life drawing at AVAA

on Tuesdays has become my new routine. I am enjoying getting my hands dirty with charcoal and pastels. This week I stuck to charcoal.  The model was a very slender lady  and she seem to disappears into the props. Add the poor lighting and it was even worse.  Must admit I struggled with this model but then I seem to say the same each week. Today as I was walking my grand daughter back from the park I was reflecting on the session.  One thing occurred to me is that I am hugging my easel too much. I need to remember to stand back.  Again all the poses were 30 mins long for this session. The first one, I only had 10 mins as I arrived late.

 

 

 

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Moving to the outside world

I have studiously avoided painting outside for most of my painting career.  When I was a Saturday morning and foundation student at Camberwell, I got into the habit of sketching people as I stood at a bus stop or sitting on a tube. Anywhere I could be fairly inconspicuous and not really be notice. Even if I was noticed, people would look, maybe make a comment and go on. Until one day in Church Market,London NW8, some woman noticed I was sketching an old man directly in front of me. Well, seemingly it was her Dad and by sketching him I was stealing his soul?  Obviously I stopped drawing him as the woman was clearly upset, so I moved on. However, that wasn’t enough for her. She then proceeded to stand/jump in the way of anything I might want to sketch. She was also becoming verbally abusive so I decided then I was finished and I have never really felt comfortable sketching outside, let alone painting outside.

Anyway,  I have decided I need to get back outside to get inspiration as I am quite a homebody.  So, this week, I did a small painting (12×12) in our back garden which is not terribly inspiring but its a start. One of the thing you have to learn to contend with in the summer in Texas, the heat. When I got up this morning it was 75F(24c) and by the time I stopped painting at 2.15pm, it was 91f (33f), so its important to use the sunscreen and wear a hat. I am not that dynamic in the morning, so for the Thurs/Fri it was about 10.30 before I got out. Today, I managed to be out by 9.30.  As is normal I was using acrylics.

 

 

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This was the result for my first day as I had numerous stops and starts, scrubbing out several starts mainly due to lack of confidence. First issue was, what do I paint, what do I focus on? Fortunately I was in my garden so not a lot of options but in the brief times I have consider landscape before, that has been my biggest hurdle, where do I start?

One of my issues is to focus on a part and not the whole. By doing that I am creating more work for myself as once I finished on that part, it was at odds with the rest! So I would work on the windows and then remember, boy there is all that other space to work on as well.  As you can see I can draw a straight line to save myself. Photographic painting (which I don’t particularly like anyway) will never be my forte.  Anyway day 2 was not a lot better but at least I didn’t give up as I am apt to.

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Today, I was determined that whatever the outcome, it would be the last day. I worked mainly on the windows and walls. I don’t know why but I decided I was going about the windows entirely the wrong way. I should forget about the frame and work back to the reflections. By focusing on the windows, I could see there were at least 3 if not 4 levels before I could even consider the frame. I don’t think I mastered it but it was closer than yesterday. The walls were difficult and I know I could do better. Our walls are very light coloured but obviously this is a covered area so even though they are light, they are also dark compared to the outside wall. Also how do you depict a brick wall. It’s tempting to paint in every brick but not practical. Not painting any indication of the brick would also not work. I never did solve the issue!

 

 

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Finish piece. Most admit I quite enjoyed the challenge despite the heat.

Next time, I am going to try oil paints as acrylics just dry too quickly. I would mix up a colour and as I was using it, the paint was drying.I suppose I could use an extender but it’s not something I am use to doing, so I would probably forget most of the time. However, I haven’t used oils since my foundation years as basically they scare me to death as there appears to be lot of rituals involved in oil paints LOL and I hate the smell. I am sure I can get over the smell and as for the rituals, I will ignore them. Also mean using gloves as I tend to get contact dermatitis when using them, the original reason I started using acrylics

Whilst I am learning, I am going to stick to small canvases or boards. I thought  12×12 was small but really it was probably a little big for my ability or maybe I should use large board so I don’t get so stuck with the minute details?

Time limits  I think this would be a good option so I don’t get bogged down in the details.

What is the aim of all this figure and landscape work, just observation, as I have seriously stopped doing in the past 20 years. Without this simple ability, I will never move onto the next stage. What will be the next stage? Have no idea but not trying, will get me no where.

Dealing with BULK

yesterday’s life drawing session was different for 2 reasons, it was a male model and he was very big.  You could see very little of the underlying structure of the body and because of the amount of flesh from the stomach, everything seem to take on a weird. perspective.  In one pose a leg I though was pointing straight at me and which I was having difficulties with, was actually slightly bend. I only became aware of this when I was looking around the room after the pose. The longest poses were 30 mins unlike our normal 40- 45 mins .   It was an interesting session but I will be glad to get back to the slender framed models we normally have.  I have put up all the drawings as it good to see all the horrible mistakes.

 

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the shortest pose 20 mins and the most successful.

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the least successful drawing although I like the bulk of the stomach.

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the legs are totally disconnected 😦

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His body was covered in tattoos so the blue of the shoulder and on top of the thigh were my indications of the tats.