Saturday, 30 June 2007

Standing Nude

This afternoon I spent an amazing two hours in my studio, with a pieve of plywood about 3 feet tall, which I'd already primed, painting this standing nude.
I decided only to depict the right side of it, and I looked up mixing flesh tones in the colour book I'd been given for my birthday, and used the red and blue to mix the background, and from that, move into the flesh tone mix for the lightest areas.
Towards the end I used my fingers to smooth the skin areas, and I looked at the painting in a mirror a few times to check what I'd done.
Again, I'm amazed at how much I enjoyed the whole process, even the slow squaring up at the beguinning in charcoal. I'm now happy with the skin tones, and I want to look more at my next model to gaugue the colours on the shadows, instead of making them up.
I'm very happy with the head, right arm and left leg. I'm still rubbish at feet, because I'm avoiding them.

Finished canvas

Here's the male nude photographed in natural light, as promised.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Getting the urge to paint

It's happening to me more and more these weeks. I'm not thinking of things I see in terms of drawings, but in terms of paintings. I'm looking at colour, and depth, and shadow, not in terms of lines like I used to.

Here's my latest work. I decided to merge the line where the background meets the body form again in areas like the armpit, and really looked at the reason shadows were where they were, describing muscles.

As you can see from the stages I've photographed, I drew the form in charcoal on the white canvas, then blocked in the background first, leaving some movement in the reds & greens so as not to make it too flat, but not to distract from the body. Then I started using the same background mix, but adding a lot of yellow and put in the main highlighted areas. Then, working on the whole piece at once, moving from the back to the lower legs, to the arm, over to the back again & the buttocks....... I pulled it all together. I'll photograph it again in natural light later so you can get a better idea of the finished piece.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Now this is drawing from life

My son was sat making a birthday card from his Grandma, so I had a chance to grab some charcoal and sketch him. I knew it was working while I was drawing it (I love that feeling) and I've really captured him. Again, this as a sheet of A2 lining paper.

Can everyone please sit still so that I can draw you. That's why I used to draw my parents a lot, while dad was reading the paper or mum was napping after teatime.

I have also been spending some time in my garage studio, tidying up, collecting oddments of paper and card together. I'm also collecting 'business' envelopes I get through the post, because the insides are printed with amazing geometric designs in blue. I want to use them to cover some handmade notebooks I have in the pipeline.
Another thing I've been doing is looking at other artists Blogs. I've picked up some fascinating techniques, and last night I covered some cheap sugar paper with layers of acrylic, ready for drawing & painting over the top of. It felt like a very 'art student' thing to do.
While I was Sunderland Uni (it was a Polytechnic when I was in my first year, just before Polys were converted to Uni's in the UK) and it was a split site, with the 'academic' site round Wearmouth Hall, and the 'arts' subjects were at Backhouse Park. I was proud that us art students were referred to as 'Fraggles' because of our colourful & raggedy appearance.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Pastels rediscovered

Here's more of my work from my figure photos. The statuesque poses remind me of some of Lucian Freud's work. I'm not interested in the skin textures though, it's the musculature that is exciting me-the tenseness in the lower legs, the shoulders and lower back.
I want to draw from life though, as I still think these drawings look slightly 'dead' and 'flat'. I thought this yesterday, and then Lisa made a similar comment. Thanks Lisa - how can you see inside my head like that?
I've looked on other people's art blogs and found that a happy medium is to make preparatory drawings from life, with a couple of reference photos taken after, then back to the studio with both. The preliminary sketches capture what the artist 'saw' in the scene, and they'll refer to the photo occasionally, but work mainly from the drawings done in situ. This is a way of keeping the life in the painting.
Mel also suggested working really big. I have a compressed charcoal stick that is as thick as my thumb, which is wonderful to use. I must remember what my cousin Amy said, to draw with my whole arm, not just using fingers and wrists.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Not life drawing

I had to cancel the life drawing at the last minute, but managed to spend some time drawing from my figure photos. Here's some, more later.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Finished canvas

Last night I looked at the canvas of the two torsos I'd started in May and could see what needed doing. So here's the result.

When I'd finished I looked at it in the mirror and saw that there was some imbalance, but after a cup of tea and a think, I decided to leave it as it was, because if I corrected each side to match, it would become sterile.

I also over-painted the yellow background with a neutral flesh tone, merging into the figures.

It's pretty much what I had in my head, which means this is the first painting I've composed and executed totally. I must sign & date it. I felt like staying up all night, ignoring phone calls, drinking lots off coffee, and starting another three canvases which I now have in my head. But real life demands come first.

Life is good though - I have a friend sitting for me on Thursday for some life drawing, and yesterday I stumbled across a chap at work who is a fellow artist & is eager to get together & share ideas. Life is very good.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Male nude

Using an 8B pure graphite stick, I rendered these using only tones, working from photos I took recently.

Choosing a starting point I working my way round the figure, accentuating shadow in one place, leaving bare paper in others. It's nice to work in a medium I'm familiar with, but in a new way; tonally rather than 'drawing lines'.

I drew on cheap watercolour paper as it has a good 'tooth' to pick up the graphite, and it allowed fair amount of re-working before the surface texture flattened.

Yes, I think I am happy with these and, as usual, I now want to work these figures on a larger scale.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Drawing what's in front of me

As my dad, Bill, suggested I then drew what was in front of me. The socked foot was first, and though it's not a good drawing, I've included it to show how I loosened up as I progressed.

I found my feet fascinating, I've never looked at them so intently before, not that they're that far away from my face, barely five feet. I love the big toe on my left foot, and the way my toes huddle together. The last drawing I did reminds me of Albrecht Durer's study of praying hands.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Back in the saddle again

As you can see I started sketching again, sat in front of a huge mirror and drawing me drawing. I feel like I've broken through the barrier I'd built up out of nowhere. But it was a real barrier. Thank you for all your support, it made a huge impact on me.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Wanted- inspiration & motivation

Why am I not painting? Or drawing? Why am I apprehensive again? Someone give me a prod up the buttocks please.
On the good side, I now have some photos of a male torso to work from. And a promise from another male to sit for some life studies for me. So now I need to make time to start working again. I also want to finish the canvas I started. I suppose it's only been about three weeks since I last painted but it feels like forever. I've been taking my sketchbook out with me, but I can't seem to 'see' anything to draw.
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