Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Series

I'm excited about a new series I've started.  I've been working on these for the last few weeks, and now they are starting to come together…  It was inspired in part by re-reading one of my art books: Drawing Projects - an exploration of the language of drawing by Mick Maslen and Jack Southern, and by my participation in a workshop last year with Kate Worm.  Its an old trick from art school to do "blind contour" drawings - where you concentrate on the model (or other subject) and place your charcoal on the paper and draw without looking at the paper.  You imagine drawing along the contours of the subject, feeling what the drawing instrument would do…

In the Drawing Projects book they suggest making a tactile self portrait, by closing your eyes and feeling your face and drawing what you feel.  The book includes an interview between one of the authors and Nancy Trotter.  She says:  "I was just thinking about the sensation of drawing with my eyes closed as being similar to listening to a song on a walkman, while singing along.  Sometimes you feel you are singing in tune, but you are not sure.  While drawing from touch, I feel like I am making coherent marks in relation to what I am feeling, but I'm not sure. Until I open my eyes."

I played around with the project, and then decided to try drawing on a big (36" x 48") canvas.  I closed my eyes and overlapped several contour drawings.  Michael took a photo of my starting one of them:

Its great fun because when you open your eyes you have something quite different from what you imagined, but it almost always has something interesting going on.  Its quite liberating!

After I got all of the overlapping contours on the canvas it created an interesting abstract composition.

Then I started going back in (with my eyes open now) and painting within each area enclosed by the contour lines to come up with an abstract version of the faces…
 After many days and lots of thick paint and correcting the colors and glazing, here's one that is almost complete.  How many faces do you see in it?

Picasso said:     "To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

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