Eileen West was the guest artist at Studio b this week, the first in a series. She gave a presentation about her approach to the figure, and she referenced Henri Matisse, in particular his Nude at the Mirror (shown at right). She pointed out how Matisse did not strive for accuracy or for tonal expression of the form in this drawing and yet it conveyed such emotion. She quoted Picasso as saying that he spent 4 years learning to paint like Rafael, and the rest of his life learning to paint like a child.
She asked us to try to express emotion in our drawings and she asked us to look at the entire setting, not just figure and ground, and not to get stuck on absolute accuracy. I thought it was easier to express emotion when we were warming up with 1-minute gestures, but more difficult when the model held sustained poses. Eileen said to consider everything she said to be lies, but I knew she spoke her truth and I felt privileged that she shared it with us.
My first drawing here adds in some of the elements of the studio and makes almost no attempt at modeling, sort of Matisse-y, although any inaccuracy in the contours was unintentional. In the second drawing, I just emptied my mind and went with the moment.