Monday, October 8, 2018

Outcomes from Charles Williams' Workshop

The Human Stain I

Charles Williams' class was about drawing and thinking about drawing.  Why have people made the art they have and what role does drawing play in the paintings they make?  As you will recall, this is my biggest question! 

Charles went at the issue by showing us slides of artists who have different sets of values when they make their art. Charles described his own training and compared that with other artists and how that context can be a lens through which to look at their work.  

At the Royal Academy, Charles was taught to draw tonally. Our first exercise was to use only tone (no lines at all) to hone our perception of two or three ping pong balls on a surface.  My surface was a folded paper box on top of a stand. We had quite a long time, about 45 minutes, for this. I was working in an A4 sketchbook. I masked the edges and worked right up to them.  Although I was told not to focus on the composition I just couldn't help myself! This was not meant to be expressive.  It was meant to be objective.  Of course I was most interested in the expressive moments but I worked to refine and reassess the shapes. I love working tonally.  I find it almost therapeutic.
tonal drawing - no line

Next we made quick drawings responding to words.  This was not meant to be an illustration of the words but something else.  I found there was a lot of talking going on in my head as I worked on this.  Although it was intuitive I was curious how you make something feel riotous, or hidden without a gimmick. I was exploring ways of making marks to say something without reproducing an image... We could use any material and I introduced colour with the word 'lover'. 



The next reductive task was to use only dots to respond to the subsequent set of words. Drawing is always thoughtful but I found these exercises even more so. I don't like rules and I kept thinking that using recognisable forms might enhance the work because in using one strategy I felt as if one hand was tied behind my back, but I followed Charles' rules


The Human Stain II - A1

'The Human Stain' was the final exercise and I made two drawings in the 45 minutes.  The first was small and in my book (at top).  Charles wanted me to make something bigger next. I interpreted this task as a working and re-working that left a trace of my journey, across the paper and through the day. I was thinking more about the vocabulary of mark making and how to exploit it to create interest.  I kept turning the paper around and I'm not sure which way it goes, probably in the bin.

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