Falling In and Out of Love

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For the last 15 years I have spent most Friday mornings life drawing. It has always been a discipline and exercise I love. But I’m not really getting anywhere with it, I’m not concentrating hard enough on it to make a difference. So I think I have fallen out of love with it a bit. This shows. My last year’s drawings have been on scrappy paper with scrappy materials that I grab on the way out of the door, or those that happen to be in the boot of the car and never see the light of day between Fridays. The drawings are a bit shit.

I think, moving into a studio with Sarah Goudie has had an effect on how I look at my drawing – as it bloody well should!

So over the last couple of weeks I have spent a bit of time choosing and buying new materials, and have started drawing other things in the studio, and at home. Drawing from observation still, but just other stuff… fabric and clothes mostly, projects I am working on. This feels more relevant to my practice than the life drawing at the moment. And I am finding that I worry less about what it looks like. When an arm is in the wrong place, that is all I see when I look at the drawing of a human figure. When a sleeve is in the wrong place, I shrug it off, and think about the drawing as the thing that matters, rather than the accuracy of the figure. This I feel is a step forward, not back. I know that when I concentrate properly, I can draw a figure well… I’ve even sold a few in my time!

But it is a thing that needs love in it.

But when I just draw “stuff”, I do observe, but it flows better, I feel I am involved with the materials rather than the subject. Because of this, it becomes a much more immersive, internal process, and I’m loving it.

And because I’m loving it, the drawings are better, and I’m looking at them, rather than immediately discarding them, or shoving them in a bag. The new drawings are informing my practice, and my thought processes. At the moment, the life drawing isn’t hitting the spot.

4 thoughts on “Falling In and Out of Love

  1. soniaboue says:

    The subject makes all the difference to me. Drawing is very difficult when you lose binocular focus every time there is movement (movement of head or eyes) so it’s something I have to really want to do. I need to love the object in front of me and find it fascinating, or else really need to articulate what it is I have to say through the drawing. That gets me through the extra load drawing exerts.

    I also do a lot of my drawing by feels rather than looks, which may link to your sense of feeling it or not? Or could be it has nothing to do with it?!

    Even if you find drawing easier than this and are well practised I suppose you have to feel it?

    Really interesting post – it will be fascinating to see what happens with your drawing next!


    1. Elena Thomas says:

      yes… what I find is, although I am still observing, there comes a point at which the actual drawing is the thing, rather than the subject, which I can never seem to achieve with life drawing. These recent drawings seem more immersive to me, more natural, less strained… and the process is relaxed and ultimately more fulfilling in terms of the process and the product.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. soniaboue says:

        I have never understood the fascination with life drawing – I could never make an emotional connection – the whole point of it is an academic/analytical process isn’t it? Or am I wrong there?


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