Teaching Talia

Expressive Drawing

Posted on: March 28, 2010

Artists sometimes choose to present a subjective viewpoint but in some cases they also express emotions in a way which is generic.

One of the greatest artists for finding these archetypes in human expression is Henri Matisse.

The Pose, Your Pose

It is worth making a mental note of the sort of posture you think the artist had when making a drawing .

A highly significant element in conveying expression is the circumstances under which the drawing is made. Whether the drawing is made at a specific moment when a particular emotion is felt or whether on reflection and contemplation of that emotion then the drawing is made at a later time, can have quite a bearing on the way in which the drawing is received.

Emotion does not necessarily need to be expressed directly through the figure. We can understand emotions and feelings by looking at virtually any object or anything. There are numerous expressive drawings which do not have any subject the marks themselves denote the expression.One of the closest things to a person is their clothing an for this reason it can be a very poinent subject.

Another subject used a vehicle for conveying emotions is the landscape. Landscape offers an enormous amount of potential because the weather and the chaning light of landscape can enable many, many moods to be portrayed and in this way the emotion is transferred by the artist really through their treatment of the subject.

The association of a subject

The film industry has influenced the way we read an image. We are now quite accustomed to having part of the images obscured as it is cropped or cut by the edge of the frame. The device of cropping the subject and of framing the subject at a position a third into the frame is now quire ususal in drawings.

View full size The softness of the blue and the pale and delicate brush marks in this work convey the sensitivity and delicacy of the touch between two people.

In summary, drawings can be expressive for the type of subject that is used, the way in which the subject is positioned within the picture space, the mood in which the artist is making the drawing and the scale and type of marks by which the subject is depicted.

Irrespective of the type of mark or the subject depicted, due to the empathy that people experience through drawing, it is possible to emulate or stimulate in the viewer the same experience that the artist has had through their drawing. This is one of the most powerful and amazing properties of drawing.


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Just finished my Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design with UNSW.




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