Sunday, 3 March 2013

Focus: The Elusive Piece of the Puzzle.

Michael Whynot. Figure Study, 2013. Red Chalk.
Michael Whynot. Figure Study, 2013. Red Chalk.

Michael Whynot. Figure Study, 2013. Red Chalk.

Michael Whynot. Figure Study, 2013. Red Chalk.


During this morning's life drawing session, I began wondering to what extent focus plays in good drawing.

For our purpose, The Free Dictionary defines focus as:
4. Close or narrow attention; concentration.
5. A condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived.
Put simply, the process of bringing our attention to bear upon the subject, to the exclusion of all outside distractions; drawing in the zone (to use a sports analogy). That state of mind in which time slows down and hours can disappear down the rabbit hole of focused concentration.

Once we, as draftsmen, have all the necessary tools in place: the ability to describe form with line and tone; an understanding of gesture and anatomy; an eye trained to measure proportion comparatively, then success or failure rests, ultimately, upon the ability to focus our attention upon the subject.

During last week's session, I lacked focus - I struggled with gesture and proportion; I could not visualize the pose, even though I was staring at it. This week I was able to attain focus; I could have closed my eyes and still seen the form - and my drawings were better for it.

Concentration, focus is elusive. I am uncertain what conditions inhibit or nurture it, but I am certain that, whatever the conditions may be, that they reside within me. The obstacles to good drawing are mental, not physical.

At the end of the day, good drawing demands that the artist be present.