Drawing is a performance –
It is one time then and there
Of the moment
As an act of creation is.
charcoal gesture drawing
Charcoal is a medium I’ve used for years, but never with such abandon until recently. I draw with willow and vine as well as compressed charcoals in stick and pencil form. Last year I picked up compressed chunky charcoal measuring 3” by 5/8”. That’s when the fun started.
from left, 4 chunky charcoals, willow charcoal, vine charcoal
All of the charcoals have varied tonal ranges, allow for a variety of line, and feel like an extension of my arm. This is especially true of the chunky charcoal which, because of its size, insists on grand sweeping gesture. I find myself drawing with my whole body. It feels like a dance when I draw this way.
Using various sides of the chunky charcoal, I make marks that express the movement or gesture of the subject I am drawing. Gesture drawings are done quickly without attention to detail. Precision is not the nature of gesture drawing. Capturing movement is.
Many finished drawings start as gesture drawings. The two charcoal drawings in my last blog ( Aimless Love, The Wideness and Wonder of The World) each began as a gesture drawing.
gesture drawings with restatements
Leaving a track of the act of drawing is a story in itself; the stops, starts, and restatements (draw overs) add energy to a drawing. Whether musical or otherwise, performance is one time, then and there, of the moment*. So begin your performance: find a subject, some chunky charcoal, and make your mark.
The epiphany of the everyday: chunky charcoal.
All drawings: © Constance Anderson