Everyone was excited to get started this week and we began by discussing the Formal Elements to help students identify them in the Julie Mehretu’s drawings we were using for inspiration to help develop the group drawing we are working on. We continued to develop the group drawing further before continuing with one of the most exciting techniques I know – because it’s so MESSY. I just love it. Charcoal dust drawings!
Charcoal dust drawings are made by simply taking a handful of charcoal sticks and crushing them to dust, pouring a handful into the center of your page and then use your hand to smudge it all over the place – obviously with some intention in mind – this time the image of a face. Here are some of the results.
We developed this idea a step further in our second drawing by working from darkness to light. This time we blackened our paper with the remaining charcoal and then used putty kneadable rubbers to bring back the lighter tones and begin to find the elusive face within the page. Some great results with some expressing a kind of primitive archetypal image that I feel we all carry around within us if we explore deep enough within.
After a well-earned tea break we moved on to working with acrylic paint – often a sticking point – when trying to remain spontaneous, gestural and intuitive in our picture making. I started this part of the session with a short demo on some of the techniques I wanted the students to explore. After mixing our colours and setting up easels and paper the rest of the time just flew by as students began to get to grips with the different things they could do with paint while creating a human likeness on the page. Some images were quite abstract, while others were more representational – all were a definite expression of students’ attempts in trying to find new ways into making portrait and head studies.
More time was needed to play and explore so we’ll continue this next week. I’m already looking forward to seeing what happens.