Still Life with Red – Clare Haward
When we are learning to draw and paint, (do we ever stop?) there are the basics that we all have to get under our belts. Like a writer, it’s hard to communicate without an understanding of grammar, there are things we all need to know at some level or another. Drawing from life is often central to this learning, encompassing mark making, line, tone, proportion, colour, composition and so on, we learn the visual language that is the essential currency of art.
Which is all very important and yet becoming too attached to the particulars can be a major constraint. Like being a grammar pedant who is so infuriated by ee cummings that they miss the joy of poems like “i like my body when it is with your”. Creativity often exists just beyond the structure that gave birth to it.
Drawing in proportion, for example, is an important skill to acquire but just because we can, doesn’t mean we must. Very many artists can draw exceedingly accurately in an optical sense and yet find greater fulfilment when they are not sticking rigidly to what might be called ‘the rules’*. What makes us interesting as artists is not when we fit the existing orthodoxy but when we challenge it.
Our very own Clare Haward is a case in point, she has been subject to a great deal of learning and yet has moved with her own language of shape and colour to produce images of deceptive simplicity and intensity. There is an excellent interview with her here
* They’re not really rules, we just treat them that way, the ideas that are put before us are entities that may or may not support us on our way as artists. Generally we discard them only when they have been fully digested.