Reflection on Charcoal Drawing

By Bianca Polak

3 October 2006



Making the charcoal drawing to express the movement of the lifeless legs of the puppet and the frizzy cane twirled around it was really interesting and enjoyable. First of all I have always loved working with charcoal, as it is a very sketchy kind of drawing and once the line is on the paper itís there, whether you like it or not, it cannot be erased. That allows accidental lines to get a shape on the paper. Another aspect that was interesting was that we moved around the room to get the shape from different angles.

Expressing movement was not as easy as it seemed, as naturally I look at the form of the object and not directly at the movement that is visual in the object. I feel that I could have expressed the movement differently; I have still focused too much on the form, even though I tried real hard not to concentrate on that aspect.

A new element during this lesson was that we had background music during the drawing exercise. As I had put my music player on my laptop to random selection of songs, we had a variety of songs and music styles and probably some were not exactly suitable to the exercise we were doing. I wasnít quite concentrating on the music though, to me it was really in the background, as I was absorbed in the drawing itself.

While Iím writing this reflection Iím listening to a composition by Philip Glass, titled ďMad rushĒ, a piano solo. Itís a 15 minute music piece that is calming and active at the same time and it has a lot of movement in it. Earlier I was listening to some rock music in the background and when I started writing I felt like putting up something more calming, and selected this music. Only while Iím writing this is suddenly realised that itís ironically suitable. Iím in a mad rush to write down my reflection (that has been shaping in my head slowly during the past few days) and as usual Iím leaving it to the last moment to write it down.

The two chapters of ďWhat is art for?Ē of Ellen Dissanayake highlighted some aspects of art that I have been aware of earlier, but more in subconscious manner. The first thing that struck me in the articles was the therapeutic value of art. I feel this is really true; somehow creating something, in whatever art form is a very therapeutic way of expression. It also comes back to a question that I was asking myself in one of my previous reflections, whether highly creative people are having some mental disorder. Itís not directly related, but if the highly creative people would be unable to express themselves creatively (whether in art form or by coming up with brilliant new proof for a maths formula) they would probably not be able to function at all anymore. So for them expressing their creativity is a form of therapy. But also for people who have had a very traumatic experience, their outlet to express their feelings is often through art. But also on a smaller scale, frustrations, set-backs can be expressed through art.

The other chapter that talks about play and rituals and ďmaking specialĒ is an interesting way of looking at art. I love looking at others performing rituals, but I will not easily take part in them myself. Itís probably my individualistic nature that I would question what the ritual is for, what meaning it has and why it is performed in that manner, before agreeing to take part in it. Also I always looked at art as being individualistic in nature, the artist being different from the norm, questioning beliefs held by the general public.