Sunday, 9 October 2011

Portrait pain!

Completed the first three weeks of Drawing the Head with James Lloyd at the Princes' Drawing School. I knew this was going to be challenging and was braced to have my technical skills cruelly exposed. I was on the other hand hoping for some guidance and even some real teaching. But, so far, that is not the way it is. For a start it is essentially a group of people all of whom seem to have had a lot of experience and seem to be regular attenders. There is a knowing air about the place, no room for my clumsy uncertainty. James is pleasant but he clearly takes a pride in not being an interventionist. He devotes much of his time to those who are clearly on top of the task: it is a discourse that both he and they sound comfortable with and feels a long way from where I am.
My first efforts were crude and lacking in any signs of control or interpretation. Just a desperate attempt to achieve approximate proportion and a strive for the endless number of nuances that make up a distinctive head.

It has to be said that one of the disadvantages of not being an old hand was that I got there too late to get a decent angle on the model. The harsh profile did not help me. But then the worst part was the crit at the end where we were asked to put up our drawings on the wall. I was pretty unhappy with my efforts by my own criteria, but the humiliation of having it sticking out like a septic thumb amongst a variety of delicate and stylish efforts was more than I could bear. Worst was watching James moving across the collection and doing a brief intake of breath followed by delicate shimmy to get past mine without comment!

The next week was not a lot better but at least I had a better angle to work with. What I also discovered was that doing one drawing for two hours was actually making things worse. Here is the study after just half an hour:
 The third week continued to be a battle. I was determined to loosen up, to use charcoal in a more expressive way and not get bogged down in details (mouths. . ugh!). The end result was, I think and hope better although it seems to me to lack character: too much close observation (not very accurate) and not enough interpretation.
A week off while I go to Bangkok. Then back to it in the hope that there will be a little more teaching on offer, but I suspect in the context of this group, I am beyond the easy discourse of the competent.

No comments:

Post a Comment