PWI Week 2 with Ran

Ran Jing has completed her second week of intensive classes with the Portfolio Workshop International (PWI).  She will be studying with us for 4 weeks in total and has generously agreed to share her drawings and her thoughts here on our blog.
"This week, we repeated some exercises from week one, for example, gesture, blind contour and mass study. Also, I was introduced to some new exercises, such as shape study and alignment lines. As I started these new exercises, I found them a bit confusing.  I wondered 'what are all these exercises for?'   Then, when we started to do longer poses, such as twenty minutes, I was asked to apply all that I had learned so far into one drawing. Everything started coming together: when doing one drawing. I payed attention to gesture, form, alignment lines, etc.  My main goal now is to do a complete drawing without losing the gesture of it." - Ran Jing
DAY 7 "The importance of clearly drawing the front, side, top and bottom surface planes of masses cannot be underestimated.  The illusion of space on a two –dimensional surface cannot be achieved when depicting volumes without constant reference to these planes throughout the duration of the drawing."  -  Gerard Sternik DAY 8 “Big to small, big to small…' order your preference for selecting what to draw and when to draw it, around this principle."  -  Gerard Sternik APW Instructor Jose Rivas reviews Ran's drawings. DAY 9 "Gesture drawing is not a “style” of drawing; it is an approach to feeling the inherent unceasing motion that constitutes mass."  -  Gerard Sternik DAY 10 "What should I not do with anatomy? This is a good question to ask when you’re at the stage of trying to realize what the connection is between all of the volume/shape exercises you’ve been studying and the use of “artistic anatomy.” I have told Ran that the bones are the underpinning, the structural support of the human body. The bones are all shapes and volumes.  The muscles move the bones, and therefore attach to specific places on the bones to move them.  The muscles are also volumes/shapes that move around, over and in between all of the bones…never forget this when you draw a figure.  When the muscles move the bones they change shape.  Gesture is manifest continuously in every aspect of the human body because from the time we “appear” until the time that we “disappear”, our whole body is always doing something, even when we appear physically still. Think of anatomy as providing you with a map that helps to place you on a complex landscape, the landscape in this case being the human body. Naming , categorizing and labeling the body for the purposes of study is meant to provide you with  a kind of geographical language that highlights various points of interest that will assist you in understanding how the body functions, and in some cases even how it looks. What not to do with anatomy: to make the mistake of believing that the map of the human body can take the place of your direct firsthand experience of the human body itself when you draw…in other words, replacing your fresh  experience of the human body with drawings of your knowledge of the human body.   Always be willing to chuck the whole business, to pursue a new and unknown avenue of study, if you are lucky enough to have one avail itself to you in your daily practice." Courage, Ran.  -  Gerard Sternik DAY 11 "Ran’s question today was 'how do I know what to select when I draw'? We have been emphasizing the principle of making good choices as being an integral component to the process of making good drawings.  My answer to Ran's question was quite simple. If you apply the basic principles that you have learned with us (constant awareness of the gesture, sensitivity to the volumes, use of shape and understanding of mass, etc.) to every drawing situation that you encounter, you will have an approach that works when it comes to knowing what to select and what to leave out when you draw. In truth, a principle is only “worth its salt”, if it can be applied indiscriminately to any given situation and still be relevant.  If the principle works in all scenarios, then we teach it. Through understanding the value of the drawing principles that artists of previous generations have laboured to create and applying these principles to our everyday art making lives in the present, we can achieve a higher level of success in our work."  -  Gerard Sternik  

Portfolio Workshop International combines daily life drawing sessions with assignments for the student to do on their own.  Ran has been asked to do specific homework covering areas like drawing the bones of the skeleton, identifying major muscle masses and also animal drawing at the ROM.   Here are a few examples of Ran's homework from her sketchbook.

      Click here for Week 1 Back to Ran's PWI progress Home