On Sunday 28th September, we looked at Picasso’s cubist portraits and translated Barrie in to drawing with knives into card, rubbed over with graphite, then in woodless coloured pencils.
In Picasso’s words, written down by Francoise Gilot:
The problem is, how can I shake up that first proposition? How can I, without destroying it completely, make it more subversive? How can I make it unique – not simply new, but stripped down and lacerating? You see for me a painting is a dramatic action in the course of which reality finds itself split apart. For me, that dramatic action takes precedence over all other considerations. The pure plastic act is only secondary as far as I’m concerned. What counts is the drama of that plastic act, the moment at which the universe comes out of itself and meets its own destruction.
Picasso believed that, in order to subvert, destroy and renew art, you had to use the human figure – Francis Bacon thought the same. But you can be equally radical by taking known things like squares, triangles or circles (conceptually fixed in our common minds) and putting them under pressures to subvert them, as it were. You need to start with a known, if you want to make people think in a way they’ve not thought before.
Everything interesting in [a piece of] art happens right at the start. Once past the beginning you’re already at the end … Matisse does a drawing, then he recopies it. He recopies it five time, each time with cleaner lines. he is persuaded that he last one, the most spare, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and yet, usually it’s the first. When it comes to drawing, nothing is better than the first sketch.
Emma, Mandy and Eileen made these inventive and very successful pieces, first quickly in graphite:
then in a more sustained way in three colours, reinforced with graphite: