Monday, 17 August 2015

Unlearn everything you can

To unlearn things is harder than to learn them. I was pretty arrogant when I started the second year of the Btec general art and design course at Bromsgrove college. I'd gone from getting praise and encouragement at school to questioning and criticism at Bromsgrove. I wouldn't listen and thought I knew it all, but that's one of the skills they were trying to teach us, how to criticise our own work to learn from it, to keep what was good and worked and erase what didn't. We had to draw from life, something I'd always avoided,  my first efforts were crude and unskilled, with  no understanding of proportion or measurement and little hand eye co-ordination, to this day I find drawing a struggle.

What I took from these lessons was that drawing is an enquiry, in life drawing it is empirical, the evidence is before you and the drawing matches or does not but it can also be exploratory, asking questions visually of what is in front of you. Drawing underpins and enables everything you can and will do as an artist.

So the process I went through at Bromsgrove was really about breaking me down, destroying all my preconceptions and making me be honest about what I was doing , and being able to look at my work and make a judgment as to its value , good, bad , not trying, fooling myself or breakthrough and to judge my work in relation to others. 

You don't have to know what something is to draw it you just have to be able to describe it , and have the patience and concentration to stand or sit there for two hours at a time. That's one of the other things they taught us , the concentration levels you need to make something. Drawing and painting aren't instant they take place over time , the object may be still, but each addition or subtraction adds to the final piece, slowly.

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