These three girls will be going into an exhibition of life drawing in Stroud next March. The two on the left were done about two years ago, I think, and she dozing on the right about nine months ago. All are various combinations of soft pastel and charcoal.
I went along to the Stroud life drawing session tonight. Not many people because of the atrocious weather. But a lovely model who I have drawn before. She has wonderful hair. One day I will just try to draw that. A pleasure not to be drawing another middle aged man.
Our model was ill, so Mark Kelland, our tutor, modelled for us. He took his jumper off and told us that was all we were getting…
Working in pastels. Drawing a clothed model is really quite challenging, all that coloured cloth and folds.
Not perfect, but who is? There are parts that I don’t like, but if you don’t know what they are, you probably won’t notice.
I’ve started working on repairing my poor headless girl. I knew drastic measures were needed, or I would simply redraw all of the errors. So I copied some of Degas’ techniques, on the basis that no one has ever done pastels better than him. I traced the photograph of the girls head off my tablet, and then transferred this to the painting with a yellow transfer paper (yes, Degas used photographs and tracings. Many of his best pictures are actually on teaching paper, with masses of fixative spray on them to keep everything in place. If it’s good enough for him, it’s more than good enough for me.)
This resulted in a much smaller head than I had originally drawn. You can still see a shadow of that above her. Now I am working pastel over it. It needs to be fixed, not so much to protect it as to give a tooth for the pastel to grip on. She isn’t finished, but it’s not far off. I want her to look much more abstract than I drew before. Nearly there at last.
I finished this lady some weeks ago, and liked her very much, but I was never happy with her head. It’s too big overall and her facial features are just too heavy and masculine.
I tried various alterations but never satisfactory. Hard to match the pastel finish in any case. So I went back to basics, and painted out her face with gesso, to start all over again.
That gave a good drawing surface, but that doesn’t guarantee a good drawing. Try as l might, the face still eludes me.
So extreme measures called for. I’ve finally decapitated the poor girl and will try all over again. Not sure how it will work. I was tempted to paint a brown paper bag over her head, but that seems a shame. Maybe a Modigliani mask? We shall see.