Gesture drawing

Practicing gesture drawing again to learn more about the human figure in movement. Here I am focusing on the lines of action.

From online resources, 1 and 2 minute quick drawings:


Then I continued with focusing on yoga poses and their line of action.



Here some quick gesture drawing of poses from the primary series from memory:

Artists for Part 5

Louise Bourgeois, Marlene Dumas, Elizabeth Peyton, Wangechi Mutu, Chloe Piene

My tutor Joanne Mulvihill- Allen has suggested several artists whose work could be inspiring for my approach to Part 5.


Why am I so touched by Louise Bourgeois drawings?

I do not feel the same for the sculptures , but the drawings have such a personal vulnerable quality that really connects to my own fears and vulnerability.

They seem so quickly loosely scribbled, but just on the spot touch that sense of beauty while being scary and unsettling at the same time.



I wrote about Louise Bourgeois in an earlier post this year, after seeing her room at the Tate Modern in London and had to create a new category for that- the human figure- emotions. Although I felt a certain fascination then as well, I am observing how much deeper I am touched now.

Even her “patterns” or “scribbles” take organic shapes that resonate with some inner organs and movement.

Inspired by discovering these drawings again, I will experiment with drawing the poses of Assignment 5 in red watercolor and approach the form much more fluidly and less detailed than I have til now.

Momaorg. 2017. Momaorg. [Online]. [13 July 2017]. Available from:


The south African artist Marlene Dumas uses all kind of photographs -portraits and figures- from newspapers and magazines as a starting point, then translates them into her very personal paintings by cropping, the choice of colours and mixing of several approaches in the same painting, like spots and splashes, blurred parts, scribbled, sketched sections and more.


In the above series “Models” she explores beauty models but also women that she considers role models, like Gertude Stein.

I really enjoy this loose, not detailed almost monochrome paintings and how they work in a series. It reminds me of the series of women by Tina Berning I wrote about earlier in this course.

She uses a similar language for figures and nudes- the shapes hinted at, the paint bleeding, some details standing out. This again is something I would like to explore directly for the Assignment 5 postures.

She often explores the theme of death or sorrow through various angles, like finding modern images of la Pieta in photographs of war or disaster zones.  Here is a self portrait as a skull that she drew to illustrate an interview with her in the magazine Zeit:

self portrait


Marlenedumasnl. 2017. Marlenedumasnl. [Online]. [26 June 2017]. Available from:

Marlenedumasnl. 2017. Marlenedumasnl. [Online]. [26 June 2017]. Available from:


I wrote a post about Elisabeth Peyton for Part 4- the face, where I focused more on her paintings with blocks of bold colors:

I think I was initially a little disturbed by the fact that she paints mostly famous artists or royalty, often from photographs, but now I have listened to a few of her talks and interviews and feel that I understand her attraction and curiosity. She is fascinated by stars as creators, as people who really make great things, and by how their genius and creativity shines through their features- which is what Elisabeth Peyton is capturing.

In her drawings I found a lot of the finished/unfinished balance that am drawn to experiment with.

I love how she focuses on the features, which is what fascinates her, and then leaves the rest of the drawing uncolored and “unfinished”.

Gladstonegallerycom. 2017. Gladstonegallerycom. [Online]. [17 April 2017]. Available from:


Contrary to the sparse reduced works of Louise Bourgeois or Marlene Dumas above, Wangeshi Mutu’s art is an explosion of information and color and pattern.  She creates fantastic worlds, or fantastic journeys through collage and drawing.

I am really fascinated by Wangeshi Mutu’s work. It is a combination of pretty and gruesome, of playful and horrendous, with flowers and fantastic creatures mixed with women with chopped off limbs.


I also found myself really enjoying her video works that almost feel like drawings, with one motive unfolding slowly with sound and movement.

In an interview with the curator of her show at the Brooklyn Museum (, Wangemushi explains that her fictional dreamlike mythlike works express her opinions on questions like gender and colonisation, but they also act as portals for the viewer to access something very personal. This is how I feel when looking at her works- they allow the imagination to dive in and continue creating.

Wangechimutucom. 2017. Wangechimutucom. [Online]. [16 July 2017]. Available from:


“Drawing is the first thing and it is the final thing, so it can encompass everything”

“Drawing is primal, drawing is underneath everything, drawing is your design, your mechanism, your motivation. Drawing is action.”

