I’ve noticed that while large paintings are fairly common, large drawings are less so. I wonder why? Sketch group after sketch group I see the majority of artists drawing on 11 x 14 inch paper or smaller. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! People should work in the scale with which they are most comfortable. But I think that artists who tackle large scale drawings display a kind of “just go for it” fearlessness, and their generous longer lines appear freer, bolder, more uninhibited. Maybe there is truth to the phrase “size matters”. Wait, are we talking about drawing? 😉 😉 Sorry.
Rose is a student in Nicki Orbach’s class at the National Academy. I posed there a few days ago and she was working on big sheets of paper, mounted to a board, secured on an easel. With charcoal in hand, Rose just went for it, rapidly laying down broad sweeping lines imbued completely with the model’s movement and gesture.
This sketch was only a ten minute pose. I was sitting backwards on a small wooden folding chair, arms propped on the back, shoulders arched and tense, my hips practically falling off the seat edge, with one leg crossed under the other and shifted to the side. If that pose description sounds awkward that’s because it was! But for a brief ten minutes it was dramatic, curvy, and expressive – well worth the seat slat cutting into my thigh. Rose’s sketch is approximately 25 x 30 and she used the entire paper right up to the edges. Also, notice that she didn’t use a clean sheet. Instead, she worked right over a previous quick pose, so you can see parts of me reclining underneath. If you’re going to use expensive large paper, better not waste it!
The master of large drawing is my dear friend Fred Hatt. But Rose’s 25 x 30 is nothing to him! Fred draws so big he works on the floor on huge sheets of black paper. One of my favorites of Fred’s large pieces is this one titled Sky.