Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Woman as Design. Why do I use women in my Art?

Over Mother's day weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to paint from a live model in my friend's beautiful garden.  As I was enjoying the day, I paused to think of how I am surrounded by my husband's support.  I was able to come and paint because he took on Daddy Duty for the day,  I had an amazing set of watercolors to work with that he bought for my birthday after a great amount of research, and I could take hundreds of reference photos with the fantastic camera he bought me for Christmas. 

Now I'm not saying that he should never have the kids to himself, nor that I was dependant upon him to buy me the supplies I need.  What I am saying is that I really appreciate the fact that he does these things for me, because he loves me, and thinks I'm talented, and wants to show it.

(It's been a while, so I hereby declare my undying love for my husband!)

On Mother's Day I was pleasantly surprised by his gift - a very interesting book titled "Woman as Design" by Stephen Bayley. (A scathing but interesting review here that makes some good points!)

A quick glance thru the pages and I saw that the book discussed Art, Advertising, Architecture, Pop Culture, and numerous other subjects influenced and inspired by the female form.

I started reading with great enthusiasm, for while I love to paint and draw the female figure, I have never ventured beyond the reason of "I think women are Beautiful" or "I am woman - in some way each painting is a self-portrait" (which is an easy cop-out answer, and while not entirley un-true, not a very in-depth annalysis either). 

There are a lot of interesting facts (the snail's vagina is in her head) along with Art History lessons I was already familiar with.  There's a whole section on the Industrialization of the Breast, a segment that forced me to wonder why I take liberties with models' breast sometimes - changing the natural shape to one I think the viewer would find more "pleasing." (Giving it more fullness at the top, for example) instead of allowing myself to capture it as it really is.

I haven't come to any epiphanies yet on why I draw and paint the female figure so much, but I am really enjoying this book and the way it is making me stop and think about some of the choices I make in my Art. 

Also, upon discovering some of the arguments made for and against the book by the author and various critics, I'm excited about reading it thru and forming my own conclussions.  I learned long ago that not everything in print is worthwhile, true, or even worth the paper it's printed on.  But that doesn't mean I can't learn something from it, or that it might not inspire a new thought in my own head in my work.

Thanks, DH, for the great present.


Lrc said...

Sounds like an interesting book,thanks for letting me know about it.I've thought about why I like to draw women and I just think that there is a lot that can be expressed about women in general as well as personal expression. I have had some ideas that involve men but more ideas seem to involve women because I understand them more. Interesting art results from these thoughts mostly.

Krystyna81 said...

Lrc...I agree! Even when I draw from a live model, my drawings of males are different in approach and technique. There is so much that can be expressed thru a female figure.