Friday, September 25, 2009

Flying with a Big Chunk of Charcoal

Last night's beginning drawing class started with the inspiration of Jim Dine's charcoal wall drawings from this movie.

This class is my third attempt to find the right teacher to learn drawing. Bingo! I'm so happy I followed my sense that the right approach would make all the difference for me. He'd call his approach expressionistic; I'd call it drawing from the body--something I understand deeply.

I was both amused and surprised when he'd stop the class and say, "Woman in the green. Keep drawing and everyone watch her." And then say, "See how she's moving from her hips." Later he did it again, "See how she's moving with her whole shoulder."

Working with big charcoal, by the end of evening, we had all drawn the person sitting across from us multiple times. He'd have us stop and then erase it with a paper towel and start over. As we drew, he read from Robert Cohen's Acting One and told a few stories. There was a lot about good decisions and bad decisions. Good decisions, scare you. Good decisions....I don't remember, but all the words were just right taking me deeper into my process, emboldening me to step out farther and farther on the limb, and giving me permission to put aside my tentativeness. I drew with abandon and joy and at the same time processed the challenges I traversed this week in my marriage and understood what I needed to go forward for my second round of interviews on Monday for a job I'd like.

I fell in love with the person sitting across from me. How wonderful it is to just look at someone and see! No judgment. Absolute presence. I fell in love with her wrinkles, the circles under her eyes, and the curls at the corners of her eyes and lips. I ended up with a de Kooning-eque drawing, which both looked like a person and pleased me. I made her eyes much too large, but somehow it felt just right for my level of skill and what her face said to me. And besides, I'm not interested in drawing representational art.

I'd show you, but I showed my husband last night and it was a mistake. It's that little problem of expectations.


madame v said...

Hmm, I sense an pARTy project coming on. And, I want to draw you.

painted fish studio said...

i love, love this post. this is the post everyone should write after leaving a drawing class. the gestural moves required with charcoal are so perfect for expression. isn't that what drawing should be about? it should be about the act - it should be about what you're trying to express - it should not be about what others see. keep it up, kim. please.


What a beautiful post. I've just started a life drawing class too, I find showing other people what I've drawn the hardest part!