More life drawing

My right hand is out of plaster and though it remains stiff, swollen and sore I was surprised how quickly I defaulted to drawing again with my dominant hand. I missed the warm up fast sketches having left my pad on the platform when I changed trains and having to go back up the line one stop to retrieve it. I had gone with a plan in mind, to focus on a particular shape, likely negative space, and build the drawing round this, filling the page. These were the results, in conte crayon.

Left handed life drawing

So here’s a mix of drawings from our 90 minute session, and it will be obvious which were 2, 5, 10 and 20 minute sketches. We had a great model with excellent muscle definition. I switched media throughout, just for fun. Working only with my non-dominant hand is freeing. I think my lines are bolder, and this makes up for poorer fine coordination. I am generally working from inside out, blocking in content before finding the lines. One of the artists there is a professional sculptor recently moved from China, still looking at how to work here. Her drawings look like sculptures, extending off the page with wonderful definition of three dimensional shape. She was generous in her discussion of my drawings. The fourth down, the last I drew, was built on the contrast between the man and the red blanket he sat on. I felt I had struggled to control my materials. She, however, drew my attention to the abstraction and non-natural colours of Fauvism. I like this and I think I will try more for this sense next time.

Aloof yet mournful

I greatly appreciate that life model John Benge messaged me in response to my posting this picture on Facebook.  He says his stage instructions were the white horse should appear aloof yet mournful.  In Twin Peaks, the pale horse appeared only to one character and as a harbinger of death.  I guess the horse foretells tragedy but is itself not involved, hence its demeanour.

2016-01-29 Dr Sketchies (16)

Twin Peaks was a short lived surreal series broadcast a quarter of a century ago living on through its cult status with many fans.  I watched no more than an episode or so.  I think I felt faintly shamed that I could not get to grips with it, like I had failed a test in contemporary culture.  Twin Peaks was a great theme for Dr Sketchy’s anti art school session in Birmingham last Saturday.  This was a twenty minute pose by John Benge.  The drawing was roughed out in soft pencil then reworked in black, blue and brown fountain pen ink with water, with final colours applied in conte crayon.

 

Experimental drawi …

Today I learned that the Warwickshire Cricket Ground executive suite serves excellent sausage, onion gravy and mash.  Tonight was the last experimental drawing class of the term but I was having a cracked tooth repaired.   I was gently steered to the most expensive of several options, the dentist working to keep the eagerness out of his voice.  Home: my wife had baked a celebratory cake.  What, she musesd over the icing gun, should I write for someone forced from her job by a bullying manager?  (Later, I see the answer was “good luck”). My son was still awake talking loudly to a reindeer.  On Saturday, we agreed, we will make the reindeer a bed from a shoebox.

The last art I did was an ink sketch of Briony, the life model.   I have learned that I need to build the image then destroy it before rebuilding.  This did not get far enough at the time. 

Since then I’ve been thinking about colours, dividing the paper into quarters to some extent based on the colour wheel.  I tried this out on the ipad

So keeping to the formula, I painted over the original while waiting for my mouth to recover sufficiently so I could eat.

When it dries, I think I will draw back in in pastel.

life drawing

Thanks as always to Briony – a great model with regal poise.

Someone described my blog as a “mixture of joy, despair and hope” which made me laugh.  I can say I was despairing after life drawing last weekend.  I had clear ideas and couldn’t persuade the gouache to work the way I wanted – it wouldn’t lift off the prepared surface to create negative shapes nor build to create layered colours.  The preliminary sketch above was the best thing to come form this session.  Huh!

Here are a couple I did earlier.

   

experimental life drawing

Yesterday, in the life drawing session, I followed a class plan intended to help free us of some of the constraints on our drawing.  I covered the paper in a variegated wash in acrylic ink to form a ground.  In gouache, I blocked in the warm light spilling across the lower limbs and lifted out from a white wash to form the head and torso.  Then, before the break, we were told to partially destroy this. I washed over it in dilute sepia ink both covering and smudging the still wet gouache.

My plan then was to add back the minimum of marks.  I meant to find the key highlights and depth of shadow and mark just these, looking for contrasts in hue and tone.  How easy to be seduced by detail though.  I started to draw into this with pastel, standing too close without breaking between making marks to just look.

I am happy enough with this outcome and pleased with this experiment in mixing media.  However, I can see how a more subtle, more expressive drawing might have been achieved with fewer marks.

In parallel to this process, I had sketched rapidly in charcoal to get an idea of the main shapes.

Life drawing

Here are two attempts of the same pose from different angles.  In the first I continue to explore the combination of charcoal and gouache.  Unlike the previous post on experimental drawing, I fixed the charcoal before painting over it.  This results in a quite different effect – the paint sticks to the surface instead of skating over the carbon layer.  Once again, I am trying for the contrast between the opaque and transparent use of paint.  I think opaque medium is called body colour, but ironically, I used this for the background.

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The following week, instead of continuing with this, I opted to start from scratch in pencil and work solely in transparent watercolour.

Conclusion … start with a bigger brush and work more consciously light to dark.