Monthly Archives: January 2020

The Lie

I feel the faint press of a lie, but I don’t know which truth it can be found hiding in.

My feelings move under the surface of my thoughts, leaving ripples and eddies. I’m not always able to identify what’s disturbing and moving the surface. Sometimes it’s arousal, unacknowledged ambition, an impatience, hidden shame, a quiet longing, or a biting envy… other times, it’s just something darkly ominous, unseen, and unknowable.

While moving through drawing excersizes this past year, there’s been a fairly consistent assertion that’s underpinned my use of color, one that states color is capable of making a bad drawing palatable. That the short comings of proportion, tonal massing, and detail can be (awkwardly) waved off with the application of color. The more hapdash, the better.

… but there’s a very good chance that, while this is true… it still can still also be a lie as well. 

Can a lie be subjective?

Shadow Play

Trying something different to see how it creates change by bringing in an old brush and liquid charcoal (a mix spirit alcohol and powdered charcoal) to the drawings. Right away, it has added a dynamic element to working through an image. The black brushstrokes, washes, and the use of loose lines allows for an ability to boldly assert a form.

What’s being found as delightful is the aspect of how both the strokes and the lines read in their physicality. They both show their making. The pressure of the brush, the sweep of the arm and wrist, the play of a loaded brush or the blunting of a charcoal pencil.

I enjoy how vibrant movement gives animation to a form being imagined. I enjoy the effect of swinging between the massing of the high contrast of values and the use of the occulting of vague detail. I enjoy how a feeling of a “moody noir eroticism” arises out of the play of line, value, and figure. Whether or not the work has achieved anything meaningful is inconsequential. What it has achieved is the opening  up possibly and direction in what can now be done.

Last Page

Here it is, the last page. It took 3 weeks, from start to finish, to fill the tiny sketchbook that my daughter Nico made for me over her seasonal break. 48 pages of exploratory black and white figurative studies. A small series of drawings that have more or less accomplished what I hoped to accomplish, an exercise to help a developing sense of confidence in working values into a blocked in composition, while still learning the fundamentals of just how charcoal and graphite might be imagined to work.

There’s a frustration of wanting to be taught, but knowing that I’m generally an awful student, that creeps in at times, but after flipping through the finished pages of drawings, I’m rather happy with being responsible for my own challenges, it’s a welcome alternative to being a hopeful study of an uninterested teacher.

Ahhhhh the joy of trial and error.

Autotelic vs Exotelic

Lauren session #38


Autotelic is something that is an end to itself, an activity done for the enjoyment itself.
Exotelic is something that is done to receive an external reward.

Many things can honestly be both. In making beautiful things, we are allowed to use the wisdom of our experience, decision making, vision, and aesthetics to create something that didn’t exist before. We can also choose to share what we make in hope of finding acceptance, validation, profit, or applause… or we can choose to share what we make just for the simple joy of sharing.

Unposted Note

(unposted note)

Looking at the drawings that were done today, don’t know how to set these in place with what I expected to see. Frankly, I’ve been walking into session without any game plan, something which, up to this point, I’ve place a measure of value on being open to happenstance, being open to what develops without a plan. 

I think it’s a pattern that’s beginning to become habit, a lazy habit at that. There’s been lots of good leads that’s come out of sessions and a few of those, at least for the sake of practice and assignment, need to be recognized, deconstructed, and developed.

There’s no persuasive argument for remaining continually unmoored in collaboration with my models, rather, it’s an assertion of vision that’s being requested, and it’s that request that needs to be acted on.

Day 22

Day 22. Sliding this one in under the wire before heading off to bed. It’s essentially a cheat because there’s no hands, feet, or face, but it was nice to relax and just enjoy the challenge that was there. The noodlie line work is supposed to be a shadow of a railing falling across her form… It didn’t carry well.

Session #37 Miss Brie

Sitting down in front of a Brie is a completely different experience in comparison to sitting down on the couch with a photo or even another model.

Miss Brie session #37

This has become a challenge that Increasingly tests memory as a new level of detail becomes a priority. As sessions pass, priorities are shifting. With Brie, the effort is picturing what was there and balance that memory against a current moment.

It’s especially difficult if what’s being aimed for is a mememic representation (representational realism) of distinguishing features.

… but there’s also an affect that a difference of materials brings to bear. Keeping sessions as simple as possible has influenced the materials being played with. This limited pallet, along with the variable nature of the model, both shape how I work, how I explore, and the results that come out of the sessions.

There’s a fairly equal measure of frustration and satisfaction. Frustration with the drawings not conforming to expectations of what a drawing “should” look like, and satisfaction with the what actually happens during the experience and a sense of satisfaction with the end results

Session #38

Lauren session#38

Subversion of the Influence

The model is used as an influence. The form, the shadows, the proportions are kept, the details are cherry picked. Everything is being subverted to the flow of the experience.

Session #38

Lauren session #38

Law of the minimum: Growth is limited by that which is present in the least amount.

A person could have an abundance of time, talent, opportunity, materials, good judgment, whatever…. but if any one of those are in short supply, growth is going tobe choked off.

Looking at what I’m short on and the list has enough boxes filled in that I should be grateful to be making any headway at all. I would appreciate more time, but I wouldn’t rub a lamp to ask for it, much to afraid how the genie would actually make that one happen. What I could really use is a mentor and some peers, more like minded people that are ambitious for challenge and growth. People to develop with. The life drawing session that Jess and I are running just isn’t that. It’s an opportunity that attracts a few people. It’s not a functional peer group yet. I believe it might be that no one is holding anyone accountable for their own growth yet. Maybe it’s time to ask each other to do just that. 

Do you want to grow?… and what might that growth look like?