Working on pastels today, with an excellent model. The same one we had for the workshop on “Drawing Like Raphael”. Can hold a difficult pose and looks very renaissance, if you ignore the tattoos and, shall we just say, acoutriments. First a white chalk structural drawing, then colour applied and blended in, which would not be my chosen technique, but it can work.
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.
Spent a pleasant afternoon at the Lansdown drop in life class. Very good model, who everybody enjoyed drawing. She said she ached terribly after sitting stock still for three hours. I decided to do just a single, detailed pencil drawing, which is not usual for me. Just a little bit of highlighting with white chalk, which doesn’t really show.
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.
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.
This is a study in pure charcoal drawing. The body is blocked in with charcoal powder on cotton wool. Then highlights taken out with a putty rubber and shadows put in with stick charcoal. I have been trying out the outrageously marketed and priced Nitram charcoal. It is OK, but no more than that. It is not as black as compressed charcoal, which I used on her hair, or a subtle as willow charcoal, which I used almost everywhere else. I’ll stick with it, to give it a fair run, but can’t say I’m initially impressed.
I went to the Saturday life class on Stroud today, to get my hand in. Drawing a good looking young man with very long, unkempt hair. Excellent model, he could hold a pose indefinitely. He reminded me of me, many, many years ago.