Monday, October 26, 2009

Bigger not better (in this case)

(Matisse, 1950, drawing for the Vence chapel)

I’m attempting my first mega-size drawings (4 feet by 5 feet). Blimey! One problem is not having a sense of the whole page as you’re working, an understanding of where you’re at, how one form relates to another. Instead, you have to kind of enter the page. Or in my case, get swallowed up by it. A friend told me, “you have to put your whole body into it.” Indeed the experience is physical. There’s simply no way to have your thinking mind dominate. This has both its advantages and disadvantages.

Any tips welcome. I already have a step ladder.

When Matisse was ill, he concocted a long bamboo pole-cum-pencil so that he could draw from his bed. I just love the distance from the page and the lightness of touch this tool offered.


Lady Xoc said...

Molly, where are you getting your paper, and how do you plan to hang the finished work? I did large, very detailed graphite & conté drawings 20 years ago by hanging a roll of paper and stapling a chunk of it it to the wall. Because they were never sold, I have to keep them rolled up in the far reaches of my storage space. Mounting & framing costs are beyond my ability to pay. Although one (40" wide) hung in a museum for a summer just tacked to the wall with a sheet of plexiglass on stand-offs in front of it. Plexi is only 48" wide, so my 55" dwgs (Canson paper) would be outa luck.

More recently, I did a bunch of sketchy acrylic drawings on tiled sheets. They measure 66" X 55" in total. They store easily, but not sure how to present them.

I once saw a large drawing at the Armory show that had been mounted to canvas and then stretched. But this was a trust-fund artist with a big gallery behind him.

I know this is probably no help, and opens up cans o'worms, but I'm interested in any solutions you come up with.

Molly Stevens said...

Thanks for writing, Lady Xoc.

I like those bird drawings, by the way. Have you ever seen Hiro's photographs of fighting cocks?

Right now I'm working with a roll of paper (about 4ft wide), and I already have a stack of rolls accumulating. Not good. I've been photographing them upon completion, just to avoid unrolling them over and over again. And there's already a stack in the garbage.

I hear New York Central Art Supply has the largest sheet you can buy, and it's apparently not so bad price-wise. I'll report back, because I plan to get a few sheets.

For drawing, I've been clamping the paper onto a sheet of insulation (like a foam board). I imagine either tacking them up for a show (maybe Donkey Trail), or asking my Marc to devise a mounting system.

These are all reasons to draw small, of course. Plus,I think your normal person can only hang small.

Lady Xoc said...

Yes, but big drawing feels so good to do. You can always take a stick and go to the beach at low tide when the surface is smooth and hard. Then the whole issue of display and storage is moot.

I was recently asked to prepare some 6" square works for a benefit exhibition. And because I have trouble working small, I made a large picture and cut it up into pieces of the required size. I may try this again.