Saturday, 5 December 2009

The mountaineer and the circus performer

Just the alternate occupations of a couple of our recent life models. Sadly the Mountaineer (also known as the Naked Man) wont be modelling for us any longer as he has plans for Scotlands peaks. I always thought yoga was a good background for life models but mountain climbers also have the right stuff. So this was a fairly long pose, nearly 90 minutes, charcoal on paper. I was concentrating on the subtleties of the shadows as we had a nice lighting arrangment.

Just a couple of things from the last workshop in Swindon. It was a vile day weather wise and I nearly concussed myself on my boot lid getting my things out when I arrived and aslo managed to throw hot coffee down myself. We had the elegant and athletic Jade modeling for us and started with the usual five minute warm ups.

Unfortunately despite her excellent health and athleticism our part time circus performer suffered an excrutiating muscle spasm before this pose in oils was complete. She was OK in the end but was unable to do any more modelling. The organiser Rosemary stepped in and saved the day but nothing could save my day so I will spare you my efforts from the afternoon. Thats it for life now till the new year, where on earth did this year go?

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Naked Man

I've been a bit quiet lately so I thought I would tell you a bit about my new weekly life class. Its a new class in a local community college and is tutored by a professional artist and adult educator. There are not many participants and it was on and off a couple of times before it actually commenced so I am hoping it will continue as so far I have found it to be very good. Its calm and organised, well planned and structured and with good well timed poses. It seems that I am the 'experienced' one in the class as until Nice Foreign Lady returned from holiday last week I was the only one who had done life drawing before.

This week we had a male model and Nervous Lady was worried and said she had only ever seen her husband naked. I tried to reassure her and told her she would soon find it the most natural thing in the world. Having been doing only long poses (an hour plus) the last few weeks I was surprised we suddenly changed to doing short poses, but not as surprised as the rest of them. I remember that panicky flustered feeling - 'how on earth are you supposed to draw a body in 10 minutes?' The model seemed a bit of a live wire, pulling in his stomach as the tutor was explaining the roundness of the form etc and joking throughout – quite unusual I thought. The most unusual thing though was in the breaks he just wandered around the quite tight space in the drawing area completely naked looking at our work and chatting away to us. I have never known a model not to put some sort of gown on and I was quite intrigued about how Nervous Lady was going to react but fortunately she was cool.

Anyway, at packing up time we found out that the guy wasn’t a professional model at all, had never done it before and was a friend of the tutor who had driven about 40 miles to stand in for a missing model. That explained a few things but he was a nice guy, a great sport and an excellent model who could easily turn professional. He kept really still and held the poses well and would definately be welcomed back.

I was chatting to a very experienced model a few months ago and he says although its daft he always has to go into another room or the Gents to change into his gown, even though he is going to be nude infront of everyone a few moments later. Strange etiquette in this line of work eh?

So here are a couple from this session, both ten minutes and the one long pose from last week - about an hour and a half. Charcoal on A3 approx.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Sketches from vintage photos

These frame up quite nicely and have possibilites with multiple mats and colours. Been getting into doing a bit of that since I was given a mat cutter. Not sure I have the time to learn woodwork as well though.
9 x 12" conte on canson paper

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Nearly Life

Started with a new life class a couple of weeks ago, unfortunately the model was ill last week so we worked from photos but I think this is going to be a good group. The session is very calm and relaxed and therefore should be conducive to producing some good work and the tutor is very knowledgeable. I have struggled to get to grips with charcoal and even considered changing medium for life classes but really there is nothing better. Hopefully the purchase of Henry Yan's Figure Drawing Techniques and Tips book is going to help me with a breakthrough, already I have extended my tools to include charcoal pencils, compressed charcoal as well as vine and if I can just find the right paper too I should be laughing. Watch this space!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

My new funky sketchbook

I saw David Hockney sketching hedgerows in a book like this and thought it was pretty cool. So this is my little 8" x 6" body parts book full of studies of John H Vanderpoel drawings from the book The Human Figure. A neat size for airports and airplanes. The last one is 18" x 24" and not quite travel size.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Portrait of Mother

This was how it was left nearly a year ago....
...finally finished
Oil on Canvas 18 x 24"

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Monday, 28 September 2009

Sketchy September

Not done very much at all this month, but I have bought a 12" square black sketchbook and a few conte crayons to have a play with. These may not be finished, I'll see how it goes.

Here's one I did earlier in the year in the style of Pierre Paul Prud'hon. (1758 - 1823)
Charcoal and pastel on blue paper

A study of an original Prud'hon

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Finishing off a few things

Roland - An excellent reference photo care of WetCanvas and good drawing practice for me.
Red - Been working on this on and off for a while, she is a composite woman and totally unrecognisable from the original photo ref, another experiment to see what I can do 'off piste'. I am noticing how nearly all my women have red hair, not sure why that is but I see no reason to change.
Fantasy - Well I just couldnt leave this one alone, its been bugging me a while as I kinda liked her but not him. It was only ever a bit of an experiment but I seem to have spent longer on this than anything else lately. I went to see the J W Waterhouse exhibition at the Royal Academy last week and whilst not being a major fan of either the pre-Raphaelites or the Modern pre-Raphaelite as Waterhouse is billed as it was a very interesting and enjoyable exhibition. Now I have a study to finish, more research to do and many questions to answer and other connected artists to bone up on. Anyway, one of the things I noticed was how Waterhouse often painted his men in very subdued colouring and tones compared to his young women who have the brightest lighting and most luminous skin and therefore centre stage. So that was part of the reason for my Eureka moment for the rework on this piece (that and something pretty amazing Michael Newberry is working on now) and then a quick rename and I think I can leave it alone now.

Roland - Graphite on Ingres Pastel Paper 16 x 12"

Red - 16 x 20" Pastel on Suede
Fantasy - Pastel on Clairfontaine Pastelmat 12 x 18"

Sunday, 30 August 2009

A quiet month

Well I havent really got much to show for the last few weeks. Done quite a few scribbles and sketches but nothing respectable for public consumption. However I have also been looking at the work of Georges Seurat and Fred Dalkey which led me to do these two drawings which were adapted from vintage photos. I thought I would use the heavily textured side of the pastel paper for added effect and I am quite pleased with the results so will no doubt do some more work along these lines.

Conte on pastel paper 9 x 12"

Thought I would play around with this one a bit more - not entirely happy with it but think I have gone as far as I can with the limitations of the paper and the size.
Pastel on Clairfontaine Pastelmat 12 x 18"

Friday, 7 August 2009

August Life Drawing Workshop

A few edited highlights from this months Modelled me workshop in Swindon. Despite setting off in plenty of time to arrive early the M4 was unexpectedly closed between two junctions and I had to do a tour of the Wiltshire countryside before arriving just in the nick of time. Not a great start but at least I made it, I found out later it was a nasty accident.
The standard of the models and professionalism of these workshops really is superb, models who can keep statue still and offer interesting and varied poses make the world of difference. This month we had Rosemarie, second to none. I am hoping to develop some of the sketches and studies I do at life classes, maybe the last one could be 'woman leaves burning building in the middle of the night'!

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Rainforest Collection

They didnt quite turn out how I planned, the idea was to do cutesy but authentic rainforest creatures suitable for a babys room but I just couldnt help myself doing them realistically. So I wont hold my breath waiting for Disney to call but I am quite pleased with them. Maybe the parents-to-be can put them away for 5 years or so.

Acrylic on canvas 10 x 12"