Life drawing

From time to time, I participate in life drawing classes or workshops. Life drawing, as a discipline, has survived centuries of artistic change and it remains one of the staples of art education. Draped or undraped models pose so we can capture the human form. Proportion, foreshortening, shadow, line, expression (and hands and feet!) are some of the challenges – a significant number.

The drawings I like best, and the ones I aspire to in my own practice, are the lightly rendered ones – the barely-there representations that suggest, rather than detail, the attitude of the subject. I don’t find these easy and am full of admiration for those who can see the essence and get that down with a few lines or a couple of pieces of shading. Although there may not be much on the page, for me these drawings, when skilfully executed, burst with the life of the model.

The same applies to writing, I believe – life writing, perhaps. The more lightly we can render our thoughts, the more deftly we can express our ideas, the more evocative they will be for our readers. Over-explanation, a trap for us all, kills the life in our subjects.  In visual art we try to leave something for the viewer to do, to fill in for themselves. Writing should be the same. Let the viewer do some looking, let the reader do some thinking. We should let the perceiver create within our creation.

Until later (in fear of over explaining!)


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