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Renate Maas

“This drawing should be a still life study of natural forms. Its entirely up to you what you put into the composition, but think carefully about it, so that you get a range of surface textures and interesting shapes.”
When approaching this assignment  the obvious choices are fruit, vegetables, flowers, shells… One Drawing student however chose something entirely different.
Introducing Renate Maas’  chicks.
‘I chose a quite macabre subject: One-day-baby-chicks. I fed them to my cat a few times and each time I thought I should draw them. A bit tired of fruits, plants and vegetables I thought they would be an interesting challenge for drawing natural forms for the assignment. I bought a package of four chicks, but it took some time until I felt prepared to start the project as I found it definitely disgusting, though I was curious about it too.’

renate 2

Renate made several different studies with different media before choosing for final composition  – pencil, moor water, charcoal and pastel on soda craft paper
The subject matter is unusual but it is original and interesting. Renate has pushed and experimented and has found an avenue for further exploration and research. It opens questions up on animal rights and consumerism yet there is an intimacy, a subtlety and softness to the final drawing and you’re not hit in the face with these issues.
For Renate the final piece looked like lovers, and the drawing reminds her of Gustav Klimts’ ‘Liebespaar’

renate 1

I think what Renate has shown is that it is important not to limit yourself in subject matter, choose things that interest you and challenge yourself. Follow the exercises but look at them as being prescriptive not descriptive and take ownership of your course.


Posted by author: Joanne
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8 thoughts on “Renate Maas

  • A great drawing from Renate Maas and very good advice at the bottom of this post. I have only started to do this now, on my third level 1 course. I remember the creative blocks on Drawing 1 caused by thinking “oh no, I’ve got to draw a bowl of fruit”. If I was doing it again, I’d be veering into different territory. The problem is probably that most people start with Drawing 1 and don’t have the confidence at that stage to deviate from the course notes.

  • Thank you, Mark.
    I agree with you, but think that it’s not only a matter of confidence but also of time. It is not that easy to find your own subject within the course description and takes time to think and reflect (especially on what is important for yourself).

  • A really interesting interpretation of the course materials- the use of media has obviously been carefully and thoughtfully considered so as to enhance the subject matter. Also, the references to the ‘kiss’ are fascinating and thought-provoking. Beautiful illustrations Renate. Well done!

  • Oh lordie! What a brave person you are! I admire that you were able to overcome the reactions you had for the subject and translate the content into something with aesthetic value.As a vegetarian who is regularly asked if I eat chicken(!)there is something very poignant about seeing them in that type of shaped box that take away food comes in. There is quite a punch to the imagery .

  • Jo, this is quite an interesting point of view. I described or wanted to see the box as a kind of coffin but indeed it’s kind of take away food for cats (and reptiles etc.). (Btw.: You know Jamie Olivers Fowl Dinner Show?)

  • Well done Renate for choosing a subject that made you feel something – disgust is just as interesting an area of exploration as anything else I agree…! I also agree with the comments of Mark Butler above with reference to the advice at the bottom of the Renate’s work – I am on my second Level one course and determined not to get bogged down in following the guidelines too carefully again….. What is the difference between being prescriptive vs descriptive? Had to thumb through my dictionary to try and work it out! I guess it means following the course guidelines broadly whilst at the same time having a personal response to what you’re doing [ie., not just woodenly describing a bowl of fruit in watercolour or whatever because that is what your are asked to do….]. Can’t wait to test that out…….

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