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.
I don’t like Burne Jones that much, but he was a superb draughtsman. His figure of Andromeda is outstanding, if questionable. Her choice is to be eaten by a dragon, or given as a sexual possession to the stranger who turned up to take that possession. I think her pose indicates her feelings about this Hobson’s choice, so maybe Burne Jones thought the same. Her hand positions seem to indicate that she knows what comes next.
I decided to make a straight, gridded-up copy of her in pencil, largely as a challenge to see if I could capture a coloured oil painting in monochrome graphite.
I was pleased with the way it was working out, so I bought myself some really soft pencils and finished her. I left out the chains, partly because they are really hard to draw, but largely because I hate the idea of chains and restraint. The rendering of her feet is astonishing, and I find feet really difficult to draw, so I worked hard to see how EBJ drew them. Cleaned up, she almost looks like an engraving.
I went to Slimbridge two or three times a week during November and early December, and really worked on my bird drawing. Mainly dry media although I still take all of my watercolour kit with me . I find it hugely satisfying.
The drawing process itself is thoroughly enjoyable , but you also learn so much more about the birds just by studying them so closely and intently for a long period. The colour and pattern on some of the birds , such as shelduck or lapwings , is just staggering. Even drab looking greylag geese have the most beautiful feather patterns.
I haven’t used simple pencil drawing all that much, but over the last few weeks I’ve been falling in love with it. First at Susan Kester’s drawing class, where we were simply practising gridding a photograph to produce an accurate copy of it. I used a photo I had taken of Furzey island in Poole Harbour over the summer. Susan showed me a technique for skidding the pencil over the paper to produce feathery marks, and I was hooked.
I think, as for most artists , it is the range of tones you can produce which is so satisfying . Not just with different pencil grades, but with careful use of a putty rubber to knock back certain areas.
The next was simply drawing what was in front of us , in this case some basic Christmas bits and pieces on the table. The silver bauble brought out my inner Escher as it were.
Again this is all about tones and marks.
There will be more…
In amongst work on my boats, I’ve managed to do some drawing today. I went to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust at Slimbridge, which is just down the road from us, and had a go at painting some of the birds from life. Not brilliant, but it’s a start. I shall go back over the winter to see the migrants.
In the evening, I went to the Stroud Life Drawing drop in session for the first time in a long time. We had a lovely model, which made a nice contrast to the middle aged men that I seem to have been drawing in life classes for years. I used pencil to try a tonal drawing, which is not usual for me. Worked quite well and was fun to do.
Start of a new session with Susan Kester. Looking at negative space and basic pencil rendering. I was late, so couldn’t complete a whole drawing in the time.