The skill of drawing is very important in the local art society because people still like things they recognise, figurative art based on real objects, people or scenes.
“If you don’t know how to draw figures and you attempt to do it, it looks odd – things are not jointed properly, you don’t know how to draw hands or feet and have to hide the hands because you don’t know how to draw fingers. That’s why we’re training how to draw all these things,” explained artist Wendy Nanan.
She said all artists should be able to draw the human figure as it taught many disciplines including perspective, proportion, mass, volume, use of contour, light, shadow, and form. She added drawing the human figure in the nude was better to observe the lines and muscles of the human body. She described it as a “good back-to-basics of craft” that could be applied to drawing sculptures, making diagrams, landscape painting, and any other artwork.
Nanan shows these drawing skills in her exhibition Nanan Draws which will be on display at the Medulla Art Gallery in Woodbrook until April 28.
All the sketches in the exhibit are selections from three years of drawing sessions with the TT Art Society and Medulla Art Gallery. She said both organisations usually hosted these sessions once a month – sometimes more, sometime less – and she was pleasantly surprised that several people visited repeatedly resulting in an improved skill level.
“When you come into the session and draw, you switch off everything and concentrate on you and that piece of paper. Whether it is nudes or still life, we have found people committed to the skill of drawing.”
She said the sketches were usually done quickly, taking anywhere from one to 25 minutes with not much time for details. She said it was about trying to get people to stop thinking about how things looked and, instead, get the hand to work fast.
Nanan’s medium is typically sculptures, but she also enjoys painting and etchings. This is her first drawing exhibition and, in it, she used brushes with paint or ink, pencils, pastels, and crayons. “I just had so much work from the sessions that I wanted people to see them.”
She said she included some of the one-minute sketches, those without any embellishments or much detail, to the exhibition because she wanted people to realise that simplicity could be just as good, beautiful and important as the complicated.
She added that, after the original figures were sketched, she often made up stories to go with the figures and created backgrounds for them while not interfering with the figure itself.