How do I instantly know whether a drawing is good or bad? Sometimes I feel it in the process itself. The marks may be too emphatic, when I want provisionality.
Some days my drawing hand feels leaden; the instantaneous connection between eye, brain and hand is missing.
These powdered graphite drawing are highly susceptible to failure. In past projects I thought it necessary to include every drawing produced, whether bad or good.
The drawings I’m working on now are preparation for my installation at the the Burnaby Art Gallery at the end of June. They’re practice drawings so when I begin to draw on the walls of the gallery I have confidence, stamina and speed. This archive of images will also help with scale and placement. So I need my best drawings to inspire and give me courage during the installation—a process very much like a performance.
I’m developing a new course at Emily Carr University called Drawing Faces: “Rather than pursuing the idea of a portrait as a fixed, singular image we will consider representations of the face as an ambiguous, shifting field of interaction and interpretation.”
I’m in the midst of developing a reading list as well as assignments for this course. I’ll ask the students to develop a series of drawn faces, similar to the daily drawing project described in an earlier post. As a way to consider the terms of this assignment I began a new series of one-minute drawings of a face in a small (3 x 4″) notebook.
The iPad drawings continue. The pleasure I experience producing and reviewing these drawings is surprising. There’s something very satisfying about pursuing a simple activity like this, without being overly concerned with its value, purpose or significance.
During the last nine years I’ve concentrated on drawing faces. The images below represent samples of a number of projects I’ve undertaken during this time. The drawings are made with a range of materials and techniques including powdered graphite, brush and ink and watercolour. Each of the drawings comes from a much larger archive:
These are obviously not conventional portraits, but I am interested exploring the face and face perception within this work. Typically portraits encourage us to understand ourselves as we contemplate the image of someone else. Faces represent an individual’s unique characteristics as well as the features shared by all faces. Drawing these faces gives me the opportunity to consider my relationship to myself as well as my relationship to other people.
I’m not interested in developing a mastery of drawing, I’m more interested in playing with the conventions of representation. I try to relinquish some control over the process and experiment with materials and techniques that allow the expressive qualities of the mark-making process to emerge. Each of my projects accumulates over an extended period of time and usually involves multiple representations of a single face. I’m interested to see how repetition and accumulation opens up new opportunities for meaning to emerge.