Back to life drawing studio yesterday. I hadn’t picked up a pencil all week and now I’m starting to miss it. Who knew?!
I’ve been noticing a confluence of themes. At the Diebenkorn exhibit, the big picture for me was seeing his process. My Quilt Mom Gerrie and I have been having a bit of an email conversation about what it is about the artwork that she likes so much, since I was kinda lukewarm about it. She said,
I love his use of line and the details that are hiding under a layer of paint and you only see on close examination. I think it is how they [abstract expressionists] uncomplicate a theme or a scene in a painting and yet on close examination, you see much more. There is nothing precious about their work – not sure if that is the word I mean.
Ah, there it is, the visible process. I had a similar conversation with my dad too — seeing the decisions the artist was making and how one decision affects the next (not being afraid to change things even if you’ve already committed to a big expanse of paint or a particular color) is far more interesting than an entire story read in one take.
What does that have to do with my figure drawings? Yesterday I had a great discussion with Jean, who organizes the sessions. She said that she doesn’t come to the life drawing studio to make Art, she comes to explore. I love that. She put into words my motivation too. Each pose provides something interesting and intriguing to discover. Sometimes it’s the hands, or maybe the way fabric drapes, a gesture, the negative space between body parts, or the musculature in an arm and shoulder. I’ve come to realize that I focus on different things depending on which model we have, and with each pose I find one thing to focus on and then build from there.
My process with art quilting is similar too. I start with an idea, but explore and change as I go. I never quite know what the finished piece will look like until I’m there. It’s a wonderful journey.