Tonight Rae took us through some exercises to help us build space and volume in our drawings, in part by including shapes and values around the figure, which creates depth. She showed us some of Richard Diebenkorn’s art, and talked to us about his method of drawing and rubbing out and erasing and redrawing, a process of finding lines and shapes he wanted to keep. The results are interesting in that you can see a lot of the original lines, so the final product is witness to the process. The drawing at left is his. I certainly put more stuff in my drawings than I usually do, but I failed to achieve his simplicity, which in my opinion is the real beauty in his work. But I was successful in creating more space by including some of the setting in my drawings.
We drew by the pool at “The b”. Colleen had set up a swing for a prior event, so that added something different. Rae asked us to use charcoal to draw the figure and to draw the background or surrounding shapes, and after we had worked on it for 10 minutes, she said, “OK, now rub it out and start again.” As a result, each drawing was reworked a couple of times, taking on a layered effect.
The drawing on the left was one of my warm-up drawings, in conte on manilla paper. For the drawing on the right, I was using very soft brick charcoal on gray paper, rubbing, erasing, and redrawing, and then following up with some white charcoal. I was pretty far out of my comfort zone, so the result was very different from anything I usually do. But that is the value of continuing to take instruction. I have to stretch more and grow faster.
I also remembered why I hate brick charcoal — it is so messy — pretty soon it is all over your clothes, your face, the walls, and on clothing you weren’t even wearing. In fact, brick charcoal shares top billing with cadmium red oil paint for messiest media on the planet. Fortunately Colleen was ready with the handi-wipes at the end of the session.