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).
I spent a wonderful week in June on the above mentioned course, with about 20 other artists. We were based in Dunbar in East Lothian and spent each day drawing and painting out in the open at St Abbs Head, Dunbar Castle, Seacliffe and best of all out on the Bass Rock. Sitting surrounded by thousands of gannets was a once in a lifetime experience. My drawings were OK but some of the art produced by the others was astonishing, especially when you realise it was all painted out in the open, sometimes in the pouring rain, and on the Bass, pouring bird poo. I’ll try and show some of the other artists’ work in the next entry. We spent one morning visiting John Busby’s studio, which was another high point. I bought one of his small paintings.
I’ve gone through a period of drawing birds in coloured pencil, after seeing some wonderful work by Jessica Lennox at Slimbridge. It’s a curious medium. Slow but meticulous. You can work on colours by endless layering, but it can be hard to get really intense colour. These are all based on my own photographs. I haven’t found it a good medium for drawing from life. These are all roughly A4 size.
At Susan Kester’s drawing class this morning, we started with a blind drawing warm up. Pushing a pencil through a hole in a sheet of cardboard, which his you hand from view. You just draw what you look at. These are two sketches of a table lamp. I rather like them. Odd drift down to the lower left in both.
I was not pleased with these after I drew them, but in reflection they aren’t so bad. I am not a flower artist…
The flowers are actually under the muslin, which was our first exercise, just using white chalk on black paper.
Then all was revealed and I floundered, trying a pastel drawing of the whole lot. It really didn’t go anywhere.
So finally I just drew the hyacinth in charcoal, and when it looked reasonable, I scrubbed in some pastel colour. I find the problem with floral painting is that there is no anatomy or structure I can wrap my mind round, so my hand doesn’t know what it is trying to do.
Just over two years ago I produced one of my favourite drawings at a life class. I called her Neuroscience because she actually was a neuroscientist, taking a gap, working at an art centre between finishing her bachelor’s degree and starting her master’s.
I love the relaxed pose and the thoughtful expression. I’ve put her into an exhibition and was relieved that she didn’t sell. I don’t really want to part with her.
I’ve based more works on this image than any other I have done. The first was a mixed media work, with rectangles of handmade paper pasted onto a canvas and then over-painted with acrylic.
There was no plan to this image, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I loved the outcome. With a great imaginative flair, I called her Neuroscience 2. She hangs in our bathroom, which seems appropriate for a nude.
Next I tried a pastel on pastel board. Quite a different effect and I love the colour, but it’s not my favourite of the series. Yes, Neuroscience 3…
After that I discovered relief printing for the first time, and a version of my girl was one of my first linocuts, and still one of my favourites. I’ve tried her in various colours and with modifications to the block, which is one of the pleasures of printing. Yup, Neuroscience 4.
I let her lie for a long while after that, but recently she returned, in a very grand way. I’ve become obsessed with graphite pencil drawing over the last few weeks. After a variety of still lifes and copies of photos and paintings, I thought it was time to give my girl another outing. This time I thought I would exploit the potential of pencil for intricate detail to give her a complete figure and some sort of context. It all got a bit out of hand because you can keep modifying pencil if you use good paper. I added and subtracted all sorts of elements, including a large Indian bronze bowl, which eventually bit the dust.
Below is the finished image, with some of the development work below. I needed a new title, so I think she is now the Queen of the Nudists. She’s hanging over my drawing board.
JEGS Art available from Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/JEGSart