This is the third painting in my mini series of life on the park bench. This time the subjects are in full light and I think I got clocked by one of them. I liked the way they were looking in different directions, each, almost oblivious of the other.
The life session at the weekend brought back the memories of poor lighting and stiff poses though I was glad of the practise.
I should actively seek other venues, but working in confined spaces for long periods with lots of people doesnt fill me with a great deal of joy at present. Our model was Eve who last time I saw her did a more interesting set of poses. The quick sketch of one of them, below, I converted into a pastel study during lockdown, though I think the pastel lost a bit of vitality in translation. Maybe one to try again as it has some interesting angles.
The image of this face reminded me of something you see carved on stone memorials with the sadness of a pieta. I thought that the addition of outstretched arms might convey the wings of this descending spirit and I set it against the bright colour of stained glass to push the spirituality further, though the resulting cruciform seemed enough.
Besides, life sessions are starting around here soon and I thought I needed practice and the different angle of the head appealed. I was going to do so much during this last year on figurative approaches but other things got in the way. Maybe with the pastels out I will have a flick through old sketch books and see if anything appeals.
This was the birthday present I made my wife. There is a long backstory to this which I wont burden you with. What pleases me – apart from that it is still working as I type – is the fact that it is made entirely from scrap materials which I have cut, soldered, brazed and tapped together. Even the ball bearings, the indicator runs on, were reclaimed. The carving is made from part of an old cherry tree. I had intented making a motif that was two dimensional, but when asked, my wife wanted someone reading a book – something she does a lot of in French and English. I couldnt work out a clear way of depicting a reader in 2D so I carved a version of Rodins Reader and fixed it to the top.
I did have a hic up when the indicator fell off soon after erection – mainly due to my poor brazing skills, but it is now up and running again and hopefully more robust.
When the nuclear fall-out decends I will now know which way to run.
Back in June 2014 I did a couple of pastels on the isolation of the individual. I was never happy with the outcome. These first two took a high viewpoint and recently when playing around I decided that a low angle might be more effective. But it wasnt plain sailing, as I found the detail I required was difficult in pastel.
So I changed to acrylic and am happier with the result. Though it may not be the final resolution, I feel I have made progress – and that is all that one can hope for, I guess. I may even revisit the first two paintings I did and see if acrylics would also suit them.
I havent been doing much life drawing of late, but last week I turned up to a session taking my acrylics and square brushes.
These sketches were done fairly rapidly. I was after a loose blocky style.
I am still uncertain as to how I proceed with life drawing. As you can see here the poses are very stilted and the subjects flooded with light from all angles.
I do like the pressure and demands these sessions provide, though they give little time for consideration and development. There’s too much focus on speed and I wonder the effect it has on some of the attendees including myself.
I do find the setting of the models at the life sessions I go to very uninspiring – mainly people sitting rigidly in a chair or stretched out on a bed, hoping to get paid for a good doze. Most of the problem is down to the organiser not having thought about what to set until faced with a group and model. In a similar situation someone turned to me in desperation to set a pose for a group on Thursday. They got the above – maybe more than they had bargained for (too many sharp angles and hands on display).
A number of years ago we had a model in Liverpool who had worked for both Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Now, he could get himself into some amazing contortions and hold them as well. Bring back Phil. I think he relocated to York.
This pose is more the type we get, though I did get her to look down – otherwise she would have sat even more rigidly looking outwards. I try to refrain from interfering when the pose is being set, as there is nothing worse than people calling out their preferences and you get a pose set by a committee which can be a disaster.
I am back to using acrylics after a spell with pastels. For the top two I started to use black to mix darks instead of a blue. The bottom one used blue as you can see. I prefer the rawness of the top two. I have been taken by the work of Crawfurd Adamson, whose work I have seen over the years and this has influenced my approach on the top 2 sketches. I have booked to go on a 3 day course with him in my old hometown of Hastings in December. I do particularly like the directness he applies his pastel and the interesting poses he sets. I am looking forward to it.