Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Drawing from collage and direct observation

Working with drawing in two spaces at the moment - in the studio room on stage two of a triptych based on the collages in the previous post and around the apartment direct observation of flowers and bones.  The drawing from the collage is the 'skeleton' or 'scaffolding' of the 'architecture' or 'anatomy' of the painting in which I can carefully work out scale and proportion and create a composition based on relationships between the shapes of negative spaces and positive forms that will be the underlying structure of the final work. 

In another part of my apartment I am continuing to work on an series of large drawing of flowers as they 'respire' and go through the process of growth and decay. Interestingly the skeletal anatomical drawings I started at the Ruskin School in Oxford during the art and anatomy workshop there have inspired me to continue with this subject. I bought a skeleton produced by '3B Scientific' from the medical shop 'Brasseur' on Rue du Midi in Brussels and am setting this up in various positions and drawing from direct observation.  As I have been doing this it seemed natural to explore the relationship between human and plant forms, bones and flowers and I will continue with this interlocking and overlapping of forms in layers of drawing and thin washes of acrylic paint and see where it takes me.

The study of flowers or plant morphology and the skeleton in human anatomy whist having a long and respectable scientific history (I remember my brother when he was training to be a doctor bringing home half of a human skeleton and doing dissection in his first year at Leeds as part of his medical training) has an even older and longer tradition in both East and West as a meditation on the human condition, the brevity of life and impermanence. The forms of flowers and bones are no less beautiful for this indeed they are perhaps a contemplation on both what is beautiful and true in the whole existential cycle of life and death.  The offering of flowers to a Buddha 'rupa' or image  during a 'puja' is often accompanied with this reflection. 

I worship the Buddha with these flowers;
May this virtue be helpful for my emancipation;
Just as these flowers fade,
Our body will undergo decay.
Pujemi Buddham kusumenanena
Puññenametena ca hotu mokkham
Puppham milāyāti yathā idam me
Kāyo tathā yāti vinā

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