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.
I was not pleased with these after I drew them, but in reflection they aren’t so bad. I am not a flower artist…
The flowers are actually under the muslin, which was our first exercise, just using white chalk on black paper.
Then all was revealed and I floundered, trying a pastel drawing of the whole lot. It really didn’t go anywhere.
So finally I just drew the hyacinth in charcoal, and when it looked reasonable, I scrubbed in some pastel colour. I find the problem with floral painting is that there is no anatomy or structure I can wrap my mind round, so my hand doesn’t know what it is trying to do.
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.
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.
We were attempting pastel portraits today. I used the vertical feathering technique I have tried on various other subjects, and it seemed to work quite well. Is my preferred pastel technique now.
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.