less is more

I used photos from a gig I went to last Tuesday in a series of watercolour exercises aimed at gradually reducing the amount of line and paint I apply to the paper. The top two were the last I did, the rest are a jumble of earlier attempts. The more white paper I leave the better the effect. The gig was by the fabulous Bonfire Radicals, an experimental folk band.

Gathered

Here are a further bunch of sketches from the British Museum “Feminine Power” exhibition. I have now seen this I think four times with different people. Here I revisited the bronze Lilith I have drawn before. Next is the stone Cihuateteo (Aztec) representing the deified warriors who died in childbirth. After these come Aphrodite and Athena. Then is Guan Yin, a complex Bhuddist enlightened one associated with compassion.

Last is a quick sketch of a dancer at the BBC prom last weekend Glass Handel at the Printworks, London. This was a musical installation in a large industrial space with counter-tenor, orchestra, beat-boxing, ballet, procession and video.

Experimental simplicity

Here are three coloured twenty minute life drawing poses on tan paper with construction lines drawn in conte crayon and the figure painted in white, black, burnt sienna and cobalt blue.

In addition, the two, five and ten minute drawings on black paper were drawn freehand in just white and black gouache, following on from this picture I admired last week in the Manchester Art Gallery.

I switched between different sketches, either using a large flat brush filling space or a soft squirrel mop that comes to a point and tends to free flowing lines.

Gouache nudes again

Here are more sketches done in grey brushpens (the 2 and 5 minutes sketches at the bottom) and in gouache on toned paper (10 and 20 minute poses). The palette is simple, white, ultramarine, burnt sienna, with some elements of cobalt blue, crimson, terra verte, lemon yellow. I am using a single flat brush for almost all the marks. The idea here is to use the time discipline of these fast poses to force me to prepare mentally and then make fast mark making decisions in paint. Since I did these, I visited the British Art Show 9 exhibition at Manchester Art gallery where I saw Hurvin Anderson‘s painting “Is It OK To Be Black?” I really liked the simple expressive heads painted in with broad continual brush strokes of white on black. Something like that seems worth a try this coming weekend.

Settlement

This was a raised area in a wood in Cornwall marked on the map as a settlement. Now it is overgrown with trees and moss covers the area where I guess once people lived maybe surrounded by some kind of fence. No ruins were visible to me.

I painted this in gouache as an experiment in simplifying the colours and shapes looking for a print-like quality. The sketch in conte crayon and water was done on site.