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.
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.
We had a wonderful model in Stroud last week, who held a difficult sitting pose over three hours. I was pleased with the way she came on, drawn entirely in pencil, but at the end, I had clearly squeezed her legs in, spoiling the proportions,and gave her a rather sour expression, which was quite unjust.
So I took her home and set to work. First, added a strip of matching paper at top and bottom so I could correct her legs and complete her head. Then I reworked nearly the entire drawing, until I was generally happy with her look. That is one of the joys of pencil and graphite. If you use good quality pencils and paper, you can rub out and rework endlessly. It actually seems to improve the drawing, giving it a deeper overall look. I thought that the studio cushions looked a bit like rocks, so went to town on them, and she quickly became Andromeda, sitting on the rocks at the edge of the sea.
But this Andromeda isn’t the poor sacrificial girl in Burne Jones painting that I copied a few months ago. She was forced to wait in chains to be claimed by Perseus, if he won, or be eaten by the dragon if he lost. My girl has got shot of chains, and Perseus, and is thinking what she plans to do next. I think she may suggest to the dragon that he goes and has a frank discussion with her parents as to why exactly they had changed up their daughter on the beach.
Working purely in graphite again. A good model at last, and in fact a lady I know from my swimming club. We did two, long drawings. The first was not all that great, but I quite liked this scribbled one, with some of the studio context. I used a 9B graphite stick which I bought in Brooklyn, which is lovely for fast sketches.
Just completed a one day workshop run by Mark Kelland on Drawing like Raphael. Not sure if I achieved that quite, but it was fun and this was the best of about 12 drawings. Good to spend a day just drawing.
At Keith Simmons life class in Stroud. Could have been a disaster as the model rang up to say her car had broken down on the motorway and burst into flames! Don’t know how she sorted that, but Keith’s wife stepped in at short notice, so we had a good session. I am endlessly frustrated by my output. I can’t get proportion right to my satisfaction and I try too many media, which often don’t work together. Just have to soldier on.
Again, no show from the planned model. Really unsatisfactory. Someone’s friend stood in and was very good, but clearly wanted to keep her clothes on. Working in graphite, using powder followed by soft graphite sticks. Quite pleased with some of the outcomes. It is almost like sculpting in 2D.
I went to Keith Simmons Saturday session as I am getting very rusty at drawing. A very good model, who I have drawn several times before. And a relief to be drawing a young woman for a change, rather than an odd assortment of old men, which seems to have been the staple for the last few weeks. A range of media, from pastel pencil, through charcoal to simple pencil. I think pencil works better on a smaller scale, so I must try that sometime. I just tend to fill the page, whatever size it is.
Art classes have stared again for the second half of the term. In the mixed media sessions we were trying to use frottage to add texture to dry drawings. Basically bras rubbings as back ground. to give you some texture. A good idea, but my rubbings were so pale and I covered them with so much scribbling that you couldn’t really see them. It was good to work from real things. We had various bits of dried vegetation and I chose the teasles as they are local and important around here, being used in the weaving industry.
The big pictures were fun, but the two little ones of individual flower heads were better.
We had a heap of over 30 animal skulls from the local art college. We had to draw them in a range of media. First, five skulls in dry media. Graphite, dry pigment, chalk, coffee and just a little ink work
Then take one skull and fill the page with it, using household emulsion paints ad ink applied with a large feather. Some was done with the tip of a quill, but most was done with the feathery end. There were a few minutes left at the end, so I sketched in a little one in the empty corner.
It is a very mixed media class. I’m the only man there.