Category Archives: pencil

Letting Loose – Rhythm

I just found this in my old drawings. It’s a gesture drawing, took only about two minutes. I really like it for its loose movement. It has energy and rhythm. Amazing what can be caught in a moment’s time when one is being present and just observing and drawing instead of thinking. ūüėČ

Rhythm | Graphite on Paper | 2013

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K√§the Kollwitz – Mother with Boy

K√§the Kollwitz (1867-1945) was a German artist. She lived through both world wars, lost her brother and her younger son in WWI and her grand son in WWII. Needless to say that these losses left a great impression on her. She was a committed socialist and pacifist. Quite often she depicted death, hunger, and the devastation of war in her art. She mostly sculpted but also produced very impressive drawings. Her sculptures are outstanding, very special and among my favorites. I had the pleasure to see (and touch – a very special treat) some of her super large sculptures in the K√§the Kollwitz Museum in Berlin. A friend who visited this museum very recently sent me a postcard featuring one of her drawings called “Mother with Boy”. Kollwitz very often made the Mother a central figure of her art. Mothers who give birth to their sons, only to lose them in horrible senseless wars.

I’m so impressed with the seemingly simple style of her art, and I wanted to study her technique. Turns out, it might look simple but it has a lot of little intricacies that are harder to reproduce than it seems. I find, the best way is really to copy and experience how the artist did it. When I say copy, I mean looking and drawing free hand – no cheating with any helpful tools like rulers or so. The point is to train your eye and to get a sense for the technique of the artist.

Why is this line exactly here and not there? What happens if I move it just a bit? Is this little dot of importance? Those were the thoughts that crossed my mind while trying to copy her drawing. Again, it looks so simple at first sight, but it was actually really hard to copy. It helps when I step away for a few hours or even a day or two. It also helps, when I look at a photo of her and my drawing side by side (as you see below). For some reason I notice other things when I look at a photo instead of the actual drawing. And every time I see another little thing that needs “fixing”.

An amazing exercise, that I enjoyed immensely. I stopped at some point. It can still be improved. However, that is also a lesson I learned from this exercise. You stop at some point and accept the result. And then start over, if you wish. Every time you learn something new. Try it !

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Just Paul

When my son Paul was about three years old a friend of mine liked to tease him by faking a Brooklyn accent saying things like, “Aye Pauli, howahrya doin’?” or “What are yuh doin’ dere, Pauli?”.¬† Paul did not seem to like it and quite often he did not respond when she addressed him like that.

One day when I called him Pauli (without the accent, rather using it as a term of endearment) he did not respond either and I asked him, “Why don’t you respond when I say your name?”¬†¬†¬† He replied, ” That’s not my name.” ¬† “It’s not? What is your name then?”, I asked.¬† And he very emphatically, pronouncing every word quite slowly and particular, said, “I am Paul! Just Paul!”

So, here we go:    Paul Рjust perfect as he is.

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Monumental Drawings by Chris LaPorte

This is unbelievable! I love it and admire his dedication.

Please read this post by ArtStormer and watch the short video where he explains his work – fantastic!

http://artstormer.com/2013/04/23/group-shot-monumental-drawings-by-chris-laporte/

Gesture Drawing

Gesture drawings are usually done very quickly. The exercises we did in class ranged from just 10 seconds to 5 minutes. It’s not about getting technically everything right, one does not necessarily aim for exact proportions and so on, it’s even in your way to think along that line. Gesture drawing is an exercise where it’s helpful to loosen up. It’s more about feeling “things” out, understanding what the subject or object is all about. The speed forces you to let go of thinking too much, decisions have to be made in a split second. However the more skilled you are at drawing – and of course, the more you practice gesture drawing itself – the better your gesture drawings will become. All the hard work will eventually show in those ten seconds. A gesture drawing can be done of pretty much anything, be it a person, a chair, a tree or a coffee cup. It’s all about capturing the essence of the subject/object, the expression frozen in the moment; you might even say it’s an attempt to capture an emotion. Here are a few gesture drawings of people (from class) and chickens (homework). The drawings of the chickens took less than 10 seconds per chicken, the gesture drawings of the models are 5 minute drawings.

Artistic Anatomy

During spring quarter 2012 at Gage I took a class called Artistic Anatomy. In this class you literally study anatomy as far as it applies to drawing (and consequently also to painting and sculpting). In other words you study the skeleton, muscles, etc. – even hair (direction of hair growth, beard) – you get the idea. However this class was an advanced class for students who already had taken part 1 and part 2 in fall and winter, so I got a little in over my head. It was expected that one already knows most of the anatomy and applies it to life drawing. Thankfully I was not the only one who misjudged the class content and the instructor adjusted his curriculum taking the time at the beginning of each session repeating the material in an abbreviated form and explaining once more the specific parts of the body before we started drawing from the life model.

It was quite a ride, I have to say. The upside is, I tend to work harder when I feel that I’m behind. Also, the instructor did not exactly cut me (or anyone else for that matter) any slack. He was not pleased that he had so many people in class that had not already studied the subject. He was very critical and, without any mercy, took every one of my drawings apart. Sometimes it was hard to take it all in but it helped me to get better. One certainly learns through failure. Towards the end of the quarter I even received an approving nod here or there. During the last session we worked completely independent on a drawing of a man. When the session was over I asked him to tell me what he thought was good or bad about it. He pointed to the knee area of one leg and said, “this area here, that’s actually not bad, well defined,” …and nodding his head in thought, said again, “not bad.”¬†¬† I know that doesn’t sound like much but coming from him (and considering where I had started 12 weeks earlier) it felt really good to hear ūüôā

Here are a couple of my drawings/studies from that class: legs, knee, feet, female full body and a portrait.

Following a construction drawing/study of the knee (my knee in the mirror actually).

The next one is one of my favorites. I had a good session that day and although the arms are not that well defined (ran out of time) I was happy with the result.

And last but not least, a portrait.