Wednesday, 11 December 2013

In Bruges, and a lesson learned

I spent a few days in Bruges last week doing all the usual touristy stuff (and one or two unusual things), and had a really nice time. Get the early Eurostar and you can be there by lunchtime; well worth it. Anyway, we visited the Dali exhibition which was full of eye-opening drawings and lithographs, almost all of which I'd not seen anywhere else. There was the obligatory visit to the Groeninge Museum and a well curated journey through the history of Flemish art; including seeing just how great Jan van Eyck was. There was also the Arendthuis museum, not what I'd expected, but which was showing paired exhibitions of the printmakers Frank Brangwyn and Jules de Bruckyer (to my eyes, a revelation).

And then there was the lesson. I very nearly didn't bother to go into the Church of Our Lady. It is being heavily restored, it's freezing, half the art is covered up, half the building is inaccessible, the entry is still €2 (down from €6) and yet, nestled in a fairly standard red marble altarpiece is the most exquisite little madonna and child by Michelangelo which, although you cannot get close to it (and this is a poor photo), was not covered and made the visit entirely worthwhile. 

The lesson is this: never pass up the opportunity to see a Michelangelo work; it'll make your heart sing. 
For a while at least.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

End of term

So that's it, classes over for another term.
Two reclining poses for the last one; the idea being that we try and stretch the perspective a bit - emphasise the near and allow the distant to fade or blur.
I don't think I quite have the angle for either pose to really stretch it. But I twisted the torso and stretch the arm of the first pose, and tried to coax the figure out of a cloud of charcoal for the second.

I now have several weeks of berating myself for not doing any work.
(After Bruges anyway).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Back to basics

Sort of.
In the normal course of events the sessions this term may have seemed to have been given in reverse. Last night we worked on measurement and proportion, something you may think one should start with, however having worked our way through chiaroscuro, negative space, boundaries, straight lines etc., once we started measuring the subject, it all started to fall in to place.

Next week is the last before Christmas.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Straight lines

The next phase in our discovery of the different ways of representing form was to use only straight lines to draw the figure. Ruler in hand trying to both achieve the right contour whilst also representing the third dimension.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

At arm's length

Tonight's class challenged us to make marks using charcoal, chalk and/or wet media attached to the end of a stick or cane. The first is charcoal and ochre and white pastel:

The second is Indian ink, charcoal, and ochre, white and pink pastel on blue paper:

The ink was applied using one of those fluffy promotional goggley-eyed things taped to a bamboo cane!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Gravity night

Tonight's first exercise was to explore the effect of gravity on the body. The result is a pair of drawings ostensibly of a seated figure BUT, the one on the right was actually drawn while the model was lying down in a seated pose. The result shows up any flaws in your depiction of weight and I'm quite pleased with mine.

Next was a pose based on the Thinker. Less successful this one, requiring quite a radical adjustment of the leg length. The pose wasn't brilliant either; too closed, especially from my angle. Anyway;

Finally, a rapid reclining pose. Quite pleased with this.

(I'm also quite pleased with my heads this week)

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Here's the thing

The trouble is, much as I love to draw, no-one has ever sat me down and shown me how to do it - not since school anyway, and then it was things not people.
This is manifesting itself as having terrible trouble getting the model's head right - sometimes it's just awful. I have resolved to fix this mental block though so am determined it doesn't become an issue.
Anyway. last night went quite well (apart from the head thing) and I also realised that I'm ok with the very short poses and with the much longer ones, it's those 10 minute ones that, bizarrely, I have trouble with. I'm not sure why!

Quite pleased with the legs though.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Week Three

Quite a difficult week for a couple of reasons; one, I was suffering with a cold, tiredness and quite a bad headache making concentration a real challenge. Secondly, the exercise itself proved more challenging than maybe it should. 
The exercise was to assess and draw the boundary of the area occupied by the model. Then, using this shape, draw the model within it. There were a few short poses (model crawling) and then a longer seated pose.
Drawing the shape the model should fit into seems simple enough but if you get the shape wrong it's very difficult to get the body right, even though you're supposed to realise the error and adjust the drawing. 
It's odd that having set what was really an arbitrary boundary, it was so difficult to rethink the box, to think outside it.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

This week's class

Lovely class tonight. A welcome distraction indeed.
Focus was on drawing blind, creating body and the negative space.

This is several blind drawings of three poses overlaid.

Using the side of a stick of charcoal, the aim was to build up the body shape.
And finally,

A reclining pose, trying to concentrate on the negative space.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Back in the swing

New term, new venue.
The class has moved to the Omega Centre, a more suitable venue and a better space in which to work.
Felt great getting back into the swing of drawing.

Tonight was all about movement, gesture and contour.

Everything was very quick, very fluid, and for me it was all about trying to get loose again after too long a time not drawing from life. 
Thoroughly enjoyable evening despite the weird new easels!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Remember that lino?

I'm going to make an Amsterdam scene with my big piece of lino. This is the marking up about 80% done and I expect the cutting will take a fair while.
In other news, the life classes start again tomorrow; now called "experimental" rather than "advanced", it will be good to get stuck in to the drawing again.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Omega Printmaker's Exhibition

Quick visit to the Omega Printmakers Exhibition at Portsmouth Cathedral today. Searing heat outside gave way to welcome coolness as we went in to what is a very interesting selection of printmaker's work. Also caught up with Amanda and Mary, which was nice.

I've ordered some lino, so it must have been at least a little inspiring!

An experiment

I thought it might be fun to doodle various parts of a person's face separately and then see if I could reassemble them later. So I took the resulting scribbles and dropped them into Illustrator:

Could be worse, but I'm not sure the subject would agree!

Friday, 5 July 2013

And then there was the portraiture

Midway through the life drawing course the tutor, Chris Wood , ran a portraiture workshop. I was nervous about it but really welcomed the opportunity to work on drawing heads and faces, which I worry is a considerable weakness of mine. 
The result of the workshop was this:

I was reasonably pleased with it and was even happier when the model was obviously thrilled 
("Oh wow, thank you!"),

Since then I've had a stab at a "selfie" in acrylics:

Not as successful, but not too bad.

Life drawing notes

The last 10 or so weeks I have been taking a life drawing class. Seems simple enough doesn't it? However, although it was billed as an advanced class, it became clear very quickly that it was much more experimental than that (we had also managed to join what was actually the third term of a year's course). 
The first class was all about scale and was brilliant. I did this:
and this:

I found it really liberating to work at such a scale (the first of these is A0) and the release was intoxicating.

As the course went on, more and more emphasis was placed on other influences on drawing interpretation like, memory, sound, light, line and space:

Some of the weeks were very challenging indeed!

After a couple of years of not doing anything much this was both a hugely welcome opportunity, and a massive challenge; sometimes I felt like I was thrashing about in the deep end trying not to drown. 

It starts again in September, this time from (more or less) the beginning, although I suspect not 'first principles'.

And I can't wait.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

There's comfort in melancholy

My life is a heady mix of terror and pragmatism spiced with brief interludes of joy.
When I get round to it I'll blog here about art. Mostly mine.