The thing about Jannine is.....
her beautiful red hair- its volume, colour, gloss, texture and shape. Many of the artists this week allowed this to lead the way their paintings developed.
There are four which immediately and boldly strike me.
Tom painted a dark blue/black background, which instantly evokes drama, and against this he has caught the light falling on Janine’s hair in what appears to be a myriad of sparkling threads from delicate pale yellow to very strong darks all within the harmonious red – orange- yellow spectrum. These colours are echoed and reflected in the skin tones, completing the effect, which is stunning.
Sue and Fiona have both used a complementary background in shades of green which contrasts with and accentuates the red hair. This immediately creates space and projects the form towards us. Both paintings show a boldness, a confidence in colour and mark making, which contributes towards a belief in them as works of art.
Equally dramatic is Hilary’s drawing in biro, a medium which again takes courage and confidence to execute effectively. This black and white drawing obviously does not indicate colour in Janine’s hair but the detail and range of tones in the face contrast so well against the space of the bulk and shape of the hair so that it is still given importance in leading the drawing.
It is interesting to see the individuality of each artist in the variety of materials and styles used. The gallery shows brown wrapping paper with pastel, colour blocks on untouched grey card, a face constructed in Fauvist colours, mysterious ink works, accurately marked and measured work, harmonious colours with pencil, soft focussed watercolours and very well seen, keenly observed and accurate pencil works. Not forgetting Fiona’s three dimensional piece in her new clay which holds the form beautifully. How did you manage it in such a short time?
As for myself, I chose to practice observational drawing skills, looking for shape, proportion, volume and tone. This was mainly because I have the opportunity to paint the model all day on Saturday and also sometimes I just like to go back to basics.
I have a lovely book by Victor Ambrus which I find helpful and does not go into obscure, pretentious ‘art critic’ style verbosity. Refreshingly it is by an artist who practiced his craft and demonstrates that by example and just a few succinct words of encouragement.
He does talk about drawing instinctively and stresses that it is not an anatomy book but that he believes that anatomy is something the artist should always bear in mind and should be ‘under the skin’ of all your drawings. He also advocates spending some time thinking about the composition before you start, such as:
Half profile, full face or back view?
Whole figure or just part of it?
Study of hands, feet?
Indicate the head, face lightly or concentrate on it?
Then he thinks that all drawings should have a ‘punch’ somewhere such as a carefully drawn arm or leg or just the very dark black of the sitter’s hair.
I so wholeheartedly agree with him when he says that the human face and body are the most fascinating subjects we are ever likely to capture and this is what I find the most difficult to explain to a non practitioner.
by Sandra Cowper
Paintings and drawings by Andrew, Barry, Catherine, Chris, Fiona E, Fiona H, Hadyn, Ian, Kate, Patrick, Roger, Sandra, Steven, Sue, Teresa, Tom and Tony.