Recently I have decided to make a conscious effort to move outside my comfort zone. I have been attending figure drawing sessions for the last few months @ the Studio School in Savannah. No instructor, but just the model and nice people, all with skills.
The immediate notion was to tune up my drawing sensibilities, but other unintended consequences have taken place. I have found my eyesight is not what it once was and glasses don’t help. Secondly my hand “quivers” and does not respond as it used to with coordinated signals from the brain. My so-called “Zen” in drawing has disappeared. At first this really bothered me, but now I have accepted it. The drawings are cruder and with more straight lines. Much more masculine and a little more childlike. Kinda weird, but I can work with that. Oh, and charcoal seems better than graphite. My hand seems to like the sensitivity of charcoal.
I have this notion of trying to incorporate the figure into my abstracted “landscapes”. Not quite sure how that can happen yet, but I like the idea of some kind of response to the landscape and a simple human narrative while still keeping a conscious appreciation of the physicality of the paint. I have amassed quite a stack of drawings so far on different grades of paper. Everything from cheap newsprint to expensive Arches watercolor paper. I have discovered that when there is a long pose I have a propensity (as most people in the room do) to measure and draw the figure in a very representational way. Ugh! The drawings I consistently like the best are the fast ones that are gestural and fast. No surprise, they coincide with my viewpoints of landscape.
Now comes the issue at hand. So far I have used the drawings as reference for the paintings. The painting lacks the same spontaneity and “joy” that the original drawings have. Damn! So a couple weeks ago I started painting over the drawings. The painting totally takes over and I then lose the immediacy and original intention of the drawings. Have I said that I trust my drawings? This is a big deal. Even when I make tiny thumbnails in a sketch book, I can count on the intuitive marks that make up the composition. Not so with the paintings. They are always a consistent struggle. At the moment there is a conflict back and forth between the drawings and the paint. It is a problem to solve and still very much out of my comfort zone.

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