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.
I often go through phases where I just want to copy work by an artist I admire. I very much admire Degas, and recently bought a catalogue of an exhibition of his nudes held in Boston a few years ago. They are astonishing. I’ve been exploring them in pencil. The more I look, the more I am amazed.
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.
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.