These are quotes from Chloe Pienes speech seen in the video from the exhibition Drawing now  2015 (you tube

She explains how the seen and the unseen work together. The figures are floating and also there is no horizon line, so the figure itself totally defines the space, almost as if they are the space themselves.

At first I had a difficult time liking the ragged disjointed drawings of Chloe Piene. After reading more about the artist and hearing her explain the work, I feel more drawn to it and am curious to explore using a very free line.

Chloepienecom. 2017. Chloepienecom. [Online]. [18 July 2017]. Available from:

All of the artists I have taken a look at here, inspire to create more freely, with feeling and spontaneity. It is definitely a path away from realism or illustration and I feel inspired to experiment and explore.





Yoga in art

With my exploration of the human figure through yoga poses here,  I am searching for a personal drawing experience, just like a yoga experience on the mat, more than drawing beautiful postures. So ” Yoga in art” is not really what I am aiming at. Nevertheless I decide to research this subject and a whole world of esoteric shine and colorful chakras appear, which is mostly what I would like to avoid. Some artists stand out with their very different personal voices though.


Irish- Australian John Dalton explores yogaposes in a series he calls “gently does it”. Every image has elements of geometrical spheres, creating a layer of mystery. I like this combination of abstract pattern and the poses expressed rather vaguely but with a clear sense of how they can feel.

Johndaltonme. 2017. John Dalton – gently does it . [Online]. [20 June 2017]. Available from:


Thai artist Boonchu Tanti is a friend of mine that practices ashtanga yoga with the same teacher, Sharath Jois, and we have met during some of our journeys to India. Maybe I find his cartoon illustrations particularly hilarious as I know the stories behind them well!

What I can learn from Boonchu is to draw every day, to look around with humour and to just draw what he sees and hears.


Indian painter Anand is a master of Tanjali and traditional Mysore style paintings. I had the luck to study with him during my first trip to Mysore, India in 2010.

This type of painting is NOT creative, it is a form of devotion, or for the less religious- meditation. During the classes we students sit crosslegged on the floor and copy painstakingly detailed images of Indian Gods. It takes about a month to paint one image, and the copy does not leave room for any personal interpretation, except by the master. It is he who will add the eyes and eyelashes for example. If the painting is well done, the final touches are then done with real gold leaf, holding our breath while applying tiny tiny pieces of gold leaf.

I was painting an image of the elephant headed God Ganesh and I am not sure I learned much about painting, but it was a magic experience in immersing myself in the culture. I was the only western student, shifting around on the floor of Anands small studio among the sari clad Indian women. On Saturdays, the traditional rest day- Anand would take the whole little group on temple tours.


Since then, Anand has become a very famous painter in his genre. Two huge paintings adorn the modern Bangalore airport, painted by him and his now 10 assistants!




I like the use of pattern and the merging ranges of colour in Leslie Sabellas drawings, although I am not drawn to the too obvious motives of Fatimas hands and meditating figures in lotus posture. I am sometimes a little confused by where to draw the line between illustration and drawing, but these are clearly illustrations.

Truespiritartcom. 2017. Truespiritartcom. [Online]. [22 June 2017]. Available from:


The beauty in the simplicity of these single line drawings of yoga poses by Lovetta Reyes Cairo caught my attention.

They are a perfect example of exploring the line between finished and unfinished- how much can you leave out or crop and still clearly express the shape of the pose?

Loveheartsartcom. 2017. Loveheartsartcom. [Online]. [22 June 2017]. Available from:


Chris Carter combines a very simple line drawing with watercolour. Again I am drawn to the beauty of the simplicity here and I will explore something similar for my assignment.

Chriscarterartcom. 2017. Chriscarterartcom. [Online]. [22 June 2017]. Available from:






Postures step by step

Here I plan to draw some of the Ashtanga yoga asanas I usually practice physically as an exercise in studying the figure in the postures, and to gather ideas in my sketchbook so as to then let go of these precise forms and allow more experimentation and flow.

Starting point: Samastitih, equal standing.


Raising my arms into “ekam”, the first inhale, feeling the simultaneous pull upwards and downwards, grounding.


Dwi, trini..


I am looking for how the pose FEELS. Here I can see the hands and feet growing roots into the ground, connecting. These roots can dominate the drawing. They are an intricate system of letters and words maybe.

This is me doing Salabasana and upward dog:


I need to take a look at feet and hands..


Downward dog


These above poses are repeated over and over again during the practice. The repetition of these more geometrical simple poses in the same drawing could create interesting patterns and shapes.

The warrior sequence:


Vyrabhadrasanas- the warrior sequence- clearly defining a goal and following it fearlessly. Pointing arrows.


The triangle poses- geometrical again and possible to build together in sequences, patterns. Here I drew the arms too long and think of playing with amplifying that further- long long arm reaching up.

I also just did some fototransfer experiments ( see separate post) and am intrigued by using dense text that can look like skin. The left side pose would be possible to explore with a bodysuit of small patterns /letters/symbols.

Here some trials of that idea using collage and newspaper:

Connecting heaven and Earth, the arm long reaching upwards and the figure merging with the background. The newspaper parts would be a phototransfer of the yoga sutras of Patanjali in sanskrit for example, or possibly newspaper text in Kannada language.

Padangushtasana and Pada Hastasana- they look very similar but feel different. For Padangushtasna I hold on to my toes, for Pada Hastasana the palm of my hands are under my feet.

I drew these above drawings on old pages of exercises in mark-making and really like the effect- I will use some more old drawings as a background.


So here I was just having a little fun with an old drawing of strawberries…With pink yogaposes 🙂 The persons like small insects climbing with their funny poses on the huge stawberries.


Virabhadrasana B- the second warrior pose. Rotating gathering of strength and shooting out towards a goal.

Here I am using a page of sutras in sanskrit from the Fototransfer experiment:


The pose is Utthita Hasta Padangustasana and not very successful, but I really like the skin like texture of the background and possibly the contrast with the pink Uniball pen, but it has to be done differently.


A few more poses.. I don’t see how to develop the upper standing poses further, but a close up of the upper body of Utkatasana could be interesting.



Paschimottanasana is an intense forward bend, cultivating humility and looking inward . This is a recurring old image as well, the feeling of a huge weight placed on the back like a huge stone. Sometimes a Mysore teacher will lay on the back to produce that effect and it maybe looks scary but it feels amazing- like exploring inner corners that were previously hidden. Here I tried it out in pencil, black ink and watercolor.

Kurmasana/ Supta Kurmasana:


Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana- the turtle poses-  are the first leg behind the head postures of the primary series. Leg behind the head is an intense hip opener and if the contrary- the backbends- invite to open the heart also emotionally, these poses invite to set clear boundaries and learn to say No. I was playing with the idea of a turtles shell of course because of the name, but will not pursue that.

Prasarita Padottanasana:

Here again I come back to old ideas with the two drawings on the left.  When in this pose, it almost feels like the body gets turned inside out, and there is an intense focus on the space between the shoulderblades. A new “I”, “eye” emerging. And seeing the “fearbird”, my own symbol for hidden fears. This is an idea I definitely need to develop.

Garbha Pindasana:

Garbha Pindasana- the embryo in the womb posture. This is a pose I have never tried drawing before, maybe because it comes easy for me to do but is difficult to draw. Now I see a lot of potential- the name alone brings a lot of ideas.


I can imagine the posture in a womb like bubble, rather dark and around it again old sanskrit texts , maybe trough phototransfer.


Some “womb” experiments. I am not sure what media would be the best yet, but this is a pose I am curious to explore further.


Here some more details of hands and feet:


Marichyasana A, the first in a series of 4. Here it would be possible to play with some more extreme foreshortening:

IMG_0744Some more hands and feet in various stages of tension:


Savasana, the corps pose or simply “take rest” is the last pose of the practice and the last pose I will draw here:


Part 5: Written element

Exploring the human figure through yoga asanas (postures)


Part 4 of this course showed me how much I love drawing the human figure. Yoga has been part of my life for over a decade and here I want to explore the human form through the yoga practice.

I am used to a daily physical yoga practice, that I have had to pause for a moment. Here  I would like to explore the practice through drawing instead. So I will look at the physical aspect of the poses, and still have so much to learn about drawing anatomy. But more than that, I am interested in how the poses FEEL. Less than exploring yoga as a subject, I am searching for a personal drawing experience, just like a yoga experience on the mat.

I see the danger of falling into too illustrative or too anatomical drawings with this subject, so that is something I want to avoid.  Also , if I look at the representation of yoga in the media, it seems to always be linked to beautiful bodies, blissful smiles and lotus flower filled environments.  While this is true too, in my own experience yoga is also linked to the alarm going off before sunrise and a lot of sweat and pain and discomfort that most serious yoga practitioners I have met take on to deal with their own darkness and feelings and addictions.

In my research , I will focus on artists using real/unreal elements or finished/unfinished parts rather than any yoga related  art, and explore artists that have a more personal and emotional way of drawing, like for example Louise Bourgeois and Marlene Dumas. Inspired by Wangeshi Mutu, I will use collage to reinterpret some found yogarelated images combined with patterns, and drawn elements from imagination. “The fearbird” is a personal symbol that comes back to me often, a flutter of wings in the chest when going into deep backbends, and then the release when the pose is completed. A flock of birds, or wings or the stiff frozen bird of fear are images that will surely appear in the drawings.

The first step is however to better my general drawing skills of the human body . To give this some structure, I will follow the Ashtanga yoga primary and intermediate series of asanas (postures) , which I would normally do physically . I will draw through the asanas as an exercise to learn them, and to gather ideas in my sketchbook, but then let go of the precise form and allow more experimentation and flow.

As for most parts of this course, rather than one single final drawing, I see several different approaches of the subject with various experiments using mixed media, incorporating fototransfer and collage as well as experimenting further with ink drawings and bleach.

The yoga practice is a series of postures so it lends itself to a series of drawings. I plan to create a small series on A4, using watercolor and fototransfer. Then experimenting with  bigger support cutting brown wrapping paper to the size of my yoga mat. And finally to use a small concertina sketchbook to flow through the series.




Tutor report Assignment 4


Formative feedback

Student name Clara Maciulis Student number 513759
Course/Unit Drawing 1: Drawing skills Assignment number 4
Type of tutorial (eg video/audio/written) Written

Overall Comments

Clara, thank you for submitting assignment 4, it was great to see some of your work in the flesh. You have been ambitious with scale and media. At times you fall into drawing from inside your head rather than closely observing what is in front of you and your proportions suffer as a result, you are for the want of a better word an emotional drawer in that you respond with your heart to what you see, you are expressive and imaginative. Some of the work you have produced for this section is quite exposing and there is almost a sense of pain and vulnerability, I’m unsure if this is intentional. You’ve chosen interesting and challenging poses to draw for the most part, bold and dynamic.

Assignment 4 Assessment potential

I understand your aim is to go for the Painting Degree and that you plan to submit your work for assessment at the end of this course. From the work you have shown in this assignment, providing you commit yourself to the course, I believe you have the potential to pass at assessment.  In order to meet all the assessment criteria, there are certain areas you will need to focus on, which I will outline in my feedback.


Feedback on assignment

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

  1. Figure study using line

You have been meticulous here, particularly in the second piece, the colour choice of your pen and composition is interesting, it is ephemeral and sits between fantasy and reality. I can see the hard work you put in here, it feels precious. For me this does lean towards illustration and reminds me of those heavily detailed mindfulness colouring books which are super popular in recent years. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this of course but it may be worth considering which degree pathway you would rather be on, drawing is an option on the illustration pathway also so it is something to think about as you obviously have a skill here.

I am happy about the comment of the drawing being between fantasy and reality- something I like to explore further. I would prefer avoiding falling into too detailed illustration though and will be careful with that in the next chapter. I feel more drawn to learn how to express more with less meticulous detail.


  1. Figure study using tone

The poses you have chosen are really bold and work well, as mentioned above I think you got lost in the activity of drawing – my guess is you enjoyed yourself but lapsed concentration for observation of detail and proportion, you can afford to be looser and more gestural which would be more forgiving of these discrepancies so if you want to let go then really let go! Check out this student’s work on WeAreOCA.

Wonderful loose and spontaneous looking work! I would love to be able to express myself like that in drawing 🙂 And although my studies in tone maybe look rather quick and loose, they were not and I really tried to work on the proportions so this is definitely something I still need to learn through lots and lots of more practice.


  1. A portrait combining line and tone

I think you have been really brave in this section of the course choosing to look closely at yourself. Using Giacometti and Schiele for inspiration you’ve produced a varied series of drawings some more successful than others. Drawing the figure will take more than just a section of this course to master so it’s great you have enjoyed it and want to explore and develop further. Keep looking at Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings for reference. You mentioned yourself that you carried out lots of experiments rather than honing in to produce one drawing for the assignment, I think this is characteristically been you throughout the course, you clearly love materials, exploration and learning and are hurried to find it all out at once. When you allow yourself to focus you refine your ideas, you produce considered works you’ll just have to get into the habit of reigning back every now and again.


