Paradigm Shifter

Are you a follower of rules?

I recently underwent an epiphany whilst devouring a rare treat of a book, focusing on the raw drawings and watercolours of Egon Schiele, the Austrian Expressionist.  It was edifying to note that this influential figurative artist characteristically left the backgrounds of many paintings unadorned or simply washed parts in a thin, flat, monochrome.  A master of fine line, he conveying much with a minimum of detail.  He did not bow to societal dictates.

An all-but audible ‘thunk’ occurred as my soggy neural structures were permeated: the copious purist ‘rules’ underpinning traditional techniques are not to be interpreted as rigid instruction – they are merely principles to guide.  Fine, mock all you like!

It proved impossible to get this A2 image scanned so my abysmal photograph will have to do – if you click the image a few times it looks better larger.  There’s some artistic licence with the guitar which was a struggle to accurately depict and the body proportions look wrong – which is strange since I conscientiously measured scale and ratios for the first time ever.

This study was, however, brazenly created in the knowledge that nobody will punish me for leaving the subject floating untethered on the paper.  I’m free to vociferously outline in ink or crayon.  Do I dare highlight with white paint?  Do I dare disturb the universe?

Suddenly, I feel vaguely unloosened.

4 thoughts on “Paradigm Shifter

  1. Haha – I love epiphanies like this :) and I like the resulting painting very much. (I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of Schiele’s work on a visit to Vienna next month.)


  2. Schiele is one of my favorite figurative artists along with Lucien Freud. I could study their work for hours, June. This piece speaks because it is not just a photographic take on the subject. There is emotion and feeling there. A man and his guitar and you have left us to fill in some of the color by posting this as is. Guidelines is correct. I have students who obsess wanting a perfect photographic replica of the figures they paint and they never progress beyond that want because they just keep stopping and starting. For me, it is more enjoyable to see an artists progress from painting to painting. It marks growth and somehow tells me something of the artist’s journey! Paint on like this. Some of our best inspiration comes from those who have gone before us. I like this piece.


  3. Well, that was me posting prematurely. What I was GOING to say was YES! Disturb the universe. Disturb me. I need it. Along with an epiphany. I love this drawing/painting of James. It probably says more than a perfectly rendered portrait. One of my favorite areas…the socks. More of these please.


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