David - I think the last two-day blog entry I did might well apply to this one - first day feeling a real sense of purpose and achievement - second day coming down from the high and struggling to recover that optimistic drive. There is a freedom and energy in those early stages of creating an image parallel to the reality of the subject where one feels to be in control and can boss it about. Returning cold to what you have done it stares you in the face and demands 'NOW WHAT'??? As for hands and feet !!! No wonder many artists go to lengths to avoid confronting them. I'm afraid I chickened out once more and I also found particular difficulty in relating the overpowering crimson and cobalt of the drapes to the delicately modulated flesh tones of the model. I suppose that is the challenge faced by painters to reconcile such oppositions particularly when one is not by inclination a colourist painter.
Ian - The two day life drawing weekends are always rewarding at several levels and a really good model makes all the difference. We have been very lucky to have had Siobhan who worked very hard throughout the weekend.
There was an air of quiet experimentation, both pictorially and technically. Then there is always the growing interest in each others work, accompanied by exchanges of ideas, of both what and how - much more Bake Off than Masterchef
Despite my fear and flight tendency I redrew the head three times before lunch and by the end of the day a passable human form was emerging.
I was sure that on the second morning, looking at the work with refreshed eyes, I would be disappointed by my ineptitude and want to destroy it. However, I found to my surprise, it wasn't looking too bad. I had to add more substance to the torso and realised the legs were too long, but I left them as they were. I focused on the head adding detail and depth. By lunchtime I felt really tired, but stories of childhood misdemeanors and general naughtiness caused some hilarity so I felt refreshed enough to stay the course.
Towards the end of the session Tom suggested I add detail to the hand. As I had been studiously avoiding it, I groaned. Tony said I should forget it's a hand and think of it as a collection of shapes etc. Brilliant, but despite that, I had difficulty getting all the shapes in the right place! All I can say is this........ Sorry, but Tom made me do it!
I had a brilliant weekend painting, learnt a great deal and met some lovely people. What more could I have asked for?
Sandra - Following my usual habit I first made two rapid line drawings in my sketch books to help me access the visual mode. I had already made the decision to draw and give painting a rest mainly because I have been exploring methods of making long narrow abstract drawings and trying to discover different ways of mark making. I thought it would be interesting to expand that into the life drawings I do.
The thing is that making drawings from a non observational source using only the interplay and feedback from shapes and marks which appear by accident and intention is very different from working in an observational manner from the model.I felt that the two disciplines were divergent and not naturally comfortable together, producing a rather forced product.
However there is much to be learned by patient persistence. I need to work out how to leave the literal presentation of the image before me and translate it into a more poetic cerebral image. My drawing reached a stage where further marks were not a natural progression and by Sunday afternoon I left the drawing and spent therest of the time with black and white acrylics on cards.
As usual good model and a well spent week end.
Steven - The tutored long-pose life drawing sessions run by Tom Wood and Tony Noble continue to be a remarkable opportunity.
Sue - Well, Saturday didn't begin well for me. I had a row with a taxi driver on the way to class which put me out of sorts somewhat. Initially, I thought I would paint the whole figure rather than head and shoulders. I soon ditched that idea when the feet were not going to fit on the card! So, guess what? I turned the card over and painted the head and shoulders! (Well a bit more than that but not the whole figure).
What would I do differently? Next time I'll prime the card with a colour - something pale and warm, but something to key into. The bright white was too stark and made it difficult to achieve the right amount of contrast in the painting, especially painting wet on wet. Steven did a good job in this respect, establishing the highlights very effectively.
At the end of two days I felt that I'd come reasonably close to achieving what I was aiming for. I don't think it's a good painting, but as an exercise I think it served a good purpose and I feel I learnt a lot from it. As usual another day would have been helpful. Siobhan sat incredibly still and did everything possible to help us in our quest - a great model. Thank you, Siobhan.