Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Immediate Touch" Class at SLAM, #4

This week, unlike last, I was eager -- perhaps even over-eager -- for this particular class at the St. Louis Art Museum. The topic was "Anselm Kiefer, architecture and landscape," based on several pieces in "The Immediate Touch" exhibition. This was to have been our second class but the syllabus had to be re-arranged due to rain. So, I had been mentally preparing for this class for several weeks, and had done an experimental piece before the second class. In preparation for this class, I had gotten a book on architectural drawing from the library and had done a few of the exercises before going to work on the day of the class.

The basic assignment was to go outside of the museum and make an architectural drawing, which would next be transferred to a sheet of watercolor paper. Next, the tracing would be inked over with India ink. Then, the sheet would be gotten wet and watercolor would be applied. (Also, students were to do a drawing of an object using "crosshatching to show tone and structure." This drawing was also to be traced onto the watercolor paper and inked when the paper was wet. My particular drawing was very poor and, so, isn't appearing here! The effect of India ink on wet paper was very cool, however.)

I spent the better part of an hour doing fairly detailed architectural drawings of the original rear entrance of the St. Louis Art Museum. Twice, I realized that I was far to close and needed to render a view of the building from much further away to approximate the Kiefer drawings we were supposed to be emulating. I also realized that I wouldn't have time to trace and ink a very complicated drawing so I quickly made a sketch that I felt captured the spirit of the building. (And even more quickly made a sketch of a sculpture.)

Back in the classroom, I thought I knew how to get the same effect with watercolor that Kiefer had gotten but, sadly, my attempt fell far short. However, I intend to re-visit this drawing!

Self-grade: B- (The instructions for this exercise clearly stated "Don't forget to look at Anslem Kiefer's watercolors" in the exhibit but I thought that I had studied them enough. I was wrong!)

Because I couldn't stand to waste some perfectly good India ink, I decided to grab a brush and apply ink to my original architectural sketch, which I had placed in the watercolor drippings from my first drawing. I've gotta say that I'm happier with the second drawing. [Full disclosure here: I did edit out an element in the original drawing with Photoshop. The irony of having done this to a drawing that bears the slogan "Art Has Truth" is not lost....]

UPDATE: Today -- Tuesday, August 11 -- I added some gouache to the drawing. It still doesn't look much like Kiefer's watercolors but I like it.

I also added some gouache to the drawing of the sculpture that I made but didn't post. I like it quite a bit more.


Anonymous said...

I like the building doing cartwheels.

Confluence City said...

This is cool. Blogs are perfect for this sort of thing. Blogs have truth, take refuge here (to complete the phrase on the back of the museum).

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

I stopped in to visit. I love any kind of documentation of the artistic process! Well done.