You Know - Part Four

Day Four saw more of the same - gesture drawings, contour drawings - a couple of longer poses, up to 20 minutes. Still using charcoal - a medium, until now, I'd never enjoyed using but a tiny flicker of pleasure in my grumpy mood was the way it smoothed on newsprint [i *love* newsprint]. I think too, the fact that we were standing at easels meant i wasn't dragging my pawprints and smudging everything was a big bonus - I did, however, wear a lot of charcoal smudges on my clothes and face. We had Anna again in the morning, and John in the afternoon.

charcoal gesture drawing

Today we introduced white chalk to the drawing - looking at light and shade. I've not had a lot of practice with using two colours (well three if you count the tone of the paper) when drawing and although I love the look of red and white chalk drawings, I couldn't wrangle my tools to any degree - though I tried. This was Mrs Bates medium of choice - and she had quite a few tricks up her sleeve, and her tiny nudes (mine were hardly contained on the A1 paper sometimes where she could fit 3 or 4 on hers) were really quite good. Dammit.

charcoal and chalk gesture drawing

charcoal and chalk gesture drawing

By this time I was hardly speaking during the day. Concentrating so hard I often found the first words I spoke were at lunchtime and my voice was husky and didn't work so well. I was noticing, too, that when we would move around the studio to look at other people's work, people'd look at mine and move on - whereas it was more common to see my classmates stop in clusters around an easel to oo and ah at different parts of the work. *sigh* yes, it *is* competitive and seeing the "look move on" around my easel didn't help. I was sleeping poorly too, waking every hour/few hours through the night so I was really getting a good grump on. The day was sunny and hot, and the studio was more so.

charcoal and chalk 2 minute gesture drawings

charcoal and chalk 2 minute gesture drawings

charcoal and chalk 10 minute drawing

charcoal and chalk 20 minute pose

charcoal and chalk 20 minute pose

The afternoon saw John and Joleen back for head studies - still not entirely sure why John had to be naked for this but hey, he was. Overall I tend to make the head to small - or leave it off entirely. I rarely catch a person's likeness and so I don't even bother anymore. I did enjoy drawing John's face and Joleen's too for that matter. The afternoon ended up making up for the crappy drawings I'd done in the morning session.

charcoal and chalk 10 minute pose

charcoal and chalk 20 minute head study

The day ended with ended with a trip to the Sargeant Gallery. I soon forgot how hot and stinky I was as I wandered through the gallery with [nearly all by the squash, at times] the other Summer School students. Work on show from contemporary maori artists along with an exhibition of Edith Collier's work, and a wonderful sampling of Fomison, Clairmont and Allen Maddox's work.

My favourite corner held a huge triptych and a smaller (A1 or so) woodblock print. I'd never seen Clairmont's work "in the flesh" before. The triptych was in his typical strong, highly coloured, strongly toned style. It was three nudes reclining (one per panel) and you could practically *feel* the strength in the bones. Clairmont uses a lot of colour and great strong brushstrokes. The pubic hair of the model in the first panel radiated red with fiery hot colours; the wide, multicoloured brushstrokes defined a strong feminine thigh; her face was obscured [or maybe she was] by a profiled image of Glum [sorry.. GOLLUM lookalike] - go figure! The woodblock was a domestic scene - fruit on a window and the view beyond - again highly coloured, with lots of working-into-the-print with watercolour and more paint. I was showing Pat the print and telling her how much I liked it when I realised Mrs Bates was within earshot canoodling close to another classmate looking at the triptych. I lifted my voice across to them "aren't these wonderful?" Mrs Bates looked like she'd just sucked on a lemon and the other woman said "yes, if I could just see past the flaming vagina."

After a while, and knowing we had another slideshow that evening, my liver told me it was time for vodka so I grabbed Pat and we went home to sit in the sun for a while. When we got home, Phoebe, Leedom and Norman were drinking and giggling round the kitchen table. It was nice; they were in good spirits. Phoebe left after a while and Pat and I dragged our couch onto the lawn and I sat there drinking my vodkaandorange proclaiming "just one more then I'm going to shower and get ready" Bron and Joslyn came out for a natter and the hoots of laughter that the first couple of Norman's Father Ted impressions had caused in the kitchen died down but he continued to pummel away reciting line after line in a very convincing Irish accent.

Eventually, I had to make a move. A quick shower and change and we were on our way back up to the Museum for another tutor's slide presentation.

I don't know much about glass but I know what I like. The program read "Cappy Thompson, Glass Painting Tutor". I hoped it wasn't a class on how to paint bunches of grapes on wine glasses - those tacky "arty" painted glass offerings in local craft shops. This was the extent of my knowledge of glass painting so far. Cappy [I so can see an 'r' after the C every time I see her name] was about to blow_my_mind! Oh my fucking god, I was *so* not prepared for her captivating, inspiring, seductive, exquisite works. So personal and so autobiographical, the light shone through her vessels and her colours and her beautiful artwork and I found my mouth had been open in jaw dropped wonder for most of the presentation. She showed a documentary following her commission and execution of the stained glass wall at Seattle International Airport. [you can see a slideshow of the process of creating this piece here, and the installation of the work here.] She really should have been the second presenter. Apart from her wonderful presentation, her beautiful glowing artwork, that seductive little video of the Seattle project just blew everyone's socks off and was a very hard act for Colin Reid to follow.

While Cappy is busy painting and kiln-firing glass vessels and stained glass windows, Colin Reid casts glass. This means, he creates an impression or mold of his artwork, then puts blocks of solid glass into the mold then into a kiln where it melts and takes the shape of the mold. His works were about as different from Cappy's as you could get. Solid and beautiful, I don't think they photograph very well. These pieces are meant to be seen with your own eyes and the way light plays on, around and through them. He had a piece in the Gallery at UCOL and it really had so much more impact than the slide of the same piece. Colin was a very good presenter too, and his work was varied and interesting - especially his commission works.

Listening to artists talk about their processes and projects, the things that went wrong and right, the whys and the therefores is really fascinating. I love to find out how people manage to make creating in their preferred medium a way of life and really *really* interested in how they make that work in the world as a commercial concern.

Getting home that night to a dinner of scrambled eggs [i forgot to steal more parsley] Mrs Bates and Jill were sitting at the table talking. They hadn't gone to the slide presentation that evening having exited early the night before finding [mostly Mrs B, I suspect] it all a bit tedious. They were halfway through a discussion about life drawing models, and specifically, who in their families they could wrangle as a model. Jill was explaining how her husband wouldn't be very happy being a nude model for her when she asked Mrs B "Could you get your Dick to do it?" at which point I collapsed in a pile of giggles fit for a 12 year old. Wiping the tears away, Jill was laughing a bit too but didn't really understand why i don't think. Mrs Bates continued as if nothing had happened after my laughter subsided a little "My other son is 6'6" tall, but he'd not be a good model because he has such a hairy back." Jill said "He'llve played a lot of basketball then" to which I collapsed all over again. Seems the idea of getting a hairy back by playing basketball only tickled *my* fancy.

I retired upstairs to my room and lay on my bed on my stomach in the dark and watched Girl with a Pearl Earring on my laptop. I spent the entire movie seeing the form of the bodies, light on faces, poses etc. I'd not seen this movie before - not much to write home about but quite beautiful to watch. First time I've noticed Colin Firth as attractive though. Hmm. I drifted off realising I still had three more days of drawing and wondered how the hell I was going to cope with my bad mood and frustration for that long.

My fitful sleep was full of dreams of drawing my own legs. I kept waking up to find them trying to escape the bed.