Sunday, 31 March 2013

Recent Exercises in Oil and the Subjective Study

Relaxing On One Arm - Gesture Drawing
23 March 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
28cm x 24cm (11" x 9.5")

I am enjoying the exercises in oil from the Natural Way to Draw (see More Exercises in Oil).

Facing Away - Gesture Drawing
23 March 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
28cm x 32cm (11" x 12.5")

The bristle brushes I bought for the exercises have started to wear out. They are looking scruffy and will no longer form a straight edge. This has forced me to loosen up and to stop trying to draw neat and precise lines - which has improved the drawings.

Leaning on a Chair - Half-hour Study
10 March 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
33cm x 33cm (13" x 13")

The half hour study is one of my favourite exercises. You can get a lot done with oil paints in half an hour. At the end, I am usually aware of some fundamental structural problem with the drawing, but the results are interesting and characterful.

Sustained Study - Section 23 - Modelled Drawing
13 March 2013
Oil Colour on Paper
53cm x 25.5cm (21" x 10")

The modelled drawing in oil is a continuing challenge. The studies tend to start well, but by the end, there is always too much paint on the paper. At times, I still struggle with the basics of modelling with white and imagining a single light source, but this is getting easier.

Section 24 introduces the Subjective Study. It is a bit like a word association test. You look at the model and then draw the first thing that comes into your head. You look at the model again, look at the drawing and then draw something else. You can also explore further. If you look at the subject and you think of a fish, rather than draw the fish, you try to abstract (and draw) the quality (gesture) that made you think of a fish.

The objective of the exercise is to more actively involve the subconscious mind and to see and represent the model “in a manner more personally truthful” than in the other exercises.

Subjective Study - Section 23
29 March 2013
Pastel and Graphite Pencil on Paper
42cm x 59.5cm (16.5" x 23.5")

Elaine and Felix (the cat) relaxing on the sofa were the inspiration for this study. I’ve no idea whether a subjective study is supposed to look like this, but I suspect there is no right and wrong. I probably became too bogged down in the beach theme. It would have been interesting to explore what was common in Elaine and Felix’s postures, but that was not what came to mind during the exercise.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Shelford Group of Artists Easter Exhibition 2013

On The Mud (Wells-next-the-Sea)
Watercolour on Paper
27cm x 30cm (6.5" x 12")

This is one of the pictures I am exhibiting in the Shelford Group of Artists Easter Exhibition.

I posted a version of the picture last April (see On the Mud). Since then it has had a radical haircut - Across the Trent suffered a similar fate before the 2012 exhibition (see Shelford Group of Artists Easter Exhibition 2012).

Choosing exhibits from the previous year's paintings is an enjoyable experience. It is a chance to reflect on each of the pictures. It is satisfying to find paintings that can be improved by re-cropping or by adding some finishing touches.
The other pictures I am exhibiting are:

Three of the pictures were painted in group meetings and four were painted at home.

The exhibition is in Shelford Village Hall (NG12 1EN) and is open between 10am and 4 pm on Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

If you get the chance, please pop in. I will be there between 10am and noon on Sunday.

Hyacinths (Work In Progress)
Watercolour on Paper
25cm x 34cm (10" x 13")

I've made some progress on the still life with hyacinth's (see Not Still Life)

The picture is at a make or break point. There are some important reflections and shadows to add to the bottle and then I have to decide how to finish it.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Not Still Life

Coconut Palm
Watercolour and Ink on Paper
14cm x 28cm (5.5" x 11")

Maggie Latham's tutorials on Ink and Wash were the inspiration for this picture.

I’ve not had the time to follow all the exercises, but they are interesting reading and I am experimenting with some of Maggie’s suggestions.

The picture is completely different to my previous ink and wash drawings (see  Ye Old Dog & Partridge and Holiday Sketch).

For this study, I drew the palm with an old sharpened twig and applied the watercolour washes with a dainty decorating brush that Elaine gave me for Christmas.

My Tools

I had not intended to post the drawing. My plan was to present a picture from yesterday’s gathering of the Shelford Group of Artists, but I didn’t finish anything. The subject for the day was Still Life and I spent most of the day drawing.

Hyacinths (Work In Progress)
Watercolour on Paper
25cm x 34cm (10" x 13")

Who would have guessed that bottles and flowers could be so complicated? Why didn’t they tell me?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Modelling the Straight and Curve

One Leg Hanging
Modelling the Straight and Curve (10-Minute Pose)
9 March 2013
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
20.5cm x 38cm (8" x 15")

Modelling the Straight and Curve is a continuation of the Straight and Curved Lines exercise from the Natural Way to Draw.

The study is drawn with a lithograph crayon, which was the main modelling tool in the early exercises, but I don’t think I’ve touched one in over a year.

The exercise begins as a gesture drawing using straight and curved lines and continues into a stylised form of modelling.

Kimon Nicolaides does not provide much guidance for how to model in this exercise. He says it is important for the drawing to develop from the student’s feeling and understanding for the pose.

The objectives are to emphasize the form and to create a well-balanced design – which I interpret to mean a pleasing and approximately equal split of straight and curved lines.

Crawling Along
Modelling the Straight and Curve (5-Minute Pose)
9 March 2013
Lithograph Crayon on Paper
23cm x 24cm (9" x 9.5")

 It would be easy to devise a method for modelling in this exercise and to apply it to all poses, but Nicolaides stresses this is not the point. He has a wonderful turn of phrase - “This should be no cheap imitation arrived at by conscious distortion, but an effort to comprehend the gesture in a fresh way”.

Yesterday was an important milestone in Elaine and my progress through the book. We passed the 90% post. The end is in sight.

Elaine didn’t have a clue  what she was letting herself in for when I nonchalantly asked if she would pose for me. I am eternally grateful to her. (I don't know why I've drawn her in the Pope's hat in the second picture)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Predominating Shape

Leaning For 5 Minutes
Predominating Shape (5-Minute Pose)
19 February 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
35.5cm x 28cm (14" x 11")

The Predominating Shape exercise from Section 23 of the Natural Way to Draw is a gesture study based on 1 and 5 minute poses. It is a variation of the Straight and Curved Lines exercise. Instead of looking for one straight or curved line that runs through the entire figure, you look for a predominating two-dimensional shape. The shape may encapsulate the whole figure or an important part of the pose. The predominating shape does not have to be a perfect geometrical shape, but I think it has to be a relatively simple shape.

After you have identified the predominating shape, you continue in the same way as in the Straight and Curved lines exercise to add complimentary straight and curved lines. The exercise is performed at the same time as an ordinary gesture drawing and each feeds from the other. The instructions are not clear, but I’m pretty sure the intention is they are drawn on top of each other.

Leaning For 1 Minute
Predominating Shape (1-Minute Pose)
19 February 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
38cm x 26.5cm (15" x 10.5")

Unintentionally, Elaine and I repeated one of the poses in the session on the 19th of February. This provides a comparison of a 1-minute and a 5-minute study of virtually the same pose. In both poses Elaine has her back to us. In the 5-minute pose she is looking straight ahead. In the 1-minute pose she is looking to her right and is showing us slightly less of her back. It’s interesting (well it is to me) that I chose different predominating shapes for the drawings.

Lying On One Side
Predominating Shape (5-Minute Pose)
19 February 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
38cm x 20cm (15" x 8")

The predominating shape is a helpful tool in identifying alignments and relative proportions. This isn’t the main purpose of the exercise, but it's a feature I will use to improve the accuracy of my extended gesture studies (see Section 13). In Lying on One Side, the predominating skewed rectangle emphasised the alignment between Elaine’s head and knee. It also helped me to realise I had misjudged the length of her torso. I didn’t have time to correct it in this drawing, but in a longer study I would.

Cross Legged
Predominating Shape (1-Minute Pose)
19 February 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
27cm x 34cm (10.5" x 13.5")

I’m not sure what the plague beak is all about in the cross legged pose. It is not a fancy mask or false beard. I suspect it is the neckline on Elaine’s top and I was emphasising where Elaine’s neck started in relation to the predominating shape.