LIGHT UP THE MODEL – PASTEL AND ACRYLIC PAINTING

For me how light interacts with a subject is important. Initially, faced with this pose I saw very little that gripped me. Just sitting the model on a stool like this induces a very boring pose. I walked all around the model getting more despondent as I went and it was only when I went around the rear that I saw the light on his back. It wasnt much, but enough to develop the form of the body with a few highlights.

Later, another pose was struck, but here there was no compelling light and shadow to raise any interest, so I finished up withis this rather flat rendition in acrylics.

It’s good practice – but that’s about all.

Last Saturday I revisited an old club in Liverpool ( the second oldest in the country). I hadnt been there since well before covid. I gave up as they had moved into a small, dark studio where you couldnt dispose of paint. My complaints were ignored so I voted with my feet.

I had heard that they had moved to a different room in the same building, so I decided to give it a try. The light was a bit better, contra jour, which I like, and the room bigger, though disposing of paint is still an issue. I certainly dont want to take acrylic brushes home to find them brick hard?

On this occasion I took my pastels just to keep the peace..

Around here many people do line drawings, so cast and form shadows arent that relevant, but there must come a time when they want to add shadow. It seems that this time hasn’t yet arrived.

Life paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A DAY OF LIFE – VARIOUS MEDIA

Yesterday I went to a day life session with a local group. It was a small group -there were only three of us, which was disappointing for the organiser. If it had been me running it, I would have called it off. I remember, a few years ago, being barely able to get into the studio on a similar session – in fact, on that occasion I just came home, as being unable to move around in an all day session would just frustrate me. As for the session. it’s good getting back to more frequent life drawing, but I do notice I start in a rush and the basics get overlooked. This one in acrylics, below, required me to rework the whole head area as, on applying the paint, things didn’t actually conform with reality. Making corrections takes longer than taking a bit more time to get it right first time, and then with the time limit, other things get overlooked.

Still, that’s the nature of the game, making quick decisions in the timeframe allowed. It certainly sharpens you. Hopefully, making you better next time.

Other life painting is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

RIGID AND CHAIR BOUND – PASTEL AND PENCIL SKETCHES

Whilst manning a pop-up gallery recently, a painter I know came in and reminded me about a group we used to paint with. I hadnt been to that group since before Covid ( though I had heard that they were secretly running throughout the epidemic – but that’s another story). Also, since Covid they had, for various reasons, started meeting earlier, which makes it more awkward for me to attend. Anyway, last Wednesday I forsook my evening meal and made the effort to attend.

I’m glad I did. I enjoyed the evening, though there wasnt any direction to the model and we were presented, throughout the evening, to my eye, with various versions of someone sitting naked on a bus . The lighting was good, though, but I did have to prevent the organiser turning on all the lights and ruining its effect.

Afterwards, looking back over some earlier pre-covid drawings, what did I see? Similar seated poses, just different models – a bit like the other sketches I did on the night, shown below. Despite these moans, I will try and get back there as we have lost one life group around here completely and I am not getting much figurative practice these days.

Life and figure paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

SATURDAY LIFE PAINTING – PASTELS

Yesterday was a now rare visit to a life session. I took my pastels, deciding to focus on one medium – well apart from half a dozen pencil sketches done at different points of the session.

Before I went to the session, I played around with with photos off the internet from Line of Action and explored possibilities I could try yesterday. Here are a few of them, below.

I wanted to mix bold and unusual colours alongside more natural flesh tones.

I hoped that by playing around in my own time, without the pressures of a ticking clock, I would develop a process I could take into the life room and produce whilst dealing with all the other issues that crop up.

Well, it half worked. I think I should be doing more at home with photos so that I have a clearer and more honed pathway when I attend another session.

Other figurative painting is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A DAY OF LIFE – ACRYLIC AND PENCIL

Saturday saw a now rare opportunity for me to do some life painting and drawing. This study above was done in acrylic. I decided to roughly paint areas of light and shade before I did any drawing and I was pleased with the energy this created in the final piece.

I did this second one in a similar way, but I felt it lacked something of the first study.

Perhaps it was the stiffer pose and the lighting not being as effective. At this point of the session, the guy running the show decided to have two models posing together. I decided to focus on just the female model because the male model was even more rigid as the quick sketch below left shows.

