Yesterday’s drawings were done in the life class. Today I spent a chilly few minutes sketching mute swans and black headed gulls on the water the Abbey gardens in Cirencester. Not great drawings, but this to be working from live birds rather than photographs.
Another Tuesday life class and a female model at last. We were working in coloured pastels, which is my current medium, so I was pleased.
First a four short warm up poses, trying to establish the basic forms as quickly as possible.
Then two long poses, about half an hour each. I tried out the linear, non-blended style, which is tricky with a body, but I still like the vividness of the colours. It would work better on coloured paper.
Finally, four very quick poses of just five minutes each. These can often work out well. No linear stripes, they take time.
So all in all, ten drawings in three hours, which is not bad going.
This week’s class was about drawing and painting. We spent nearly two hours using fine line pens to build up a dense, textured drawing of a garden with an old shed in it, and then half an hour sloshing watercolour over it. It needed longer than that as the paint really needed to dry in stages.
Although I quite liked the result, I think it probably looked better when it was just a drawing…
I have produced another Degas-esque pastel, this time based on one of my own drawings. This is one of my favourite life sketches, which I have based another painting on. I am sure that I will use her again. It is interesting to work from an old drawing, rather than from a live model. Trying to get an exact rendition goes out the window. What you concentrate on is trying to make her look real, rather than “like her”.
The vertical line technique still works well. I have bought a box of 30 half stick Rembrandt pastels. These work well as they are slightly hard. Really soft pastel loses the individual lines too quickly. The limited range of colour is not a problem, as you can make almost any shade you want by laying on lines of additional colour. I still find orange especially useful.
I’m pleased with the result. The lines give the colour life and they stop you trying too hard for detail. I have curved them in places to follow the body, and I think this could be done more.The paper is a rough, mid-brown pastel card. I think a more contrasting colour might be a good idea. But I like her
I’ve decided that I need to improve my basic drawing skills. To that end I am starting to do a lot of small copies of exemplars, starting with Leonardo da Vinci (may as well start high). It is also something I can do in the evening, perched on a sofa. Most painting requires and easel and all the other technology. Drawing just needs paper and pen.
I love drawing in ink. You are stuck with every line, whereas with pencil you can keep fiddling with it. I love charcoal too, but on a larger scale than this. Not suitable to sofas.
Ink and watercolour this week. The planned model cancelled and our usual stand-in saved the day. He is an excellent model, can really hold a pose indefinitely, but it wold be nice to have a female model again. They seem now to be the exception rather than the rule.
This is not so much ink and wash as ink and watercolour dabs. Mark doesn’t want even washes, but lively variation of colour. He aso insists on just the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. All the rest arise from them
I hung my paper pulp girl on the living room wall and she looked good, but really needed a frame. I decided to make one, as professional framing is slow and really expensive.
Two lengths of wood glued together gave the basic rebate. I cut the mitres on a bandsaw and they gaped terribly, so quite a bit of polyfilla needed on all corners.A trial fit looked good, with about 1/4 inch shadow gap all round. I painted about five layers of acrylic over the whole frame, looking for a suitable finish. Ended with a slightly dulled metallic bronze, which nearly matches some of the colour in the painting, but not too close as to be drab.
Very pleased with the result. I have worked for hours on minor changes. A slight shadow under her bottom so that she is not totally lost in space. I thought there was something wrong with her head. I had painted it right up to the edge of the canvas. This looked odd, so I used white paint to re-establish the canvas, where it wasn’t covered in the coloured paper. This worked, so I went over the whole picture, painting out her body where there was a gap between sheets of paper. She looks as if she was assembled from the paper onto the canvas. She is finished, and looks fine in her glitzy frame.