I particularly like your experiments with ink and bleach and the bleeding vs the linear aspects. I think there is room here for further exploration in part 5. Think carefully about your colour choices as you move ahead, the drawings inspired by Emin are interesting, the pastel contrasted with the black works well. I also enjoyed seeing the Gormley inspired work, I think this sort of thing could work with your yoga poses quite well, where the detail is less important than the pose.

Yes, thank you, this is definitely a line of experimenting to continue!

Continue looking at Louise Bourgeois, also Marlene Dumas, Elizabeth Peyton and Wangechi Mutu. Chloe Piene may also interest you.

I will write a separate post about these artists, but a first quick look reveals a general impression of form and blocks of tone without much detail and pattern- very far from the drawings in line I made for Assignment 4 and definitely a direction I feel more tempted to explore now. Ink and bleach, maybe some watercolor and spontaneous drawing !

I wonder would a concertina sketchbook work if you intend to make a small drawing everyday.

This sounds like an interesting idea to present a long series of small drawings like a practice of the poses, one flowing after the other. Or maybe a long long roll of paper with one pose after the other.

I’m really glad you got to look at the Drawing People book too.

Yes, a very inspiring book!


Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

You have produced a mountain of drawings, well done! When you have used yourself and honed in on your torso these works are interesting and captivating, you use coloured pencil sensitively. There are lots of experimental works on a variety of surfaces. The looser, gestural works are more successful than some of the more detailed pieces, continue to practice facial features proportions, hands and feet. The x-ray over drawings are also an interesting, honest series of work.

Loose and gestural- explore further!



Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You have carried out extensive research for this section of the course, openminded and tried out some of the techniques in your own work. Continue to do this, marrying your research and making, elaborate on what you think is successful about the work you are looking at and why. Say less on the biography of the artist.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays

Context, reflective thinking, critical thinking, analysis

You always immerse yourself fully in each part of the course and your learning, you produce a large volume of work describing what you are doing on your blog, some of your posts are as a result lengthy but this is to be expected.

Suggested reading/viewing


With section 5 in mind look at the artists mentioned throughout the report, try to focus your ideas and experiments to produce a series of work. Look back through what you have produced and pick out the successful things to take forward and develop, keep in mind your contextual studies to make reference to within your artist’s statement.


Pointers for the next assignment

  • Reflect on this feedback in your learning log.
  • Hone in on the successful elements of your work to take forward.
  • Respond with a critical eye to the work of others.
  • Be careful of becoming too illustrative if this is not your intention.

Please inform me of how you would like your feedback for the next assignment.   Written or video/audio

Well done, I look forward to your next assignment.

Tutor name Joanne Mulvihill-Allen
Date 24 June 2017
Next assignment due 31 July 2017

I am very happy with the encourageing tone of the report and excited to try out new ideas for the next Assignment.



Fototransfer is something that I have experimented with so long ago it seems like a previous life, transferring for example polaroids.  I keep encountering it in works that I really appreciate, like in a series in Robert Rauschenbergs exhibition inspired by Dante’s “Inferno”.  It is time to explore this again.


Coat both the paper and the image printed on a laser printer (not inkjet) with the acrylic media or transfer gel/gloss gel medium etc. and apply wet on wet.

Let dry for 24 h, or blow dry with a hairdryer if impatient.

Then wet the paper again with a sponge , let soak for a little while and rub off the paper back of the photo. Let dry, then repeat til all the paper back is gone.

Cover with transparent gesso or clear acrylic laquer.


I created a few pages in Photoshop with various yoga related texts or words in sanskrit and had them printed with a laser printer. Inverted image as it will be mirrored when transfered.

I tried two different acrylic mediums. Reeves Gloss Gel Medium has a chewy, sticky, paintlike texture. The paper sticks well, but its difficult to avoid uneven surface if that’s important for the motive. Great to build texture if that is wanted.

Amsterdam Acrylic medium 012, gloss, which is much more liquid, so easier to apply without excess.

The transfer worked similarly well with both medium:

I started out thinking of this technique for creating background, but I really like the almost “skinlike” character of the paper and can well imagine a body out of this….

Here I used smaller pieces together with watercolor and ink for background experiments:

My trials with newspaper and these two acrylic media were less successful. The paper sticks too well and rubbing off rubs off all. The exception was the Arabic newspaper that has a more slippery surface than the others.


I have tried transferring newspaper with lighter fuel and rubbing as Rauschenberg apparently did before, which works, but the drawings still smell so strongly you can not have them in your room two months later.

Foto transfer is a technique I definitely want to use for some of the layers in this Assignment.