So, it was good to get at least one satisfying painting from the day, especially as I hadnt attended a life session since December. I must make more of an effort, but the thought of standing, cramped in a room with a whole bunch of artists for two or three hours is still unappealing – especially as I want to go on holiday in a few weeks time.

Other life paintings can be found on my website: grahammcquadefineart,com

DEJA VU IN THE LIFEROOM – MIXED MEDIA

On Saturday I attended one of my, now rare, life sessions. I did the above painting in acrylic. I wasnt firing on all cylinders having had little sleep the night before. My sleep badly disturbed by the effects of two glasses of wine – and they werent big ones at that. Another of the displeasures of getting old.

Roy, who runs the session – mainly for pupils of his – announced the day before that we were going to have two models. My heart sank. I think this format rarely works, especially when you have quite tight posing times.

So I started the session with these pencil sketches. They were all I could manage in the 12 minutes allowed for each pose. The hurry in their completion didnt help my jangling, sleep deprived nerves and set me in the opposite direction to the calm meditative state I need to to paint and draw.

The acrylic painting at the top was done after the pencil sketches, in a longer session before lunch. The fellah, Ian, disappeared and started doing some drawing himself. The reason for him posing was never explained and we were left with Emma, which was a small step in the right direction.

After lunch I decided to stick with acrylics and found myself struggling, despite the almost identical pose. Perhaps my tiredness was getting the upperhand. The pose was set purportedly to allow some of the group to try their hand at portraits.

I asked Roy to get Emma to twist a little, but, later, looking back over the poses I realised she is sat in almost the same way for all of the poses – even her legs are set identically.

Well, it was a bit of practice and having a time limit does force you into working differently and focuses your mind , though on Saturday most of my mind had taken the day off.

Other figurative work is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

A VISIT TO THE LIFE ROOM – ACRYLIC/PENCIL/PASTEL

Yesterday I went to a life session organised by a friend of mine. He runs it once a month. Despite the stiff poses it was good practice to work under a time constraint and here I managed to get around behind the model to catch him dozing off and paint this in acrylics.

The early poses had some life in them and got me back into the swing of things. Another weekly life session started up when I was on holiday the other week, but they decided to fold after two meetings. Such a shame, I was looking forward to restarting with the group on my return. The only other sessions around here are in small, crowded venues and with the level of contagion we have at present I am reluctant to join them. So it is a self inflicted exile.

The stiff pose did me no favours on this pastel. In hindsight I should have opted for a more focussed image, but I perversely wanted to draw the full figure and it suffers because of it. Still, I suppose that is what these sessions are for – making mistakes and learning from them.

Still, it was good to get back to something that I did two or three times a week before covid, though the way things are, my next session wont be for another month.

Other life paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

LIFE ROOM – PASTEL AND GRAPHITE

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.

Other life painting is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

RETURN TO THE LIFE ROOM – ACRYLIC, PASTEL AND PENCIL

On Saturday a friend of mine organised a life session and I took the opportunity to get back into the life room. It must be 15 or 16 months since I’ve done a live session with a model and despite the stolid poses it was good to get back. There is something about working under a time pressure – trying to get finished before the session moves on.

You can see the yellow throw served a number of purposes.

In the lockdown I have tried to develop drawings from sketchbooks, but I find that quick sketches lack information that a more developed painting requires, so I did try to focus on key shadow forms in some of my pencil sketches on the day so that I could take them further in the future.

I must see if other local groups have started up as despite all the angst I suffer with poor poses and indifferent lighting the sessions help to speed you up and get an image down quickly and the human form is a great measure of drawing accuracy.

Other life paintings are available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com

PORTRAIT -WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

It started as a landscape. I was working out different ways to get texture for a beach scene. I normally work at an angle, occasionally vertically, but to increase granulation I had the paper flat and applied the paint unevenly with various warm and cool colours.

When I paint in life sessions I like to work on toned paper – often I prepare it myself. Now, looking at the paper when it had dried, I saw that it had areas of varying tone which could be orientated differently to capture the tonal contrasts of a figure.

I cut out and keep interesting images of figures and faces, with good tonal contrast, to sketch in my sketchbook. So, from the folder I put them in, I plucked out this contemplative soul. So here is an exploratory sketch, keeping the paper flat as I worked. Perhaps I am missing the life groups. I normally work in anything but watercolour at these sessions, but when and if they do restart here, I might prepare some watercolour paper to take along.

Meanwhile, back to the beach…

Other life drawing is available for sale on my website: grahammcquadefineart.com