This blog...

...was initially for pieces done on a computer, but has since become a free-for-all. Here you'll find process work (digital and otherwise), sketch pages and studies, sometimes with commentary.

You can see the rest of my work here.

Remember kids : if you can't make pretty designs, at least make pretty lines!

-Paul

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Peter Clarke notes pt. 1

The last workshop I attended was instructed by Karl Gnass, on the subject of two-figure composition.

Tonight, because I'd like to think I choose good teachers, I attended the first in a series of advanced lifedrawing classes by Seattle's own Peter Clarke.  I barely had a moment to draw between scratching down all the pearls he was dropping.

"Speed isn't everything."  / "The more you have up here [in reference to what you observe with your eyes] the freer you are there [on the page]." / "Commit to the lines you're making.  Believe in them from the start."

"[Construction] is a crutch.  A ramping up.  You shouldn't need that."

"Take a chance; it's just one drawing."

[in reference to going over a previously established area of the drawing] "Are you retreading or retreating?"

"Draw somewhere you don't normally draw.  Put a mark there!" / "Find new places to draw." / "Let go of patterns." / "Don't hang in any one place too long."

"You have to get out of your own way."

"That was enough time." [to capture the pose]

"You're always searching.  The drawing is really never done."

[before you draw] "Take a good look at him."

"Try to draw the whole guy."

"Every line you make is a thought or a feeling.  Draw with empathy; it'll matter more."

"The art will come out of the observation and the honesty."

"Make definite choices."

"Find the information."

"[As soon as] you see something definite, get it.  Then you won't have to go back to it." / "What's most important?  Go for that right away; don't build up to it." / "That observation wins.  Give into it."

"How else are you going to add onto what you know until you experience what you don't?"

"You are awake."

"You are pulling out and pushing away." / "You're moving forward and backward in space." / [quoting Rodin] "My only obligation is to draw the space." / "Be sensitive to the space." / "Create movement." / "Make change." / "Draw the difference."

[in reference to Gustav Klimt] "He showed sensitivity to the organic nature of the figure."

[in reference to studying others' language / mark making] "Use these guys!  Come up with your own version of that!" / "Books are important."

"If it's not exciting, and you don't like it, don't do it."  / "Get involved with it emotionally." / "Have an experience."

[in reference to the model's "Clark Kent" hair curl] "It's important to him.  It's important to his character."

[of gravity] "Think of the weight.  He's melting."

"Favor that shoulder." / "Pick on that shoulder blade."

"Just try to go there."

"Make a picture."

---

Medicine.

At one point, Peter handed me a chopstick with a piece of charcoal rubber-banded to the tip, and had me grip the opposite end, just to feel a different tool.  "Don't try to use it like the [China] marker."  With my hand out and away from the drawing, I was able to skip around much more freely.

But my biggest "take" from the evening was that [to quote The Dude from 'The Big Lebowski'] "My thinking about this case has become very uptight!"  I have been *willfully* depriving myself of enjoying the ride...of the experience of drawing another human, all of whom are different.  In my search for simplicity and efficiency, I've been cutting off pathways to deeper understanding.  Throttling my own growth.  My "mature" prioritization of "Oh, I'll save that bit for later." negligently skirts the importance of that which *initially* drew my eye.  Trusting that eye -- slowing down to pay attention to where it leads -- will bring me into uncharted territories where more enjoyment may be derived.  I will give myself permission to do this.

Another memorable quote from the evening [in reference to not delaying one's artistic gratification] :

"Eat nothing but dessert."
-Matt Barrett

6 comments:

Peter Boehme said...

Brilliant remarks. Thanks for the write-up!

Sirscribblesalot said...

Thanks for Sharing Mr. Richards,very insightful.

zoe said...

Construction: a crutch?! That's really giving me pause. Although it does make me reflect on how stiff and uninteresting my constructed figures tend to be compared to more gesturally-created ones...

Paul Richards said...

My motto used to be "If you can't construct, you're fucked." But man, I dunno...gonna have to do some more drawing to see who's right.

Kurt Aspland said...

I too thought construction was such a corner stone, at least have it back in your mind. (Who am I to say such a thing) On a side note... Karl Gnass is the bomb! I owe everything to him for opening my eyes and pointing me in the right direction. Then there is you, Paul, you have picked up where Karl left off and have inspired me to greater heights! If you are ever in Philly or Baltimore give me an email! Keep up with all of the postings!!!!

Adam Street said...

Wow, this is some deep stuff. You gotta love great teachers and how they impact us.