For the Love of Schiele

This is typical me. I decide I need to go deeper on a subject, and then I take a big tangent – go off-topic and get a bit lost there… For the sake of some drawing exercises, I copied a drawing by Egon Schiele. I had first been confronted by Schiele’s work as a schoolgirl on a trip to an art gallery – it was rather shocking, but I was seduced by the beautiful, elegant and bold line work, even though I was worried other people would see me looking at the ‘rude’ renderings!

Copying his work, as I’ve been doing over the last week, has reminded me how much I love drawing. There is a deep satisfaction in capturing form on paper. He clearly understood and had studied lots of human ‘forms’! Yet I have always struggled with life-drawing. Classes I attended focussed too much on measuring and technical details – this just stymies me, bores me, tightens up my work and makes it lifeless. I don’t know – perhaps I’m not too worried about accuracy if the figure makes sense? If the lines are beautiful? Perhaps I’m justifying this because I’m too lazy to work through the challenge. At any rate, copying Schiele’s images didn’t require any measuring – they’re already rendered in 2D!

It’s clear I already been influenced by him – it’s why lots of my work has heavy lines and borders on ‘graphic art’ (whatever that means). But I love line and maybe I should just own it!

I need to move on with my work, so am sharing pictures of my copies here, as a marker and a reminder of what I’ve loved and learned from studying Schiele’s drawings.

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Artist, poet, druid, Faversham-dweller.

4 thoughts on “For the Love of Schiele

  1. I’m interested in how you experience the emotions of these people as you draw them? Do you interact with the emotions, or does the copying process, the focus on paint and line and style, the already 2D-ness, remove this element largely?

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    1. Here, for me, it’s mostly about the linework rather than connecting with the subjects. I guess that was his job! This is more an exercise in learning and appreciating his style, and trying to replicate some of the look of the materials (only with rubbish paper and the wrong paints!).
      I feel excited about being able to fairly easily achieve the shapes (well quite close to) he did – but he did all the hard work in copying them from life. It’s been a very enjoyable process. It’s reminded me of how fundamental drawing is to my practice and how if I paint, the line must somehow shine through…

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    1. Thanks Sharon. Yes, I’m spending some time immersing myself in drawing. I’m studying one of my favourite animals – deer – but that I haven’t managed to draw all that well – they are tricky with their slender legs and faces that are all too easy to make look like sheep or goats rather than deer….! I figure the more confident I get, the bolder my line work can become.

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