Raising the Bar.
Mary Passmore is a Swansea based Artist and full-time lecturer at Gower College Swansea.
The group position their easels correctly – with an open body to the model. Mary instructs ‘don’t cross your drawing to look, you must be able to see the model at all times’.
Mary would like the students to draw the whole figure and emphasises the importance that to get the best results you must stand up to use the whole arm/body when drawing. This creates a beautiful line, considered mark making and will make filling the paper easier. She doesn’t want tone, just lines, contouring and positioning.
The task is to produce 3 drawings in 3 minutes to warm up. Eye contact should be maintained with the subject at all times. Mary encourages the students to over lap the drawings if needed. This is a confidence building exercise and not to focus too much on the outcome. ‘Nice and big – don’t be afraid’.
Mary walks around each student – she comments ‘Keep looking at the model’ ‘Good work’ ‘This is really good’.
The next task is ‘up and under’ – drawing 2 sheets of paper, one on top of the other. Draw on the bottom sheet and use the top to cover so you can’t see what your drawing. This exercise is to get the students to look more and to stop generalizing as they draw. Since birth the brain is bombarded with imagery of what the body looks like and so when drawing your brain can take over and make it up rather than drawing what you see. The paper blocks the eye and so relinquishes the desire to worry about what the drawing looks like, concentrates on getting truer lines and makes the hand and eye work hard. Constant eye contact is forced. This is a challenging task. It goes against all natural instincts to look at what your drawing as you are applying the marks.
Mary grants the group short break after an intense exercise.
Mary guides the students through a 10 minute continuous line drawing exercise on A1 paper. The charcoal is not allowed to leave the paper.
The group then do a 20 minute session of drawing, measuring, plotting out lightly and concentrating on getting the proportion correct. These are to be used as a source for digital printing.