Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Large-Scale Drawing

 (All Photos: Barbara Downs)

Along with my friends, Claire Thorson and Barbara Downs, I took part in a brief but worthwhile experiment in large-scale drawing last month. I thought I’d share my results here, even though I’m not sure the piece is done. It’s hard to classify. Painted with umber-tinted gesso and black & white acrylic, it remains more of a drawing than a painting. I sometimes think of it as a draping--a hanging drawing-- not meant to be exhibited on conventional stretchers, but shown informally and left at that.

Initial Drawing
There’s a stiffness to the composition and a pretty conventional left-to-right read , but what interests me is what’s happening at the edges and at the center, the fluctuation of the figures from artists to models and back again. There are very few magic words, but it seems to me that one of them must be “again.”
" Artist & Models #1" -stage 1
This continues the theme of painting as work, with the studio world as a workplace. The drawing is unintentionally clumsy in many places, but I’ve left it that way to get a feeling I might not have reached with a purely critical eye. Still, I may end up revising parts of it, and I certainly want to have another go at this format. At six by nine feet, it’s the largest canvas I’ve ever worked on. It’s a scale that’s often associated with high-energy gesture painting, but for me it elicits something much quieter, with stillness framing the music.

"Artists & Models #1" 6 x 9 feet, gesso & acrylic on canvas