Sunday, January 15, 2017

Exercising to Stay In Shape and Improve

Most everyone knows that the best way to stay fit is to exercise. I know it, and I also know that I hate doing it. Exercise for the sake of exercise is incredibly boring and even tedious to me. Fortunately I enjoy working so I do not need to exercise so much; I also love dancing, and as long as I make sure to get on the dance floor a few times a month, I get enough aerobic exercise that I do not need to do push-ups and jumping-jacks. I have recently realised that my attitude to the exercises of carving and drawing, though, are much like my attitude towards physical exercise. To me it has always seemed pointless to just carve or draw with no apparent purpose (as in, not producing something). I also have realised that, metaphorically speaking with regards to carving, I am very flabby, and need lots of exercise.

I have always liked drawing with a Biro, I usually use black ink but this
blue ink looked nice on Manila paper.

When I was working on the drawings for my moulding project, I realised that even though I know the general look and feel of Rococo design, I am very illiterate in the language of this style. The artists who developed this new art of the 18th century were constantly surrounded by the types of ornament which led up to it, and were surrounded with these elements every day. They also worked in shops in which they were employed doing carving or plaster work on a daily basis and thus were very adept in this type of work. I, on the other hand, grew up in a world where most people almost never even see anything carved let alone are fluent in the language of a particular period of artistic taste. Because of my lack of fluency, if I want to design something I have to pour over books looking for pictures of things that looks similar to what I wish to make and then try to adapt them as best I can. I get very frustrated at my inability to transform from my imagination to physical reality in this style.

When I was making this hanging shelf I really struggled with the design for the
carving; in the end I just fudged it as best as I could. It works for anyone
who is not intimately acquainted with 18th century art, but it would not fool
any serious art historian. (good thing I was not trying to)

It has recently occurred to me that one of the ways I can improve my abilities in this regard is by the simple act of exercises. In drawing classes one of the biggest obstacles which students must overcome is the inability to let the eye observe what is actually there instead of letting the mind dictate what it thinks it sees. The best way to overcome this problem is to keep drawing things and forcing the eye and hand to focus on the details. This is useful when it comes to carving as well, I see a leaf, a flower, or a "c-scroll" and think I know what it is, but since I am not fluent in the language my end results are very much like a person learning to speak another language; no matter how much thought he puts into what he says, and tries to remember what he has learned, he will still sound like a foreigner learning to speak another language. The only way to become fluent is with lots of practice - Exercise.

A lack of proficiency and rustiness in the field of drawing means that I need
lots of exercise 
I do not like New Year resolutions and thus never make any, but perhaps an
unofficial one this year is to spend more time drawing and practicing.
After all, I call myself an artist.

I have been doing a bit of exercise this week with the aim of more careful observation of the elements of 18th century French design, because I would like to be able to 'speak' more eloquently in the art, and realise that my best efforts are currently not much better than "Me Tarzan, you Jane". I have come across a couple of artists over the past year (Patrick Damiaens and Alexander Grabovetskiy) whose carved works puts me to shame; it also gives me inspiration to try to improve my abilities and therefore I must get into the 'gym' and get busy doing some exercising.

Doing these drawings actually helps in two ways, I learn to observe the details of design better and I practice my draughting skills at the same time; the more beneficial exercise is, the less tedious it can seem. I know this is no masterpiece, and will never hang in a museum, but one can still feel good about his work if he has put honest effort into it and works with the aim of always improving; never being happy with remaining the same. Sometimes it is difficult to get better at doing something, but anyone who does not wish to do the work required to improve himself certainly will not.

One of the best ways to keep at an exercise program is to be able to see
results. It feels good, and gives one something to feel good about.

Happy New Year