I worked today on developing the second pass of this 3′ x 4′ study. I’m still troubleshooting how to work with the exacto knife and lithographic crayon on this scale, which still feels a little awkward right now. The scale is large enough that I really can’t see the entire image when I’m up close working on the drawing. I have to force myself to step back every 5-10 minutes because otherwise I quickly lose track of the entire composition. Another challenge is using the exacto knife at this scale: I’m finding that I have to be extremely assertive with the marks, or the marks just get lost in the composition.
Later today, I was driving home from work mulling over this idea of creating these 3′ x 4′ portraits. I kept trying to convince myself that this size would work, but the more I thought about my experience drawing in the studio today the more I started to realize that this scale isn’t very conducive to the kind of work I’m doing with the exacto knife and lithographic crayon. I also think that I lost a lot of the immediacy and gesture which is more present in the smaller studies. I think I wanted to make these drawings large so they would have more of a presence; but if that’s the only reason, in my opinion that’s not good enough.
One aspect of the human figure that is intriguing to me is how the scale of a human figure can be critical to how a work is received. A figure smaller than life size has a completely different meaning than a figure that is larger than life size. I’m now thinking that life size figures are the way to go; if this project is indeed about portraying the reality of this experience, perhaps life size images would allow the viewer to enter this experience more easily. Interestingly enough, all of my figures in my projects over the past few years have been smaller than life size, so life size would be new territory for me.
My latest thought is to create an installation of these portraits so that they completely fill the wall almost as if each portrait was a mosaic in a larger design.