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…
So, do you think a painting should be powerful enough to affect the space it occupies? My immediate reaction is Yes! Of Course!! This should be a prerequisite to art work!
I like to think of this in people terms - when a person enters a room their energy or ‘aura’ occupies a larger space than the outline of their physical body and whether you agree with the holistic terms or not, everyone can admit some individuals have charisma and ‘light up a room when they enter it’. I think paintings should have much the same effect. When you walk in a room and observe a painting on the wall it should immediately project a feeling, vibe, or emotion. So it literally changes the atmosphere of the room, and even the mood of the person observing it.
In the same way a person’s aura projects the essence of who they are and what they are like as a person, a painting projects it’s personality also - through line, tone, colour and form. This acts as a powerful conduit to speak to the observer and transmit the essence of the painting energetically. We can all identify with a time when a friend who is effervescent with charisma has lifted our own mood; well a painting should be able to transform our mood too. Of course this can bring us up or down depending on the subject matter just like some people can have a draining effect on our own mood. So isn’t it interesting how paintings can literally affect the space they occupy just the same way people can!
With my Exhibition only 4 weeks away I have been thinking about this very subject a great deal recently. I have been planning where my paintings will hang and how they will work together in unison, creating a story and also how their dynamic impact will affect the gallery space. Like a group of people in a room, they interact with each other and have an effect on each other. If the wrong painting is placed next to another it can be a disaster! Paintings like people can clash, and others can literally bring out the best in each other! So it is a real balancing act, and something that takes time and contemplation.
Recently I held a planning meeting with my Ambassadors and I shared the complete set of work for the Exhibition with them. I set two rooms up because I literally couldn’t fit all 17 paintings in one room alone. This had an interesting effect. Both rooms took on completely different personalities. The first room had more traditional paintings in it, and felt much calmer, almost as though the paintings were having their own intimate moments independently, but were happy to co-exist because they were individually so content playing out their scenes. The second room however was much more dynamic. There were larger pieces, vying for attention, and it almost felt quite overwhelming entering the room as an onlooker. The exercise demonstrated how a painting should indeed be powerful enough to affect the space it occupies, and I hope that my paintings will evoke a reaction in both their surroundings and people observing them on the 8th November! Welcome to Emotive Art…
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.
website by Viper Marketing : (c) Sonya 2016