I didnt have a clue what I was doing when I started this except the notion of attempting a figurative piece. I had a photo of the top part of the figure and I liked the compact pose; the rest just sprung from there.
Playing with washes and colour, with a bit of drawing, and who knows where I have landed. Out of the proverbial and into the fire. Well, having said that, there are aspects I could take and use to better effect. You build up this thing intuitively and then you stand back and think that would be better there, and if only I had used a redder blue here, or lost that line there.
I do miss the life sessions I used to go to, as it was painting on the fly – no time to really think things through – just crash on, and this painting was similar in that respect. I do have sketchbooks full of figures that might be worth developing and applying some of these approaches to. We’ll see. I did have plans to do some life drawing at the start of this shutdown and apart from some sketches this is only the second figurative painting I have managed – I get sidetracked too easily.
A change of pace here. With not much life drawing going on, I had to make do with the materials I had at my disposal. Apologies to any startled horses.
Though here in the UK, the BBC presented a life session last week – a few hours of models posing on live TV, though drawing time was curtailed by presenters adding their bit and analysis of studio participants work – including the mandatory celebrity. I suppose it was trying to get people to take up life drawing, rather than pander to my needs, but it was also hindered by the small images they presented – panning back from the model to take in the surrounds. On my TV it looked like the model was in another room, which is another barrier to success. At least they tried and I got a few loose sketches.
The final life session finished last week, so here are my last live figurative paintings for a while.
I have been alternating between pastel and acrylic of late rather than sticking to one medium and have ground to a halt developmentally. This imposed hiatus might give me time to work up some of these images.
Developing images I have produced at these sessions is something I have always meant to do, but never got around to doing. It might also allow me to explore some different styles as the fast pace at these sessions doesnt leave much time to ponder and I would like to try other approaches to figure painting.
The closing down of these sessions will also leave many of the models without this source of income and some are quite economically vulnerable. There are a number of life groups around where I live so the good models can do two or three sessions a week. The girl depicted in the first sketch, Eve, even runs a group herself, as well as modelling.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a bit of life drawing with pastels. This is of Eve. She liked the painting and at the end of the session wanted to photograph it. I said she could have it if she sent me an back an image.
Arthur, a model in his sixties still runs, though he has stopped the marathons
An interesting angle, though I think I could have made more of this and the highlighting is a bit harsh.
Though dozing off with your mouth open just brings out the worst in me. Again I could have made more of this as the shapes were quite interesting.
I was asked to paint the portrait of a lady, who loves reading, as a birthday present. As she is someone I`ve never met good photos are very important. Fortunately one image had some decent lighting on it. The other was flat and featureless. One issue is that the lady had changed hair styles between photos and I subsequently found out she had lost some weight. All making life interesting.
We are getting there, but slowly, as other members of the family are viewing the image and adding their imput.
My painting has been disrupted by moving all my stuff to accommodate Christmas guests. I am in the process of moving back, but taking the opportunity to clear stuff out. So painting is a bit slow and this isnt helped by trying to update my website at the same time.
In the process of sorting and binning, I came across these sketches done at various life sessions during last year, so I thought I might post a few.
As you can see most are people sat in chairs – the favoured pose in these parts. Looking through the work has made me resolving to do more pen and ink. Once the mark is down theres no going back, so you paint by the seat of your pants, whereas charcoal can be corrected.
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.
Admin seems to get in the way of painting of late. I have a joint exhibition today in Formby along with a demo near Blackpool – so have been getting pictures ready and preparing the demo. Next week I need to gather another 8 painting for a second exhibition later in the month.
So the cupboard is getting a bit bare regarding paintings to display – anyway, here are a couple of paintings from recent life sessions. I was fairly happy with this effort, above, though I think I could be introducing more of the background colours into the figure.
Here I managed to get more interplay with the colours. The guy had the look of Lenin about him, so perhaps I should have used more red than I did.
I havent been doing so much life drawing recently. I feel I have lost my way a little and the unimaginative poses and lighting have contributed. I was going to do this pose as a fore-shortened view from the feet but was pretty uninspired by it. I wandered around the model and from this angle the interplay of light and shade made for a really interesting image.
The teal was out on this painting as well and with her orange hair and fingernails it didnt take much for the oranges to follow.
Some more images from recent life sessions. I have cut down my attendance to these lately as I feel am getting into a bit of a rut- though the sessions always test your observational skills and the restricted timeline pushes your workrate.
I have intended to use a few of the sketches at home to develop some fresh approaches. Not much progress on this at the moment.
Though I did get my old sketch books out and had a look through the other day. Every journey starts with a single step…