New York Part Two

September 30, 2016
Categories: Process, Travel

This is my diary of the Drawing Marathon at New York Studio School.

September 5, 2016: Let the art begin! Drawing Marathon at New York Studio School starts tomorrow. I spent the first two days in New York with long walks combining sites and art supply stores – Times Square and Blick Art Materials, check! And I’m already in love with the city. Got all my materials ready now and I’m curious about the course. It’s my first drawing course and I’m very unsure about my abilities. But as we all know, comfort zones are there to be stretched!

September 6, 2016: Day one. Intense, challenging and lots of fun! Magical wisdom by Graham Nickson, dean of New York Studio School who directs the course: “It seems as if there is a swan in the drawing without the swan really being there.” He makes me think of a wise artist and mentor that jumped right out of a fairy tale. He is the Gandalf of art.

September 7, 2016: Day two. Critiquing. Important lesson: An 8-hour-day of drawing is long but nevertheless enriching. And although the following 2-hour-critique might be long and sweaty and exhausting, it’s also amazing how much you learn in a short period of time. Also another big thing: the negative space that is created by the intersections of figures and forms (such as the background) is just as important as the things you draw.

September 8, 2016: Day three. An exercise about using only 15 marks to create a drawing. First only with charcoal, then erasing and adding marks with white acrylic paint. Hard decisions and a very slow and deliberate pace of working … new and interesting! Next lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to go for it while keeping it simplistic.

September 9, 2016: Day four. Swords and headbands. We are all working on two huge collaborative drawings for which we draw one or two individual pieces. At the end of the day we assembled them together on a wall. The size of the final drawing “puzzle” was probably 3 x 5 meters.


More below

September 10, 2016: Day five. Assembly time! Such a great experience and lots of fun to work together, get all charcoaled up and trying to merge our different styles. New lesson learned: Different drawing languages within one piece of work are a strength, not a weakness. That’s why diversity is such a great thing.

September 12 and 13, 2016: Day six and seven. Composition for a big individual drawing. Five models on a draped platform, some of them holding wooden sticks … it’s really hard to quickly find a composition that works and only work on pieces of the final big image without seeing the whole piece until assembly (just like our battle scene that I described above).

September 14, 2016: Day eight. Huge drawing completed and assembled! I was incredibly nervous about how it would look on the wall. I wasn’t sure if all body parts would line up and was preparing my “I’m a beginner and … I’m actually a translator” speech because I feared the feedback of Dean Nickson. I couldn’t have been more wrong about my fears. The feedback was great and it was such an uplifting experience. What are the chances that the girl from this sleepy mountain town would discuss drawing with a well-known artist and teacher in New York one day. That’s how dreams come true.

September 15, 2016: Day nine. Der Vorleser without book and a girl with a tiny arm. It’s not that often that a foot, a hand and a head are so close together. Anatomically completely incorrect, but I liked working on this a lot.

September 16, 2016: Day ten. Last day of the Drawing Marathon! We merged two drawings with different guidelines into one. On the left side we mainly concentrated on the background and negative spaces, on the right we only focused on the figure.

The finished drawing, a calm and somewhat distant guy surrounded by total chaos. For me this was a surreal and theatrical scene, with the artwork on the back wall forming a backdrop for the male model who seemed so detached from all the frantically drawing people and the random chairs and pieces of cloth in different colors. The perfect messy crescendo to ten days of bliss and beauty and blackness.

And that was it. I concluded my stay with travelling to the breath-taking nature of Upstate New York to visit Pippa and Arthur who had helped to make this stay possible. Marita and Yale who have a country house Upstate took me with them by car. The contrast between celebrating the last day of class in bars in Greenwich Village and their peaceful country home couldn’t have been bigger. Later that day I went to a picknick event, complete with gazebo and country band. Only to head back to New York City in the evening, riding the train along the Hudson River that ever so slowly faded into darkness.