Sunday, June 14, 2015

Creative Immersion

 Happy Day 11: The only painting I actually completed this week. Believe it or not, this was painted from a model. As in a human. I know, it looks like a landscape. The exercises we did really stretched the way we look at things. 
Happy Day 9: I pulled up in front of the
main studio building. I managed not to 
get too lost this year... I got lost, but 
was only about 10 minutes off course. 
Much better than last time.    
I spent this past week in Dunedin, Ontario, at the Creativity Art Retreat (so apologies to those looking for my #100happydays posts on social media... the internet connection was a bit spotty). Long time readers might recognize the name from my visit there last year. It was such a great experience I decided I would do it again. And it did not disappoint.
HD 10: Awesome, light filled studio space
at the retreat. And some truly inspiring 
people to spend time with.

The workshop I decided on this year was working from the figure, with artist V. Jane Gordon. Right from the first day she tested our willingness to be open to the new and different. It was certainly not like any workshop I've ever done, or like any figure drawing/painting experience I've ever had.... we had the model moving constantly, were changing the orientation of our work as we worked, we were incorporating things we found outside, we had to change materials, go from standing to sitting, get right up close to things... it was a very, very different experience.

Day12: Awesome collection of books
here... and time to sit and enjoy them! 

Happy Day 13: I got out my quill pen and
ink for this assignment... I had forgotten 
how much I like drawing in ink.  It's been 
years since I've used anything but a marker. 
Behind V. Jane's thinking is the act of inquiry. She has written a book about it, which I purchased for myself, because there are so many things I am curious about and I'm positive I have only scratched the surface of what this is all about. One thing she has managed to convince me of is the need to carry a sketchbook, for what she calls "data collection". That's something that I've tried to do, off and on, for most of my adult life, but never really did with any conviction. I think that stems back to my University days, when we had to pass the book in to the professor every couple weeks... the feedback I got was how to make the images better as finished drawings, so I never really saw it as a tool to collect information, but only a way to practice my drawing skills. I preferred to do this on a larger scale, so my sketchbook largely remained empty. In a lot of ways, I seem to have missed the entire point of it.
A drawing done while looking at the model, while
at the same time running my fingers over my face...
I would get confused as to what I was actually drawing,
me or her. The final result is certainly more interesting
than your typical life drawing.

I think it is going to take me a while to absorb all the things we worked on and figure out how I can apply them in my own practice. It is such a different way of thinking that  if I can work it out, it may have the potential to transform my work. I have a couple projects to finish up before I can truly get going, but I'm pretty sure I will be spending a fair bit of time over the next few weeks, sketchbook in hand, intently studying some little detail of something or other, and recording it for future use.

I was playing with the panoramic settings on my camera... the view of the river, from behind the River House, where I was staying.