Monday, 22 September 2014

The joy of the movement - with Behzad Bagheri

Actually, the whole title was The joy of the movement (of learning) from simplicity to complexity (in sketch). What a programme!

Anyway, it could have been called How to draw stick figures in three easy steps, I still would have wanted to take it. I absolutely love Behzad Bagheri's work and was very curious to learn his approach and see him in action.

The workshop started with a few exercises consisting in making some random lines on paper and then trying to find something in them and develop the drawing around that.

In my case, I kept seeing hills in the few drawings I made during this first exercise, like in this one, for example.

Little church in the hills
The second step was to take the three primary colours, apply them randomly on paper and pass it on to our neighbor, who would then develop it.

I collaborated with a Brazilian participant called Clarissa and we ended up with something that looks like people dancing.

Let's dance some samba!
The third exercise consisted in taking three colours we like, apply them randomly and then develop the shapes we were seeing, just like in the first exercise.

I actually liked how it looked from the start and didn't change it much. It reminds me of a scenery reflected in a river. Behzad actually told me he wouldn't change it either.

The mists of my mind
Finally, the last exercise, and that was when everything came together, consisted in choosing colours from our surroundings, applying them randomly on paper again and then looking around to see what subject could fit in. We were then to develop the sketch accordingly.

This drawing is of one of the churches by the river. The colours are not quite accurate, but the shapes fit beautifully to the subject. I think it looks more like an oasis or something similar, but I like the result.

Where's Aladdin?
The least you can say about this workshop is that you have to have faith that Behzad knows where he's going. Particularly because his English is not good enough to explain everything as people would want/need it. 

Unfortunately, some of the attendants didn't adhere much to the workshop. However, I think it had also a lot to do with it being a bit cold and wet and people were not feeling comfortable in the first place. Add to that the fact that they had no clue what the exercises were leading to and some actually abandoned midway through.

For my part, I think I was too starstruck to really mind in any negative way, haha. (Plus I was dressed warmly for this workshop.) Even if I was a bit puzzled in the beginning, I felt like a child again and had fun with the different exercises. I was sure that Behzad was getting at something interesting. 

As an added bonus, Behzad also demonstrated his approach for us, which was a real treat! It is amazing to see one of your favourite sketchers at work, see how he makes the wonderful art you've been admiring online. In particular because his style is so different from all the other sketchers' I've been following.

This workshop was the radical opposite from Matthew Brehm's very mathematical approach. There was no visualizing whatsoever before drawing at all, on the contrary.

What Behzad does is soak in the surroundings and atmosphere before letting his subconsious apply the first washes of paint. Only then does he analyze what he has and how to continue his sketch.

If I had to remember one concept from this course it would be to FREE YOUR MIND FROM ABSOLUTE REALISM.

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