Ink

At the life drawing session, the model was once again Sophie who holds the most amazing positions and whose animated features still shine with humour as we draw. Previously I have worked in charcoal pencil and conte crayon. Today, I worked in pen and ink, grabbing the wash off the nib with a water brush. The first 2 minute poses were drawn free but subsequently I built a construction in pencil.

Sophie has beautiful tattoos. For the first time I tried to at least reference these in the longer drawings.

tall and slender does not fit A4

This week the model was willowy, so different from the solid man last week whose bulk naturally filled an A4 page. The page was mostly space. By the time we reached 20 minute poses my charcoal and conte pencils were blunt and I was trying fine lines with the edge of conte blocks. Mostly I could not wrap my brain round how to draw her. She had a lively curious face, holding a pose while her eyes darted across us. I wish I could have captured that.

Cami de Nou de l’Otre from Embaise de Cuber

OK – just more holiday sketches form Mallorca

I walked along side a reservoir high in the north western plateau / mountains in Mallorca.  Each 200m stretch along the path appeared to be a separate territory for an Eleanora Falcon.  These large tailed birds were hovering low over the landscape or perching on rocks, hunting dragonflies I think.  The flat valley floor is walled by high limestone faces on either side.  Looking up, I had a couple of glimpses of circling vultures.

In this sketch, I attempted to balance the tangle of undergrowth shaped by a fallen tree against the calligraphy scored onto the cliff by rainwater.

Later, I found myself looking down a steep rock tumble falling 900m  from where I sat to the town of Soller below and then the distant sea.

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.