Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Week 5 Preview

Open Studio! Bring whatever project you'd like to work on.

Week 4 Reflections

Attendees: Kevin Budnik, Angela Caggiano, Chris Dazzo, Betty Heredia, Marieke McClendon, Matt Novak, Ness Rago, Naji Sierra, and Carl Zeller.

Documentarian: George Burnett.

Professor Dingleberry: Ivan Brunetti.

So, as we were saying...

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Memento. The Rock. Spirited Away. The Green Mile. Kingpin. Rope. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Beauty and the Beast. The Thing. All Quiet on the Western Front. The Wrestler. Big Fish. The Nightmare Before Christmas. For Your Eyes Only. Enter the Dragon. It Happened One Night. Heat. Murderball. The Road Warrior. Snakes on a Plane. 8 1/2. Children of a Lesser God. Black Swan. The Departed. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Stripes. Life is Beautiful. The Sting. Red Dawn. Mona Lisa Smile. Million Dollar Baby.

If you attended the Week 4 session, you know what these movie titles are all about. But if you weren't there... well, you had to be there.

In this session, we took a very precise technical illustration of an engine block and tried to redraw it in the most organic way possible (whatever "organic" meant to each of us). Optionally, we also had a Philip Guston drawing that we could redraw in the most geometric, "mechanical" way possible.

Pix are on their way.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Week 4 Preview

Next week, February 18, we will be drawing, exploring organic vs. geometric lines and marks, so bring whatever tool(s) and paper you like, keeping that in mind. I'll bring references that we can use as a starting point. Looking forward to seeing everyone.

Week 3 Reflections

Attendees: David Alvarado, Kevin Budnik, Angela Caggiano, Chris Dazzo, Nick Drnaso, Sanya Glisic, Betty Heredia, Erik Lundquist, Marieke McClendon, Max Morris, Matt Novak, Ness Rago, Naji Sierra, and Matt Soria. 

Documentarian: George Burnett.

Pedant: Ivan Brunetti.

Our exercise for Week 3 was "Interiors." We all brought photos or clippings of the inside of rooms (or just one room, or the same photo repeated). We spent the first 90 minutes cutting, tearing, and/or rearranging the photos into a collage.

At that point, we had a choice: either continue working on the collage, or create a drawing, based in some way on the collage. The remainder of the session was spent working on our collages or drawings.

Below are some snapshots of the Week 3 session.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Week 3 Preview

Our exercise for Week 3 is tentatively titled "Interiors."

Homework: You'll need to collect at least 12 photos (they can be your own, or someone else's). Since we'll be cutting and pasting, you might want to bring duplicates, cheap printouts, or magazine clippings, or some combination thereof.

The subject should be: the inside of a room.

You can bring 12 images of the same room, perhaps from different viewpoints. Or the images can be of 12 different rooms, if you prefer. Or you can bring 12 duplicates of the same exact image. They can be close-ups, panoramic, mid-ground, or any combination thereof. Any images of a room or rooms will do, really.

Bring whatever paper, tools, and/or materials you like to work with. First, we'll do a short collage exercise (I'll provide scissors and glue), and then we'll spend close to 2 hours working on a drawing (or painting, or collage, or sculpture, or... you get the picture.)

Week 2 Reflections

Attendees: David Alvarado, Kevin Budnik, Angela Caggiano, Chris Dazzo, Nick Drnaso, Marieke McClendon, Ness Rago, Naji Sierra, Matt Soria, Carl Zeller.

Documentarian: George Burnett.

Bloviator: Ivan Brunetti.

This week's exercises revolved around memory and translation.

A few words about drawing: This, to me, is everything, the alpha and the omega. The culmination and distillation of thought. As a medium of expression, it is direct, intimate, and all-revealing. You can't fake a good drawing; bravado, prevarication, and coyness simply wither, exposed and helpless.

When I am in the presence of a beautiful painting or a sculpture, I feel an an instability beneath my feet, outside my skin, as if the magnetic field around me has been disrupted. In the presence of a beautiful drawing, the stirring is internal. Something within me feels altered, shaken.

There's something vulgar and disrespectful about human hands handling a painting or sculpture, like surgery performed with clumsy puppy paws, but I think a drawing begs be held, touched, not placed on a wall or on a pedestal.

Granted, I could be completely wrong about all this.

Exercise 1: The group divides itself into teams of two, so... 12 people equals six teams. One person acts as the Describer, the other as a Drawer. The Drawers get their butcher-paper pinned to the wall and their tools handy (large markers, charcoal, or brush and ink). The Describers are each handed a printout of a portrait drawing (by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Degas, Rubens, and many others), which they must stare at for 5 minutes, absorbing every detail of the content and composition, including textures, the quality of the marks and lines, etc.

The Describers put away the portraits, and then must verbally describe the image to the Drawer. While hand and body gestures are allowed, there is no sketching allowed by the Describer. The Drawer attempts to draw the image, based on the Describer's memory and description. (The drawings took between 15-20 minutes.)

Next, the team members reverse their roles: The Drawer now becomes the Describer, and vice versa. New portrait images are given to each Describer. This creates a new set of interpretive drawings by the Drawers.

We ended up with a total of 12 large sketches on the butcher paper, each drawn by a different person.

Exercise 2: Through a random redistribution, everyone was assigned another person's drawing. This would then become the basis of a new drawing. We had a little over an hour to create these more finished pieces, and everyone was allowed to choose whatever tools, materials, and dimensions they preferred. The butcher-paper sketches served as jumping-off points, and everyone was free to "translate" these drawings as they wished, faithfully or unfaithfully, which led to surprising results.

At the end of the session, the original portrait drawings were revealed to all, for further comparison, edification, and amusement. Here are a few examples.


Please accept my sincere apologies if you were one of the attendees on Week 2. I was in full-on pedantic mode, complete with "teacher voice." Ugh. I swore that this workshop would not turn into a class, that we'd avoid critiques and over-analysis. Yet I found myself over-amped, overbearing, agitated from the listless class I taught just before our workshop, and, God help us all, trying to force a "discussion" by the end of the night.

This is antithetical to my original goals for the workshop, and I promise to restore a less-pressured atmosphere, so we can enjoy each other's company and be inspired by each other. I want our Monday evenings to be enjoyable, above all.