It looks just like a photograph!
After a period, say four weeks, drawing every day for a morning session of 3hours, you might expect verisimilitude. Thats 15hours per week. When someone claims “it took a month” they mean 60 hours at an easle. At Salisbury we have the model pose for 5 hours for 5 weeks. A maximum of 25 hours. Is it enough?
Doing what.? And i have a serious case of the”why bother”s
There is no doubt that i have not pushed my drawing far enough. I have stopped before the hand had veins and dirty fingernails. Or.. Before the light on her foot was knocked back a quarter tone so the ” cone of light” had the correct drop off from head to foot. Its not always more detail. It is often about relative balance and relationships. Its about fine distinctions between form shadow and cast shadow in the folds of his belly. About planar structure and the consistent angle of incidence of the light, then the “lifting out” of the most subtle bounced light in the deepest shadow.
I simply did not know enough. Or didnt apply what i did know. And time really is of the essence. Because the knowledge ,attitude and skills you bring to a 60 second sketch are not the same that informs a 5 minute sketch. Or a 15 minute or an hour drawing. And when does a sketch become a drawing? The fact is, these are all different events. And, like an athlete, we need to prepare and practice for each event in which we hope to succed.
Few are marathon runners. Yet anyone can go the distance. I have seen many spend days scratching at the same drawing to no effect. Other than perseverance no other virtue was displayed beyond a rudimentary exactitude of tone, concieved and executed as a Photoshop jigsaw puzzle.
The true marathon drawing exhibits knowledge,skills and attitude of an extraordinary degree. And it is all executed to plan. After a while, the graphite begins to feel different. Then you realise the drawing is in layers, and where the poor draughtsman obscures them, the good leaves them still operating in a surface that has depths mimicing human skin. Then you realise that from the first mark ,the final result is in mind. Each layer of drawing doesnt simply restate, but deals with another issue. This is why Vavagiakis draws “in a circle” around his drawing never staying in one place, its still developing, how dark should it be?” I dont know yet”
Gadually the drawing emerges from the successive layers of knowledge. Vavagiakis likens the use of graphite and conte to glazing and scumbling.
Truth is, I had become adept at the 5 minute sketch. No mean feat ,and every reason to be proud of them. But i simply did not know enough to do a competent 4 hour drawing, never mind a 20 hour one. And this leaves aside the issue of taking an hour to do a 5 minute sketch!
So I return, not triumphant, but stimulated. It might be the coffee. But i do want to pusue the long drawing. Now i know what to put in one
Brian Deagon 21/02/2014