Friday, October 4, 2013

Drawing the Space with Andrew Vass







It has been a long time since I have taken a drawing class.  As I clicked the submit button to register and pay for Andrew Vass' class at Firstsite I was hoping that I would come away from the class with some new ideas, having tried approaches that I didn't know or had not used in a while. I was looking to be shaken up.  Apparently Andrew stopped in a layby and collected the agricultural material he had us draw from in the first session. I liked the chaos and having to make order of objects that didn't make sense.  We had short drawing sessions of 15 minutes or so, materials weren't brilliant, but those obstacles interfere with 'knowing' and I like that feeling of being overwhelmed.
Andrew mentioned that he thought we should be applying some of what we did in the sessions during the week.  I spent about 15 mins working big, A2, with ink in a chaotic part of the studio, no mixing tray, a bucket of water and jar of poor quality ink, from The Works.

This week we were asked to bring in two objects. One was to be something important to us and personal, the other something random, perhaps to juxtapose.  As I had been working on unfurling, I brought along my African matchbox book and the 'foil' object was in fact a rice packet - foil/plastic.
Andrew had us photocopy these in a variety of ways, but the copier made things quite black so we abandoned that. Instead we drew our 'special' object from memory.  Urgh. I guess I need to be told to look intently.  My drawing was really quite non-specific, but the process was interesting and revealing. 

We were asked to scale up our objects on to really big paper (A1).  I had brought some pastels but only used the ones in my charcoal tin, a very limited palette, so tried to get the feel of colour as well as a range of tones.  Before beginning I knew I could never finish in 15 mins, so I just tried to follow the rules, 'work from the inside out'.

Our next task was to again work from the inside out, Andrew came around and poured ink on our paper and we were asked to use the blob and a medium sized brush to draw our second object - the foil packet. My paper was on vertical drawing board so the ink ran down and pooled in the lip.
A2
Like the week before, there was some resistence to Andrew's process driven session.  Most of the people in the class want to emerge better artists. One woman was quite stressed that the ink wasn't working for her. My advice was to banish the idea that she would produce a masterpiece and just have fun with the challenge. What does a 'better artist' look like?

Finally we were given the task of drawing one or more objects using ink again but we could apply it ourselves!  Andrew suggested I use two blobs of two colours and to work outwards.  I placed the photocopies under my objects.


A2

A2
Today I took the black and white ink drawing and added other ink and gouache to it. I decided to use the rice packet, my iron and a piece of fused plastic as motifs. I had never worked pastel over ink, and liked the energy the ink had, so used it as an undercoat. I loved the happy accident of some orange under the blue and kept thinking Whistler as I chose bits of the background to draw out.

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