It was with a sense of great sadness that I walked around my old college’s studios and lecture hall as the final exhibition/installation took place. Meeting old contemporaries there was a pleasant shock after thirty years.
My friends and clients are always shocked when I suddenly present (in front of them) a ‘painting from life’ – just because I appear to produce slap-dash imagery as my main artistic process and thrust doesn’t mean I haven’t mastered the basic fundamental skills of ‘traditional’ painting and drawing.
Artists and teachers have argued for years that to fully understand the processes required in creating non-representational art, a knowledge of basic representational tricks is vital – to be able to imitate the real world is useful when trying to turn your back on it.
One of my still life paintings hanging on a wall in Worcestershire.
Oil paint on paper – 20″ x 16″
Representation is the use of signs that stand in for and take the place of something else. It is through representation that people organize the world and reality through the act of naming its elements. Signs are arranged in order to form semantic constructions and express relations.
For many philosophers, both ancient and modern, man is regarded as the “representational animal” or homo symbolicum, the creature whose distinct character is the creation and the manipulation of signs – things that “stand for” or “take the place of” something else.
Life drawing is perhaps something every artist must do – not easy and very frustrating but I had a go.
Going back to the basic skills of drawing is an interesting excursion – a journey I’m not sure I will complete. Drawing a life model for the first time in decades was a bit daunting but old tricks and shortcuts were soon remembered and in many respects drawing is a bit like riding a bicycle.
I have begun to draw again
My previous methodology relied on me subcontracting my creativity to either ‘chance’, allowing the medium to take partial control over the finished image or by letting the computer system deal with my creativity in its prescriptive manner – the program has ways of dealing with commands in a very limit way, hacking the software is the only way of producing images that are different from our everyday visual blitzkrieg of imagery…we are subjected to via the Internet, the printed page and video.