In this drawing workshop, I was encouraged to experiment with anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being. In this case, we were looking at the attribution of human motivation with plant life and natural phenomena. As well as the relation between the plants and the model, we looked at relief work and experimenting with cutting paper out and sticking it onto our drawings to make a much more free image and shape than just the rectangle of the paper we were given. There were a few initial artistic inspirations that were considered before creating the outcome. This workshop was from life so a life model surrounded by plant life was present. The artists that stood out to me to inspire my piece were Henri Matisse, Graham Sutherland, Ruth Daniels and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Henri Matisse favoured drawing from life. It is interesting to look at his piece below because the plants almost seem more important in the composition than the figure does. I am drawn in by the loose handling used to render the leaves and the fact that the leaves are varied in size and shape. To me, the plants are a far more interesting subject to look at within this painting and I don’t immediately notice that she is there. This inspired me to think about displaying the figure or face of a human woman amongst the foliage around her. Matisse’s work inspired me to use a bright colour palette and to not be too controlled in my approach. This piece also gave me an insight into how the plants and the model can come together to make a successful artwork.
Graham Sutherland’s piece “Bamboo forest“ showed me how I could approach drawing and incorporating an expressive element into my piece. I like the limited colour palette in this work and it inspired me to fill the page and cram lots of plant imagery together. Here he has portrayed the plants dominating the figure and there is a sense that the figure is intimidated by all the foliage. I wanted the figure and plants to be harmonious together in my work so in a way Sutherland’s work showed me how to do that by showing the how not to do it.
RUTH DANIELS and GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
The Bright colours in the work of these two artists were highly inspirational to me, they influenced me to use iridescent colouring within my own work and think about placing colours together to make a more striking effect. The Blending of colours was something that caught my eye here aswell which inspired me to be tonal in my work rather than thinking about the use of block colour.
MY ANTHROMORPHIC ARTWORK
Above is an image of the piece I produced within this workshop. I am fairly happy with how it turned out and the model and the plant life have definitely come together as one. The bright colour palette and leaves remind me of a carnival atmosphere. I think the fact that the shape of the piece is irregular adds to its success, it would not be as interesting to look at if it was simply rectangular. To create this piece I have used a variety of medias including charcoal, oil pastels, paint, ink and chalk pastel. I think leaving some of the piece white was definitely a wise decision as it heightens and accentuates the bold colouring of the piece. I found it quite difficult to decide which bits of the life model and plants that I was looking at to include in my work and struggled at first to be selective. This workshop taught me that you do not have to draw all of what you see for the image to be successful and that you can combine two or more completely separate subject matters relatively simply.
Whilst undertaking a Life Drawing Workshop, I looked at the sketches of three well-known artists, Matisse, Rembrandt and Auerbach.
Matisse’s drawing encourages me to be simplistic in my initial approach to drawing a life model and that sometimes the most simple sketches can be the most successful. Also, I think his use of thick, bold black line to produce his studies is very effective. I am constantly inspired by Auerbach’s incredibly worked into drawings, they are highly layered and textural. These are definitely qualities that in future I would like to capture in my own drawing practice. I just love Rembrandt’s studies, they are so charming and capture a real sense of what is going on in the scenes he produces. His drawing technique is very influential to my practice as most of the drawings look unfinished, he hasn’t worried about completing a full sketch, which is something I need to stop doing. The washy kind of background helps to focus your attention on the figures. This encourages me to think about how to draw the viewer to the main point of interest in my work. All three artists fuel my desire to be more expressive in my approach to sketching.