Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily Gestures and Really Looking

Last week I started the "Drawing Practice: Drawing Live Subjects in Public" class with Roz Stendahl.   Wow!  I urge everyone to consider taking this class when she offers it again in 2017.  The quality and quantity of Roz's instruction, both prepared and personalized, is astonishing.  Worth every penny already, and I'm only six days into the month-long class.

Our first days we filled with gesture drawings.  I've done these before, of course, and never really saw the advantage of them.  But boy, I get it now.

The goal is not pretty pictures.  The goal is to use your hand on paper to explore the volume of the subject.

This makes my brain hurt.  To explore 3D volume from eyes, to brain, down arm, into hand, through a pen, onto paper in 2D.

But then I stopped thinking about it and just looked and let my pen move.

As the days went on and I practiced, I got messier, more exploratory, and produced gestures which, for me, helped me learn the subjects.  Below are a few pages in the order I did them.  All of them feature my Dutch Shephers, Nik and Nora.

These first ones I did with a brush pen that I bought on a whim.  Didn't like it--it was very smeary.  I know all brush pens are not like this--I love my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, so soon I'll go back to that.

A sleeping dog felt like a safe start for practicing this new, exploratory technique.

You can see that in these first three I was still focusing largely on contours or outlines, which is what I've been practicing for the last two years!!  So this is a big shift for me.

Roz suggested to many of us that we really focus on shapes and volume, not outlines or edges.  And she charged me specifically to go out the next day and draw my dogs playing.

This freaked me out!

Only the second day of this class and I have to try to draw my dogs IN MOTION??  No way.

But I'm nothing if I am not an obedient and conscientious student, so I tried it.

Not pretty pages, right?  That's the goal, right?  Actually, I reminded myself, the goal is to explore the form--seeing to page.  And yes, these scribbles helped me start to "feel" the dogs.  You can see partials.  You can see postures.   You can also see the pen smearing.  

I switched to a dark colored pencil. Here I looked more at the internal forms and even though they were moving fast, I could catch them. 

Actually, I was quite surprised at my progress.  In two days!  I would never have attempted it if Roz hadn't pushed me.

So, after just a few days of drawing, I already feel newness opening up in me.

And I feel myself seeing new things, new aspects, of something I look at a LOT every single day:  my dogs.

Just because I am drawing them in a new way.

Okay, I knew this.  Beginner mind shows us new things all the time.

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