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.

more gouache experiments

These are from a few weeks ago. Covid intervened and I missed a life drawing session. Here I started in the 2 to 10 minute poses just using pen and switched to gouache for the three 20 minute poses. I painted onto toned paper, but blocked in a shape then added light and dark on top. I have a plan next time to make better use of that toned paper so I can be more sparing with paint, and also to paint more in flat blocks of tone and let these do the shaping rather than the brush strokes.

this was a fellow sketcher waiting for the session to start

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.

life drawing

Thanks to Naomi, and to Hannah for organising these fortnightly sessions. I had no clear plan today and used a mix of techniques. This is a mix of 2, 5, 10 and 20 minute poses. note the two drawings superimposed on each other in blue and green sharpie (better had I used complementary colours). I think I am still overdrawing. Especially on the blue paper, fewer, bolder strokes might have worked better.