Tuesday lifeclass

An excellent evening with a wonderful model who had come from Bristol by train. That involved getting a bus from Swindon when the train was cancelled. Dedication. I tried charcoal, two-colour pencil and then a quick sketch just in pencil. As always, the quick sketch looked best, but I felt it was very incomplete

Our model had extraordinary tattoos. I often don’t draw tattoos as I think they can detract from the modelling of the body. But in her case, I felt she was incomplete without them. It isn’t up to me to decide how she should be seen. She clearly had her own ideas of how we should see her. I didn’t have much record of her tattoos, but photos on her Instagram account gave me the basics, and the rest I made up. Whether it is a better drawing, I can’t say, but it is much more her than the plain sketch.

Botanical art

Not my usual subject matter. At the drawing class I go to, we were given a poinsettia to draw. I was at a loss, so reached for my colour pencils. I was really pleased with the drawing, as far as I got in the morning (mainly the red top) but it looked a bit wishy washy. The tutor suggested going over it with water colour. This worked beautifully, so I completed the drawing, partly from a photograph, but largely from imagination.

The initial drawing. As far as I got in the class. Just colour pencil so far.
Watercolour washed over. It really intensified the colours, so I started blocking in more leaves in colours pencil.
All the plant drawn and painted.
The completed image, using a much nicer pot than the plastic one the plant was really in. The pit is just in pencil. All the rest is over washed with watercolour

Life class drawings

I’ve been attending the Stroud Life Class drop in Saturday sessions quite regularly this autumn. They have had a succession of excellent models, which is such a good experience.

Here I have tried the classic the colour approach, but I haven’t really got the hang of it. I don’t use the paper colour as much add I should.
Here I have tried a careful pencil rendering, but concentrating on the head and hand.
I usually don’t try to draw tattoos. I don’t really know how to, even though most models seem to have them now. But i couldn’t ignore this glorious snake, and I loved the pose, with shoulder shoved right up

Life class

I’ve stopped going to the life classes at New Brewery Arts in Cirencester this year. I had become tired of the lack of variety in the models. We kept getting the same ones again and again. I’ve been compensating by going to the Saturday afternoon drop in life sessions at the Centre for Arts And sciences in Stroud, run by Keith Simmons. He seems to get an endless stream of new models every week. The most recent was an excellent young woman from Argentina, who was modelling for, I think, the first time, in place of her boy friend. He was the planned model, but had a rotten cold so was sitting the session out as one of the drawers. These images cover a few sessions over the last few weeks.

Drawn to drawing classes

I have let this site lie for a while, so will try and update some aspects of my work. I have been attending drawing workshops run by Susan Kester at the Victoria Works Studios near Stroud for some time. Generally these involve still life works, so that we are drawing from life rather than photos. These are just a few examples since the summer.

Graphite drawing of bits of things. I really enjoyed this, creating a grid and then drawing in a detail of just about anything. I couldn’t finish it, so some of these are just random shadings-in. I liked the overall effect, to the extent that I drew a similar grid as a “Self portrait” in the front of my new leather bound sketch book, of which more anon.

Another graphite drawing, this time of a range of complex textiles draped over a chair. I find textiles a real challenge, although I think I am getting there, but not really knowing how.

Change of medium. This is a black ballpoint pen sketch of hazel nuts. I really like the feel of ballpoint as you draw, but it has to be a Bic Biro. Nothing else feels quite as soft.

Colour at last. This is Faber-Castell polychromos coloured pencils on Arches HP watercolour paper. A beautiful combination. The only difficulty is getting a really good depth of colour. The carrot is from our garden, but has been eaten for dinner I’m afraid.

White line woodblock

Another new technique for me. I went to a one day workshop at Ardington School of Craft run by Beth Jenkins on the American technique of white line woodblock printing. It was intended to be a simplified form of Japanese woodblock, requiring just one block for the whole image, using watercolour and gouache as the print medium. It is really also closely related to mosaic and stained glass techniques.

Each area of colour is outlined by a gouged groove, the white lines, and then the area flooded with watercolour and the image transferred to thin paper by hand burnishing. Only a small area can be done at one time, so the paper and block need to be kept in register the whole time. Only one print at a time can be produced, and all will be different in colour. You can have indefinite print runs.

My first block, based on a photo I took off razor bills at St Abbs Head. The block itself is beautiful at the end.

I’m working on a second print in my studio. A roosting kittiwake I sketched at Dunbar. Still working out the best colour scheme.

Back to printing

I haven’t printed for a while, so decided to have a go at creating a print from one of the sketches I did out on the Bass Rock.

I redrew the selected part of the sketch, adding a bit here and there. Then transferred this in reverse to a lime wood block and started carving a basic key block drawing. I’ve had this lime for years and wanted to use it. Lovely to work in, but a tendency for unintended bits to chip out.

I took a couple of proofs onto cartridge paper, and coloured it up to get an idea of the finished work. I decided to cut out the hatched shading. Not sure now that was the best idea.

I cut two more blocks for head and pebble colours and shading. I used lino simply because I didn’t have any more lime. I’ve proofed the three blocks onto Somerset paper. Quite pleased with the outcome, but the are several tweaks to the carving needed before I do a final edition. I think I’ll run off about 10.

Summer days

I’ve found a beautiful corner of the cotswold water park, where I can indulge my pleasure in skinny dipping in the sunshine. Very few people go there, although a chap got a surprise when I climbed out today. I made this water colour and coloured pencil sketch of the view whilst keeping very still. I had a beautiful, tiny blue beetle hiking across my big toe, and I didn’t want to disturb him (or her).