(with audio) “Every artwork is a potential masterpiece” but you don’t always know what will look good, especially when you are starting out. I never want to set up people for failure so today I am sharing some tips on life drawing when you’re starting out.
Difficulty spells disinterest
My students one year were given a 12 inch square canvas to paint a picture of themselves and something that identifies them. One student showed me her detailed pencil drawing drawn directly onto the canvas.
In my mind all I could see was the frustration she would be setting herself up for. Having to paint such detailed information onto that small canvas. Watching the pencil muddy the paint or the paint beading over the graphite. Watching the paint go in spaces not intended. Alarm bells as difficulty spells disinterest at the early stages of artmaking in my books.
You live and learn as a art teacher. I bet the next lot of students were bored to tears when I advised on keeping it simple and not too detailed.
I’m listening to the chatter on a crowded city train platform. Some lament that even though they have gone to uni they still can’t get a full time job. I like the guy with the glasses on the right as he gazes up the crowded platform to see if what he heard was a train coming. It’s so hard to capture the moment sometimes as people move around the space. My pics are in real time and so very pleased to have listened to the chatter while capturing this.
This sketch was drawn in the afternoon peak while waiting for a train at an underground station at Wynyard in Sydney CBD . It was a connecting train that I was waiting for here. These people, as with me, were making their journey south into the suburbs to places like Hurstville, Kogarah, Sutherland and the like.
Personal space of train travellers. Everyone relaxes into a pose to keep them upright should the train jolt. This guy leans with the right shoulder against the wall with his Hurley backpack.
My sketches are done then and there. No photos are taken. This means that you generally have to expect that the subject will be getting off at the next station. This person is at the door. The next station is 2 minutes away. So glad I was able to catch that hunkered look. I find that characteristic in a few of my sketches. Love it.