3 day course with Emily Ball focused on experimental figure work (21-23/9/22). Lots learned, and doors opened – felt like a freeing-up after a lot of tighter, preplanned painting and fiddly animation work. Learning to trust that something will come out of a life – on-the-fly way of working was perhaps the strongest sense of development that came out – although I do fear that I will try to repeat and follow the patterns set by the work that was done.
Many exercises worked to give a sense of generation. From working on small acetates the size of an old photographic slide to working on an 8ft expanse of paper-covered wall. There was a model the entire time, but she was mostly moving with only longer poses of max 10 mins at the start of the session and never sitting or lying.
The studio setup was interesting – working on the wall, but also the central space had strings that crossed the space, hung with videotape and net curtains – changed periodically and through which the model walk/posed. This cut into, flickering and distorting the form, creating immediate interest and acting as an interesting foil to the usual life room treatment of the body as a ‘one thing’. Materials were plentiful – allowing for innovation and creativity. Working in layers, rubbing back, carving out, cutting and tearing. A more palpable sense of physical engagement with the process that is rarely found in the traditional life room. This was a great way of working – I felt energised and excited, going with the chance affordances, the flux and relying on intuition. The key message of the course keyed into something deep with me, that felt like a paradigm shift. To sum up – combining observation with sensation – not copying but finding a space between observation and imagination. Mapping animation (animism) into the drawing process was also grist to my mill – no fixed viewpoint, using double lines, getting the thing to demonstrate movement in 2D form; not seeing the body as still life but moving, living and breathing.
Artists mentioned as referents were: Cy Twombly (amorphous into and out of form), Rose Wylie, Roy Oxlade, William Scott, Jennifer parker, Jenny Saville, Marlene Dumas, de Kooning, Avis Newman (no fixed viewpoint), Devilin O’Shea, Amy Silman, Cicely Brown (dissolving representation), Rebecca Horn (embodied drawings).
Mediums that I enjoyed working with include, charcoal dust with coloured chalk dust; felt tip pens, poscas on acetate. Marking making never felt so relevant to me before – scribble (tight/knotted), repeated strokes, close and open forms, fine and fat, pencils, opaque and translucent, cross-hatching, dots, staccato marks, different scales and different forms of touch, power of tiny mark – placement key, not relying on edge lines around the body, connecting disparate marks, tearing and cutting. Mats: drawing ink, charcoal dust, rags, b/w paint, Supports Fabriano rolls, acetate rolls. Jersey tube for the model to pose in and other binding cloths.
Here’s a record of the work produced (there was a LOT) Main large pieces first.
small gallery of this work in progress
Below is work that led to the images above – some cut up to make elements of the collage others just referred to – all various sizes:
2/10/22 So where to take this into painting? With the Druids/wickerman paintings completed, and a just a few sheds on the go. Where to now? That’s the start of the S3 blog.