Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Nude 1 min", 2005

I am going to talk a little bit about drawing today. I will not go back to the dim and distant past when my hand did exactly what I asked it to do. The one thing I really enjoyed at art college was life drawing classes. In my third and fourth year I managed to nestle my way into while it wasn't part of the curriculum for illustration (imagine that!). However, after about the year 2000 the fibromyalgic problems that stem from my spinal condition caught up with me and I stopped drawing and painting, turning to collaging instead. I drew occasionally, but some movements that require fine motor skills and muscular stamina were very difficult for me. 

In Finland, the members of the art society I belonged to got together about three times to do life drawing. It was cheap and our model during the two latter sessions was adventurous and curvy. That makes a difference indeed!
Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Reclining Nude",  2006
Twice we were guided by the artist Julius Mattas who lives in Australia during the winter. His point of view was to try and help people loosen up and practice their drawing in an unconventional way. The idea was not to worry about the lines being in the right place, but to let it flow freely why you kept your eyes on the model more often than on your paper. It was more a question of feeling the shapes than to rigorously imitate them. What you come up with is often full of life and surprisingly, more indicative of shape and movement than a conventional drawing might have been.

Vivi-Mari Carpelan "Nude free style 1 min"  2006
Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Nude free style 1 min" 2008
It's a great shame this didn't go on on a regular basis, especially as it was easier for me to produce these kinds of drawings without straining my hand and shoulder muscles too much. There are no cheap classes in this area, so Martin and I really should be practising on each other.

In the last session Mattas had us draw without looking at the paper at all....

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "Nude Without Looking At the Paper" 2006

I have decided to try and draw the figure of my new mixed media collage, using a photo as a basis. I hope that the scale will make a difference to my ability (it's going to be fairly big, as opposed to most figures I drew in the past). 

The other day I decided I really want to produce a drawing of Martin's face. I have started the process by drawing this rather stiff first study. Apart from the few life drawings I haven't done any drawing at all in over 11 years. The first one is bound to be stiff. I also have to take my time studying all the details of his expressive face. Well, this time it was quite dark and Martin got very sleepy... it wasn't easy to try and catch the intensity of the eyes which will be the main focus of my final drawing. To my annoyance I realized it was extremely difficult to draw this little sketch on the couch without varyfocals, as I cannot see both far and close with the glasses I have. I have opted to have separate reading glasses but will try and use my old varyfocals for this sort of purpose. The alternative is to set up a big sheet on an easel but then I am not sure how detailed the study would be as I have nowhere to lean my arms. Oh well, just have to keep working at it. The result wasn't great by any standards though one can spot some resemblance...

Vivi-Mari Carpelan: "First study of Martin 270811"
Normally you tend to oscillate between looking at detail and looking at the whole (unless you're a beginner in which case you often stare at the details only and miss their interrelationship and relationship to the paper and the whole). I think being more aware of the whole is a better starting point, then the rest follows, but it's not easy and it takes some loosening up. The whole is bigger than the sum of its details...

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