
Don't be a camera - include and exclude
Consider your materials and circumstances - use to your advantage
Materials are your partner - how do you honour and respect them
Be distinctive
Be accepting of what you are
Simplicity and contrast
Insecurity/confidence and courage

We did some very simple exercises that were enlightening.  We had to draw a single line in charcoal, from top to bottom of an A1 page, taking 5 minutes to draw it.  Mine meandered across the page several times, with light pressure, hard pressure, using the tip and side of the charcoal.  Other people made much more vertical lines.  There was considerable variation to the lines. Then we worked the same exercise from bottom to top, then two lines on the page.  Michael is also into dance and music, and for some reason the word "dance" stuck in my mind and my two line exercise looked like a moving dancer.

We did exercises using a still life of hard and soft objects, using charcoal, marker pens, fine line markers and ink & stick. We drew the objects, and also the negative space.  By the end of class I was absolutely exhausted. 

Michael observed that this was a strong class, that had quickly formed a positive group dynamic. I wonder whether this is because it is a summer school.  The people present are all prepared to work in the summer holidays.  This may be because, like me, they find 4 modules at once to be quite demanding, and if you want to put your all into each class, it is easier to spread it out by taking one module in summer school.  Alternatively, 4 months is just too long a break and taking one module early keeps your mind working.  I know I had forgotton how exhausting an art class could be, and was surprised to feel so spent - despite being stressed and exhausted only a few weeks ago last semester. 

Reflecting, I think my best work today was making different types of lines using the charcoal.  I made some very interesting marks which might translate very well when used as a screen print.  (Most of my still life drawings were naff).  I think for my homework I might use the line exercise as a basis for some negative space drawing, using the leaves I've been looking at in my own practice.  I might also do some work with ink and bleach. 

Roll on next class!

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