the start of a new adventure

last night i embarked on a new adventure.  i think ive been working towards this one for some time, even as far back as when i took a left, kicking and screaming towards computer studies at school instead of a right towards the art room…  im really happy that i am here now though, happy to have come to studying the diploma of visual arts at frankston chisholm with a much more mature head on my shoulders and with many more stories to tell through whatever ends up on the paper at the end of the course!  ive decided to document this journey here on my blog firstly cos i think by publicly documenting, it will make me more accountable and secondly because i think it will be a great way to keep track of what ive learnt along the way.  i also just simply love the idea of sharing each class with whoever is out there reading! im attending evening classes at this stage.  6pm – 10pm on monday and tuesday nights.  mondays are drawing and printmaking with john bennett previously of the university of ballarat and tuesdays are drawing and painting.  i havent met the teacher yet – stay tuned! last night we started with a 2 hour life drawing class.  drawing is what i consider to be my weakest link so i had built up a lot of nervous energy about the first class.  i knew in advance that we would be doing life drawing, i had many visions of being the only person in the room with nothing to show on her drawing board, or being the “stick figure” girl, or even worse, coming up with something that didnt even remotely resemble the model (let alone a human figure!)… there was also a very childish fear of getting an attack of the giggles – rest assured, my mature head was of great assistance and, if you’ve ever done a life drawing class, you’ll know that there is absolutely no time whatsoever to even think about anything that may start a giggling fit! PHEW! so onto some drawings… we started with 8, 1 minute poses.  rochelle held her pose for one minute then moved, eight times.  as you can imagine, that’s not a long time to draw a figure, so it becomes really apparent that you can draw anything…. body parts, rough outline sketches, face, foot, leg, bum…. whatever – i was addicted and “with wide grin” within minutes!  here are my first drawings….

the feedback i received from john was that i could try varying the pressure of the pencil on the lines. btw, each of the drawings were on a large sheet of cartridge paper and we used an hb, 3b and a 6b pencil – no editing allowed (no erasers!!!)

next we folded our paper in half lengthways.

on the first half we did a five minute pose,

followed by a “blind contour” drawing on the other half…

blind contour drawing – stand with the easel at right angles to the model, position yourself so that you are looking sideways at the model and at no time during the five minute pose should you look at the paper…. FIVE minutes!!!  this process allows for movement and intuition to take over! yep, lucky i went to kindergarten!  actually, in all honesty, the head and face is quite interesting (alien!) and reminds me of my cloth doll head before any of the final facial features were completed… look here – its quite interesting!

the next instruction was to take an hb in one hand and a softer (i used 3b) in the other…. draw for 5 minutes with both hands working on the same drawing simultaneously…. a very weird feeling but quite cool – no time to think about what was happening with either hand and somehow, both seemed to get into the groove and start working in combination with each other! we did this process twice…

(im pretty sure rochelle’s face looked nothing like ive drawn here!!!)

next drawing was really interesting.  john called it a cross contour drawing.  think a cross-sectional drawing of a mountain range – using the “lumps” to express the form of the body/mountain.  rochelle was lying down for this one and it took me most of the time to actually get my hand to do what i wanted it to do!  i found this one really challenging but in the end, i can actually make out the beginnings of a human form.  john mentioned “foreshortening” – apparently a dreaded word!  i can see know what we were meant to learn – close up looks bigger than further away – perspective.  the lumps express that quite well….

i think if you stare at it long enough you’ll see baby jesus… or the code to the hidden treasure….

and last, a 25 minute pose using cross hatching to express tone… apparently one could sit for 3 hours to achieve a “finished” drawing in this style!

after our drawing session we returned to the printmaking studio for a brief orientation.  i think im most excited about the prospect of printmaking of all the subjects.  we will be starting with monoprinting next week.  i have done a bit of printmaking, enough to have a reasonable understanding of the processes involved.  and today (tuesday), i started a series of etching classes with a local artist, jennifer buntine.  even though they are not formally a part of the diploma, i decided to go ahead with the classes as the extra time/experience can only help me in the end.  i took some photos this morning so will post them in the next post.

hope you enjoy this journey as much as i think im going to…


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2 Responses to the start of a new adventure

  1. Tara Badcock says:

    Hi Samantha,
    Thanks for your lovely message on my blog, and its been great browsing through your blog posts….having been a life model for years as well as an art student, I actually miss the whole life drawing thing and really love drawing quickly and feeling challenged to observe and work quickly…I find it really liberating and refreshing because it gives me the chance to not have to be ‘precious’ about what I’m doing!

    Such a contrast to textile work 😉

    Hope you’re well and enjoying art school….what a treat, I keep thinking about doing my Masters in Fine Art/Philosophy and taking some ‘time out’ from the ‘real world’….maybe when Felix is 3 or 4 years old? Maybe we’ll have another baby too, so I’ll wait and see…!

    There’s an exhibition planned at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre near La Trobe Uni for the end of Nov this year called High Tea and I’ll have some cosies in it, so I’ll send you an invite when I get them and maybe see you at the opening even (yes, I will give it a go on the Ferry with Felix and see how we go, pram and all!!)

  2. India flint says:

    good reading…i too like being a student
    am diving into a weeklong drawing class in summer
    looking forward to keeping up with your stories here

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