Based in Cardiff studying Fine Art at the Metropolitan University. Originally from East Sussex.
The career goal is Art Therapy with adults who suffer from PTSD and other mental issues which affect so many of us on a daily basis.
Friday’s have allocated life drawing session organised by my tutors. This week was the final week and as the Wednesday taught classes are no longer on I decided to attend this class. I was the only student to attend the class and with no tutor to help me choose the poses and gesture to work with. This was quite daunting at first because I wasn’t sure where to start and what army of poses to ask the model to perform. Barry, the model, I’ve worked with before was so we worked very well together. Barry was great because he helped me with the different gestures as he understood I hadn’t led one before and so was very patient and understanding.
I really enjoyed this class because I was able to produce a range of drawings of different poses which were my ideas. I was able to personalise the class and dictate the different gestures and the timings of each one. I prefer short poses because I have to work quickly and so the marks hold so much more movement than longer poses where I take more time to produce the piece.
After my tutorial I was given Morgan O’Hara as an artist to look into. She responds to human activity through her drawing, if a person moves aggressively, the line will simultaneously be aggressive. The lines also following the direction of the activity.
I decided to take this idea but work with it using classical music. Classical music is so beneficial and along with scientific research is helps whilst studying. I isolated myself so I could only heard the music and using both hands, placed ink on paper and allowed my hands to freely respond to the music. I participated in an activity similar to this during my art foundation year and found it quite useful for my drawing. I found this exercise quite freeing and thoroughly enjoyed it because it allowed me to just focus on the music and how it made me feel.
On 29th November I visited two dance classes at Rubicon Dance School in Cardiff where I sat in a Ballet class and an Improvisation class. The classes involved the students carrying out tasks requested by their tutor which they performed to music. I really enjoyed this class because the students performed a range of different gestures and poses for me to draw. The class was not put on for me so these movements were genuine for their assessments and regular routines. I found it was quite challenging to draw in this situation because the gestures were only a split second so I needed to trust myself with my mark making. The seated poses gave me a little more time to get the outline of the pose because they were usually from the warm up or were slow movements whereas, the standing and jumping poses were so fast. I found by drawing the angle of the movement with a straight line which runs through the centre of the body was the easiest way to record the movement before going back when I had more time to draw it. I started with pencil but quickly moved to using inked pens because they were easier to work with in this situation and allowed me to start incorporating colour.
The reason for participating in this activity was to broaden my portfolio of human body drawing and to start looking at movement after life drawing. The muscles tense and the body moves in different ways in dynamic movements and so I wanted to explore this to help strengthen my knowledge and understanding of bodily movements.
Nina Williams, 2019, Rubicon Dance School
I have asked to return to the studio to sit in more classes so I can record more poses.
When talking to my tutor, we discussed a way of drawing whereby I would use both hands to create pieces of art. By doing this, I am able to create my freedom in my art because I am not necessarily worrying about the image produced itself but focusing on that which I am responding to or interrupting.
Morgan O’Hara is a contemporary artist who uses both hands in her art. By using both hands she is able to create fluidity and movement in her work and able to create interesting shapes and lines. Born in LA in 1941, O’Hara grew up living in Japan but travelled back to the US where she gained her Master Degree in Art at the California State University.
Not only does O’Hara do this but, she also has created work using words. Quoting the artists, “My main practice is drawing, and writing and drawing are not so far from each other”. I believe this to be true because they are both forms of creativity which use the hands whereby the brain is directing your pen or pencil on the paper to form shapes and patterns. When writing, words are just recognised shapes which we associate with language. One of O’Hara’s most known written pieces was when she decided to rewrite the US constitution and declaration of independence when Donald Trump came to power. Trump gave his address to the public on January 20th 2017, the day of his inauguration into power. O’Hara placed herself in the Rose Reading Room at the New York Public Library where she sat surrounded by pens and pencils with the hope that others around her would join in in the activity and “reflect on the words of the constitution”. Quoting O’Hara:
“hand copying a document can produce an intimate connection to text and its meaning”.
I think she is onto something with this statement because you are really focusing on the words when reading them to be copied onto the page. When reading the text in order to copy, your brain begins to interpret it and starts to think of different ways it could be reworded. Copying the text does not require you to reword it but your brain automatically does this.
Patrons of the library and family and friends of O’Hara began to join in with her and her activity throughout the day. The reasoning behind this piece was “a way to remind the public of the bedrock of our democracy at a time where political unrest is at a high”, which is fascinating because it brings the constitution into light and makes people think about the foundations of their rights. When looking at political it is a useful tool to look back at the first laws put in place in the constitution because they were written for a reason and are still valid in today’s politics.
Throughout the past few years I have been fascinated by hands because the different gestures tell different stories.. I wanted to go back to drawing hands because they were fascinating and challenging to draw. Hands are used as a nonverbal communication especially for deaf and those who are speech impaired. Not only this, hand gestures are used in everyday life including defending yourself, explaining a point or welcoming someone into a situation. I guess you don’t realise how often you use your hands and how much you rely on them in everyday living. I decided to drawing my own hand at a slight crumpled angle because it is a very relaxed pose and yet it still shows contours and lines in the hand. I thought it was a good gesture to start with as I haven’t drawn hands for a while. It is still quite a hard image to work with but still a good way to start.
I wanted to continue exploring the way Alison Lambert works by fixing different torn pieces of paper together. After the first drawing where I used masting tape to hold the pieces of paper together, I decided to try a different approach and used PVA glue to hold the paper together. I started with just a small pieces of ripped paper and adding pieces as I added to the drawing. I have never worked this way but found it really worked as I was focusing on one part of the drawing at a time. I am fascinated by the way the image is starting to come together by adding paper into it and completing the drawing.
I did struggle with parts of drawing so the work has taken longer than I thought. Having not drawn hands for a while it took a lot of time to get the proportions right. I will be continuing the work with the willow and compressed charcoal.
After my formative assessment and a discussion with my tutor, I decided to broaden my horizons and start to work big. I am so inspired by the way Alison Lamber works in such a big scale to create overpowering, impactful pieces and I wanted to start doing this in my own work. I started with two long pieces of wall lining paper taped together although, I knew I was going to need to add pieces because the two were not wider enough for the drawing. I decided not to start with three pieces of paper together because I felt the straightness of the edges would make the work too flat and linear.
Nina Williams, 2019, first large scale drawing, stage 1
Nina Williams, 2019, first large scale drawing, stage 2
The second stage of this piece was to begin incorporating the compressed charcoal with the willow charcoal and paper to form a deeper, richer image. I love working with the compressed charcoal because it allows you to create an extreme darkness to the work. This darkness is not necessarily form a dark atmosphere to the work however, it does produce an intensity and a sense of empowerment. Straight away the charcoal changed the image by enhancing the contours and enriching the work which has totally changed the feeling of the work.
I decided to stop this drawing at this stage because I felt stuck and wasn’t sure whether to continue it so decided to stop it here. I could continue the drawing but feel as a exploration piece it is usable as it is.