VIS120 Week 7: drawing in exhibitions + books

Drawing in exhibitions...

Patricia Piccinini
Curious Affection @ GOMA, Brisbane
I was touched and mesmerised by this exhibition. The human-like sculptures and the stories they told, the transformation of machines, the scale, the beauty, the weirdness and occasional grossness... it was great. The thing that struck me the most about Patricia's drawings is that they were highly polished and finished works of art in themselves. They were meditations on a vision done with presence and full attention - not just quick sketches to capture ideas but explorations complete in themselves. In my own drawing practice as part of bigger projects, I want to take drawing more seriously and give it time and patience as a study of what I want to create - not just an image to grab a quick sense of something.

Energies 2018
HOTA, Gold Coast
The drawings in this exhibition by high school students often appeared drowned out by the louder and more dynamic and contrasting paintings or the sculptural pieces but they had an attraction - I was drawn in to look closer, to become more aware of my senses. I found myself wanting to see up close, to touch the drawings, initially pulled in by the skill of their execution, then pulling out to feel the meaning of what was being expressed. I had to work harder with the drawings - they demanded more of me than the other artworks but in this, they created an intimacy. I was also struck by how different it is looking at a drawing behind glass on a wall versus a drawing in a book. In my own drawing practice, this exhibition gave me insight into the unique place drawing has in art and how it holds it's own and creates subtle but powerful connection.

Paris Rodd
A Portrait
Ink drawings

For me, this dense and detailed ink drawing illustrates well the quality of attention that is called for when viewing drawings on a wall in a gallery. It takes time to reveal the meaning and the eye jumps around.

Drawing in books...

I picked up a bunch of small drawing books for a few dollars from an op shop a little while ago and haven't opened them yet so this was a good excuse. They seem great at listing tools required, great for tips and tricks and exercises to build skills and great at listing techniques to refer back to in the future as a source of new ideas. From a research perspective, it's good to see all the basics are agreed on: 1,2 and 3 point perspective, shapes and volume, directional lines, light and shade and framing and composition. From a personal perspective, I don't think I'll ever want to learn how to draw from a book... doing it is the only way. These books might just find themselves back at the op shop sometime soon.

On the other hand, the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards is a true classic and a text I'd be glad to learn from to develop my drawing skills. It's thorough and conversational and really supportive. The step by step exercises are super clear and encouraging and great for beginners like me. There's lots of student examples and colour plates that detail artist drawings too. I look forward to working my way through this book as an adjunct to my studies. I think I'll check out the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook also.