Studio Mysteries

July 31, 2010

A piece about waiting

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 3:01 pm

For a long time, I’ve wanted to do work that captures everyday people, but somehow shows the intense, heart-breaking beauty I see in them. But when I encounter people in a day-to-day setting, they are not posing – they are moving and as difficult to pin down as a school of fish. For a while I tried sketching, but there is simply too much information to record this way. So, reluctantly, I turned to photography as an aid.

This is the first complete piece I have done that uses photo references. I took pictures at bus stops, sometimes on the ground and sometimes from the window of a bus.

Before, I have always drawn from imagination or from direct observation, so it took me a long time to figure out how to work with photos. Printouts didn’t work – I found them flat and drained of the beauty I was trying to capture. But I noticed that looking at the photos on a computer monitor preserved their life, maybe because a monitor image is composed of light itself. Now I just keep the photo open in Photoshop as I draw.

I also made sure that I didn’t simply copy the photos. It’s far more interesting to interpret, and to use the photos as a starting point, but then reinvent the people so they are truly my own. Now, I know how to do that successfully.

This piece is 22.5″ tall and 19.5″ wide. It’s graphite and colour pencil on paper. It took about 60 hours to do, and I spent half of that time working out the structural geometry of the feet belonging to the Pink Tights woman. Bulky sneakers hide and distort so much that it’s very easy to end up drawing two left feet.

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March 13, 2010

Anya’s Children: #1

Filed under: child images, Drawing — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 6:38 pm

I have been mulling over the fact that I draw children a lot. I don’t set out all, “I shall now interrogate the image of the child as a signifier and site upon which the situational socio-political constructs can be acted upon as well as acted out”. I invite people to show up on the sheet, and a lot of them turn out to be children.

But I might as well admit that they are a recurring theme and roll with it – draw children deliberately rather than accidentally.

Just for fun, though, I am running a small retrospective: Anya’s Children, Thus Far.

Well, if I had babies, I’d be forcing you to look at their photos, so be grateful I don’t.

February 7, 2010

Aaaaaalmooooost…

Filed under: Drawing — Tags: , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 10:08 pm

My camera has the vapours, and I cannot show, but only tell for the moment. But what I have to tell is that after MONTHS of work, my big drawing (see posts below) is just about done. It’s amazing how little there is left to do. It’s that moment when you round the corner of the track and you see the finish ribbon flapping in the wind.

It’s amazing how good it feels and how much it felt like this moment is never going to come. I must have put in no less than 400 hours and probably more like 600 into this drawing. I pushed pencil as far as it can go. It’s probably the biggest size that I will ever work in pencil and my subsequent works will probably be a bit smaller, in the 3-4 foot range rather than in the 5 foot range. But I am glad I went there.

The figures emerge out of velvety texture like ghosts. I was going to call the drawing Friends and Family, but now I have rechristened it Formal Occasion.

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