When drawing the figure it can be a daunting experience! We all know our bodies, or at least we know what looks right and what doesn't quite work with regards to anatomy. The trouble is, we take our experience of our anatomy and lock it in our mind’s eye so when we look at a life drawing model our brain assumes it knows best….we make assumptions about how the position of an arm or leg should be interpreted on the page because we think we know what should and shouldn’t be possible…
BUT, the human body is extraordinary in it’s ability to trick our mind…it can make the most beautiful yet unbelievable shapes and positions. Arms and legs can make the most unusual shapes when being foreshortened by perspective. As an artist we have to train our brain to see for the first time when drawing the figure. We have to forget what our mind has previously seen or experienced and really look at what is in front of us with clear sight. It takes courage to trust what your eyes actually see!
In my recent drawing class I was encouraged to remember how drawing with tone instead of line can assist in this process. We all think of drawing a line to suggest the curve of a body but actually, if you just look at how the light plays on a form and use shadow and light to distinguish a shape instead, then this can help you to forget what your mind is saying and taunting!
Focusing on negative shapes that surround the figure can also act as a healthy distraction from our ‘knowing brain’. For instance, an arm resting on the model’s lap my make a small triangle shape against the background behind, and by interpreting that shape accurately you will as a consequence draw the correct lines for the inside of the forearms! Because your brain is focusing on ‘a shape’ for that moment and not thinking about the fact that it is part of an arm - you are able to describe it with the pencil with increased sensitivity and accuracy.
Learning to really ‘see’ seems an easy thing to say, but it is a skill. It can be honed with time and practise - it is such a wonderful thing to be able to do as having the skill to REALLY see what is in front of you can enrich your life beyond belief! Think about all the things you miss around you every day because you don’t really see them as they really are?!
During the class we all took refuge in the knowledge that Rodin, even with his skill and expertise, made mistakes too! In his sensitive and honest drawings you can see how he often made marks and then re-adjusted, leaving faint remnants of this ‘mistakes’ behind. He teaches us how making mistakes and adjusting to the human form as you draw is part of the process. Without these marks the drawing would lose it’s honesty and fragility. Click on the link below to see an example.
So from this we can learn to embrace our mistakes, use pencil on paper to explore the possibilities set out in front of our eyes and enjoy the process of evolution on the page…to draw with pure honesty and capture truth…
My working ethos is 'Play & Revelation' where I continually explore new ways of working, sometimes even destroying works to transform into new!
From February 2019 Sonya will be selling her collections at 'Leaf Creative' in Huntley, owned by Peter Dowle. This beautiful garden centre specialises in unusual shrubs, acer trees and hand selected plants. The perfect place to showcase her leaf inspired ceramics!
Sonya is pleased to announce that having been a provisional member with the Cotswold Craftsmen during 2018, she has now been accepted as a permanent member and invited to be publicity officer on the committee. Sonya will be exhibiting her work at a number of County Shows in 2019 - watch her events page for more upcoming details.
Sonya is now offering 1 day 'Pottery Workshops' with a national craft course provider. Start 2019 learning something new! In 1 day attentive tuition with Sonya you will learn throwing, coiling and hand-building techniques.
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