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.


Lisa said...

I love pastel and I can see more depth in this set than the previous. The calf on the top drawing is great. I think you're absolutely right about using a combination of life and photos. That seems to be what a lot of the plein air painters do with landscapes. These are lovely -- and I'm so glad my comment resonated and didn't make you mad at me!

Melanie Rimmer said...

Photography is a wonderful medium and really talented photographers can capture some amazing images. But it's a very different skill than painting or drawing and I wouldn't expect anybody to excel at both.

One of the things I love about good paintings are their ability to capture more than a photo can. Information about the past and the future as well as just the moment. Information about the inside of people as well as their outside. And information about the artist as well as the subject.

If you're working from photos some of that information is lost before you ever start drawing. I'm sure they have their uses to the painter, but life studies are indispensible.

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