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FIGURING OUT THE FIGURE
November 4 – December 11, 2010
These drawings are examples of in-class demonstrations. Drawing is an active process, an engagement with materials that is both physical and intellectual. This “external” drawing process is accompanied by a parallel “internal” dialog process involving psyche and spirit, where cognitive choices and emotional responses may surface to yield information about the “self”. Here, insight and personal meaning come into the process of self-understanding and meta-cognition. Because of this, I encourage my students to work in terms of “process” rather than focus on the “product” of their efforts. “Process” engagement brings insight, “product” fascination brings frustration. One juggles three primary concerns in the act of drawing: observing (looking/seeing), organizing (visual problem-solving), and expressing materials (touching marker to paper). I demonstrate these elements so that students can see my hand move about the page, so that they can see my body language at work and see the intensity of focus that drawing requires. Speech cannot convey meaning so fully nor with the same immediacy as “seeing” a demonstration. I demonstrate every concept, skill and strategy that I want students to learn. There’s always a risk and sometimes I feel embarrassed when a demonstration falls short and the lesson is muddled. I just refocus and try it again.
In class I emphasize physicality, high energy and focus. The drawing format is larger, 36”x 24,” and requires reach. I want students to extend themselves. I encourage students to draw standing rather than sitting, to use their shoulders and hips rather than just their wrists. I ask students to be aware of their internal dialog as they work: to accept themselves, to find ways to nurture and challenge themselves as they move forward. Figure drawing exploration requires taking risks, willingly and consciously.
We explore possibilities, take chances, pay attention, suspend judgment, find insight, and move forward. Figure drawing is wonderful and satisfying even as it challenges and frustrates.
Santa Rosa Junior College is officially accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges