Friday, December 2, 2011

Nov. 2011 Jess


  1. Tell me about the top drawing. Do you remember what you were thinking as you moved through the drawing?
    The more I draw and the more i respond to other artist's drawings the more I realize how important it is to me to make sense of the feet and the role they play in the pose.

    I like this drawing of Jess. It moves through space in in a very convincing manner and retains a kind of softness that I regularly lose in my drawings. I see her left foot as closer to me than her right so, she moves away from me -through the hips into the collision at the bottom of her rib cage. Is that correct? I love the turn of her head.

    The direction and position of her left foot and how it sets up the upward movement through her hip, and the relationship of her right foot to her face would have been very important for me.

    But, I would probably have wound up with a drawing of legs and her face and would never have maintained the delicacy of the pose as you have here.

  2. "I'm not here to teach you how to be an artist! I'm here to teach you how to draw!" Said Jim McMullan to me in 1997.

  3. That sounds like something Jim would say. So, what are your thoughts? Good or bad experience for you?

    I had been to other drawing classes before taking Jim's class and never learned a thing. I always believed I had some skill but, I could not quickly progress beyond what I already knew. I was tired of struggling with what was ultimately revealed to me to be the difference between drawing and aesthetics.

    Jim's approach to drawing and teaching drawing had an enormously positive impact on me. But, i do remember how driven and uncompromising he was and he didn't waste too much time debating with students over disagreements.

  4. In McMullan’s class I remember him saying something like, “Think of the pose as telling a kind of story - imagine you’re watching a play on a stage”. I think of this a lot when I draw and with a model like Jess, who happens to be an actor as well, this way of approaching a drawing seems all the more important to me.

    In the top drawing from this series I was really struck by the way she was looking back over her shoulder. The way her eyes looked across the room and the expression on her face was so specific and intentional that I felt a kind of responsibility to try to explain that in the drawing. Also, the way she turned her right arm and hand, facing her right palm to the back seemed, to me, like a continuation of the turn of her head. I suddenly had a lot of aspects to the pose that I wanted to enjoy, and like all of my drawings I always seem to have to give something up in order to make the most out of the things I want. As far as not dealing with the feet in a more concrete way, well, I just waited too long to get to them and when I did, I had trouble drawing her right foot and lower leg. If you look closely you can see I’ve erased a very unintelligible foot and just ran out of time before I could make sense of it. I don’t think I cared that much about the feet in this one. I felt if I could suggest where her feet were by drawing far enough down the legs, then that would be good enough, (and yes, you’re right John, her left foot moves closer to us than her right).

    Sometimes I think I should pay more attention in my drawings to the mechanics of how the body works, (I would probably make fewer crappy drawings if I did). But most of the time I’m willing to live with a little ambiguity here and there if I feel like I can express something authentic about the “story” on stage.

  5. This is terrific! Thanks Rob.

    Your pursuit of the "character" of the pose comes through very clearly and is absolutely what struck me when I first saw the drawing.

    I am too often guilty of chasing almost exclusively after the mechanics of the pose so, I appreciate your taking the time to write out your thoughts and motivations.