In The Art Spirit, Robert Henri says, “The most vital things in the look of a face or of a landscape endure only for a moment. Work should be done from memory. The memory is of the vital movement.”
Often, when setting up a long pose, I see the moment I want to capture right away; sometimes I have to watch the model for a while, even talk a little with him or her, to find what I’m looking for. And then, after the long days of model and artist assuming the same position, the pose loses that crystalline moment that interested me to begin with. I must remember to continually restate that first found emotion, that vitality of personality that captured my eye and intellect.
Gesture drawings are good for capturing initial emotions and impressions. The two drawings connected to this post were started each as 10-minute drawings. My goal when I made the sketches was to choose a composition that clarified the spirit of the pose and then get down as much information as I could while the models were there so that I could finish the sketches at home.
Things suffered: perspective, proportion, hands, foreshortening. But in general, I feel like I remembered the feelings—and the narratives—I had in my head when I composed the drawings. I wonder, what narratives do you see in these two paintings?