Tag Archives: pastel

Afternoon life class

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.

Thursday drawing

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.

A long love affair with a drawing

Just over two years ago I produced one of my favourite drawings at a life class. I called her Neuroscience┬ábecause she actually was a neuroscientist, taking a gap, working at an art centre between finishing her bachelor’s degree and starting her master’s.

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I love the relaxed pose and the thoughtful expression. I’ve put her into an exhibition and was relieved that she didn’t sell. I don’t really want to part with her.

I’ve based more works on this image than any other I have done. The first was a mixed media work, with rectangles of handmade paper pasted onto a canvas and then over-painted with acrylic.

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There was no plan to this image, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I loved the outcome. With a great imaginative flair, I called her Neuroscience 2. She hangs in our bathroom, which seems appropriate for a nude.

Next I tried a pastel on pastel board. Quite a different effect and I love the colour, but it’s not my favourite of the series. Yes, Neuroscience 3

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After that I discovered relief printing for the first time, and a version of my girl was one of my first linocuts, and still one of my favourites. I’ve tried her in various colours and with modifications to the block, which is one of the pleasures of printing. Yup, Neuroscience 4.

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I let her lie for a long while after that, but recently she returned, in a very grand way. I’ve become obsessed with graphite pencil drawing over the last few weeks. After a variety of still lifes and copies of photos and paintings, I thought it was time to give my girl another outing. This time I thought I would exploit the potential of pencil for intricate detail to give her a complete figure and some sort of context. It all got a bit out of hand because you can keep modifying pencil if you use good paper. I added and subtracted all sorts of elements, including a large Indian bronze bowl, which eventually bit the dust.

Below is the finished image, with some of the development work below. I needed a new title, so I think she is now the Queen of the Nudists. She’s hanging over my drawing board.

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Headless no more

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.

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