Part 5: Sketchbook 4 – A three level sensational experience of the human body

As by my learnings from sketchbook series #3 n facial structures (see Schaffeld, 30 Nov 2015) as well as based on my on site drawings (Schaffeld, 14 Nov 2015), I wanted to study more the ‘landscape’ of the human body. Especially the face in relation to a sensational experience. I have the feeling that my project is moving towards a better understanding of the human presence and its relationship to nature (site). But before focusing on one aspect I am continuing with drawing studies for further exploration.

Goal for this sketchbook studies:

  • Investigating the sensational ‘landscape’ of the human body (my face) and to explore with strong bodily awareness and visual awareness the different aspects of a sensational experience (compared to the one I have on site)

I am going to make the studies in my A3 sketchbook (larger than before) in order to have an approx. scale of my face (direct translation of sensational experience)

Step1:

In reference to the book Maslen, Southern (2014) – pp. 76-95 – and the tactile approach “towards a feeling response” I am going to do some blind drawings while touching  the ‘landscape’ my face in parallel. Here also in reference to Claude Heath and his gestural markings in ‘Eucalyptus’, 2001

Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 1

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 1

While making the initial drawings I became aware of my visual perception (I looked at my drawings). I was wondering how this second level of sensational perception (visually) and I did a combined drawing (blind plus looking in a mirror).

Another awareness coming up was my bodily experience of touch, not only on my face but also touching the surface of the sketchbook paper.

I experienced new levels of awareness. In order to push it more I put a tissue onto the paper for a different surface ‘touch’. Still drawing blind I could feel at times a matching sensation:

  • soft or hard surface on my face
  • soft or hard surface areas on the paper

At one point I became aware of a disruption:

  • I focused more on the paper structure and its irregularities and less on the touch on my face.

=> this disruption was mirrored by scratch marks and tearing-off parts of the tissue.

Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 2

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 2

Step 2:

I continued with some experiements with the idea of matching sensations:

  1. Articulating in words the qualities of the surface of my face (hard, soft, rough, stipples etc.)
  2. Finding surface textures that could match those articulated qualities

Question that arise at this point: Would it be just a sensational map or should this be also visually appealing?

Conclusion here:

A tactile sensation (bodily awareness) and experience

  • can be an experience of the moment, or
  • a drawing experience of a re-called sensation where the surface and the used material stimulates this

I did one sketch in ink and found that ink doesn’t support a tactile sensation (compared to dry material). Could I translate tactile sensations into different markings?
=> drawing with a dry brush (hard) versus a wet brush (soft)

Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 3

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 3

Step 3:

As I was already aware about my visual perception through looking and seeing, I continued with layers of sensational experience:

  1. Touching the surface – tactile experience following my facial ‘landscape’
  2. Looking in a mirror and draw ‘realistically’
Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 4

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 4

At this point I became aware of crossing areas, edges between the two layers of experience. I found this a quite interesting awareness as it came to my mind how difficult it is at times to feel both levels (seeing, feeling) as strong at the same time. Often one feels more or one sees more. Here I thought about Jasper John’s From untitled painting’, 1964-65 where he drew a frame inside the paper. The concept of ‘Delineation’ from Deborah Harty (in: Sawdon, Marshall, 2015) came to my mind as well.

Another aspect of visually awareness and visually perception came across during my sketches of drawing blind and drawing with open eyes.

=> Drawing with open eyes lends me towards drawing more realistically (based on my drawing skills). I felt that some sketches with closed eyes have a stronger appeal.

Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 5

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 5

Step 4:

The next studies should combine my learning and experiences:

  1. Drawing blind – direct sensational experience
  2. Drawing re-called sensations through specific support structures
  3. Drawing obserbations – looking into a mirror

Conclusions & Learnings:

  • My studies made my aware of three levels of sensations:
    – sensational experience, triggered sensations, and my emotional response
  • I am aware of three levels of experience:
    – direct tactile sensations, re-called sensations, observation and visually sensations
  • Looking into a mirror makes me an observer
  • I can be side-tracked by thinking too much:
    – about contour
    – a pleasing visual image
    – drawing my eye for ‘seeing’ -> rather symbolic, not what I want to do
    ( see also André Breton ‘Photomaton’, 1929 – closed eyes as a symbol for inner reflection)
  • I was still focusing on the facial structures and the question to myself is if sensational experiences could become independent from figurative art? Would observation become obsolete?
  • Playing with sensational experiences can become a subject by itself !

So I did some sensational experience studies of my foot (looking straight, drawing side view to avoid above mentioned side effects):

Stefan513593 - Sketchbook - Sensational experience of human body - 6

Stefan513593 – Sketchbook – Sensational experience of human body – 6

Questions:
  • Drawing levels of sensational experience:
    – What is more effective?
    – What is visually more convincing?
    – What should be concealed or made visible?

Reference:

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