Life drawing sessions are more and more often ending with a pile of work next to my chair that, while I’m enjoying the drawings coming off the board, I question whether I really should be showing the results rest of the room. (Yeah, I know… Why the fuck not?) I need the feedback, but what I’m getting instead are mostly silent smiles that slide away uncomfortably as people flip through the pile. No one is verbally pushing against the work. There’s a short list of possible disruptions, the shifting color pallet, compositional cropping in the drawings, vague adherence to details, wandering horizon lines… things I’m working towards rather than away from.
Granted, not everything is working. Out of a short stack of a drawings from a 3 hour session, usually it’s only 2 or three that hint towards a need to be pulled out and given more thought. Lately, a page or two more from each new session feel that they are worth another look. Maybe it’s the work simply getting more familiar… Maybe the drawings are getting better… and maybe it’s just wishful thinking. There’s no shortage of self-indulgent grandiosity in the arts and this could very likely be another example, but with that said, I enjoy what’s being made, and I’m glad when others choose to pick one of the drawings up off the pile and give it a look. It happens, and maybe the problem isn’t that no one is pushing back against the work, maybe the real problem is that I don’t take their smiles and occasional compliments as valid feedback without it being it accompanied with measure of criticism.