Friday, 29 May 2015

An exceptional evening

With it being half-term at the Omega I took the chance to visit the Pallant House gallery in Chichester where they were hosting the above performance piece. Artist Sue Maclaine told the story of model and muse Henrietta Moraes, in character, pausing every so often to recreate some of the poses from works by Bacon, Freud, and Hamblin, with whom she had worked and lived, for us in the audience to draw in turn. Hers was a fascinating, tragic life and having it told in this way reinforced the memory of the artist's model as more than solely an object to make art from.

Henrietta Moraes died in 1999.

My drawings from the session:

Firstly, three one-minute poses to warm up. Then this second image which was based on
the pose in the Lucien Freud work "Girl in a Blanket".

Followed by a semi-reclining pose based on Bacon's portrait:

The poses held for quite short periods so were in the nature of quick, warm-up exercises
but I'm pleased with how they turned out.

It was quite an experience.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drapery, line and wash

Although I wasn't really playing the game at first because I wanted to try out my new compressed charcoal stick. I'm very impressed with it; easy to use and nowhere near as "dusty" as regular charcoal but still blendable enough and moveable with a water brush.
The main focus of the session was supposed to be the depiction of drapery but the drapery in question was a thin scarf and quite small, so challenging to make look convincing with more wrinkles than folds.
These first two are principally charcoal and wash on brown paper.

This reclining pose was done with pen and ink wash with added charcoal.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Shadows and light reprised

A year or so ago, in the life class, we worked in extreme lighting conditions to try and bring out the full range of tones. Last night we did the same in our clothed figure class.
Aiming for something approaching the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio, but in quite a light room without the dark background from which the light of the model can emerge, and with my paper not being particularly dark, the results tend to look like strangely isolated pools of dark in a sea of light rather than the preferred reverse. The shadows can appear bizarrely exaggerated as your eye cannot quite adjust to the dissonance between the image and the background. A fellow student used a mid-tone brown paper and her loose style with the pastels produced a much more balanced and impressive work than mine. A lesson there.

We had three poses, none of which were quite long enough fully to get to grips with, and the last pose was such an awkward position the model understandably couldn't hold it for very long. The costume for the first two also had quite a complex pattern, which was a bit distracting. So these are all a bit incomplete and, again, are images taken quickly on a fairly average phone camera - I can assure you the originals look better!

Friday, 8 May 2015


Another exercise.
Draw the shape that the model fits into.
Make a contour drawing of the model within that shape.
Make interesting.

Several short poses later with the model in various crouching positions:

Very happy with this, and it got lots of positive feedback on the night. I think this, following on from last week, is one of the more useful exercises in that it makes you see the overall shape and size of your model better, helping with proportion.
Incidentally, she was wearing a loose, smock-like dress and large straw hat.

The next drawing was over a longer time scale, reclining, different clothing.
Same idea, work out the overall shape then complete the drawing.

I was at the "foot end", tricky, but again I'm very pleased with this. 
I do like a thick black line, it just seems to work for me. This (and the first) was done in Conté with lots of smearing finger work.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Blind, mass, negative

A series of exercises this time, all designed to help make drawing a  more intuitive process, practising again and again drawing blind, with either hand followed by focussing on the mass of the object (in this case of course, a person) and then remembering the negative shapes that go to make up the outline of your subject.
So none of these drawings are particularly brilliant but if I can remember and employ the thought processes behind each technique next time I make a drawing it should help achieve a better result.

Not great photos either, I'm afraid.