I spent a great weekend at a workshop led by Bonnie Baker friend, and talented artist. I find that no matter how experienced I am, going to a workshop is a great way to shift perspective and get out of a rut. We enjoyed a warm-up gestural mark-making session to various music tracks - which was lots of fun! Classic exercises using an object from home (I brought a quartz cluster); observing line, tone, form - then using our non-dominant hand to do the same. drawing the object from memory, again in line, tone; drawing while only looking at the object and not the paper.
It is always good practice to practice! I can draw, but I get rusty. Bonnie and I also talked about creating visual vocabulary, the act of drawing regularly to bank our marks and gestures - to keep connected with representation in order to speak in the language of abstraction and non-representational art. I am a believer that drawing is a fundamental skill to have in order to be a practicing artist - in whatever medium you choose.
The final morning and early afternoon, we were tasked with a large piece of blank paper, 60" x 36" and a hand mirror. We had to look at our selves through the mirror and draw what we saw - however we saw it; and fill the space. Using a number of gestural marks, pastels, charcoal and both kneadable (soft) and hard eraser... this is what I came up with. Who knows why I have two (very stylised/Metropolis) heads and an arm-leg... to see more from the workshop go HERE
24" x 60" is a challenging space to work within. After painting layers, removing paint and picking up lines with pencil, the first image to the left is where I found myself. After spending some time looking and getting feedback from friend, Wayne Boucher, during a studio visit, I decided that the overall surface was too busy, too broken. I removed some of the more jarring elements to try and bring some harmony to the painting. the second image, from the studio easel, shows this. I used a standard solid eraser to "draw" in to the paint and remove, as well as mineral spirits. Much of the original pencil has gone, just a few marks remain. The painting is now rotated 180 degrees, as I felt that the light and "weight" were more suited to this orientation. Despite some connection with colour and movement and softness, I know it is not finished yet - it needs something more - or less... The lighting in the studio photo isn't great, but you can see that some of the more defined shapes have been removed, much of the purple has been toned down.