After posting a long string of watercolours I have accumulated some life work done at various sessions in the new year.
I am a little dissatisfied with my life output particularly after my session with Crawfurd Adamson just before Christmas.
The lighting in many of our local sessions is absysmal and the poses are staid. Trying to get input is difficult as the people running the sessions do not really want or understand the options possible.
I even gave two of the session leaders at different groups a book of poses to help stimulate some variety, but neither was interested.
So all you get is people sitting stiffly on chairs – which is ok, but not everytime.
I am about to go on holiday and have decided that when I return I am going to take some time away from the life studio and work from photographs and sketches and experiment with different styles and techniques. I find this approach difficult in live sessions as you go into them not knowing the model or the pose and because of overcrowding most times you cant even select a viewpoint – on Saturday I was even restricted from sitting or standing, because it affected those behind me.
Anyway enough of this – you can see I need a holiday!
With a houseful of visitors I haven’t done much work over the past few days. I did this one last Saturday when I slipped out early whilst the house was asleep and got a morning’s drawing in. I used larger paper than I normally use – this one is on a 85x65cm sheet. I have been using 75x50cm sheets. Frequently I have trouble getting all the figure on the paper as I am trying to maximise the head as I do like working on the facial features – a larger sheet should reduce the incidence of chopped off feet – well that’s the theory anyway.
I am still overworking the application of the pastel and not getting the effects I am after, and on reflection I realised that Crawfurd Adamson, whose course I recently went on, recommended working on a paper covered board to help with the smooth application of the pastel.
Saul, the model in the top painting, allowed me to take a photo from the other side and I have a few other life photos, so I might practise at home on the pastel application as when you are working against time in a studio it is hard to reflect on the details of pastel application and colour combinations .
Over the past three days I have been on a life drawing course with Crawfurd Adamson, a painter I have admired for a while. He employed good lighting and uses colour in an exciting and almost abstract style.
There were two models he used in a dynamic and interesting way and we started off with quick sketches trying to find a pose we could use for the next three days.
I then started painting with pastels, working around the models for the next few days. I was about the only one who moved, so I found myself having to squeeze in the few places left.
This was the first painting I did (above) and employs some of the scratchy application I have used in the past. Crawfurd showed me how he works with pastel and the way he applies it and in the next painting I used some of his techniques.
It was also good to see how I could further develop this as Crawfurd does work in many similar ways to me. He also has a similar approach to lighting and colour, which, though people on the course thought were theatric, suits me down to the ground.
This week I am going on a three day life drawing course with a guy called Crawfurd Adamson. I have seen a lot of his work at the London Art Fair over the years and you can see more on the internet.
I have been checking out some of Crawfurd’s work and trying to get into the style and here, above, are two of them. It is evident that Crawfurd uses good lighting, demands interesting poses and works in a purposeful way.
I have been unhappy with the poses and lighting employed at our local sessions and am looking forward to this course.
So I thought that I would publish my latest drawings, done in the last couple of weeks and then hopefully compare them with the work I produce in the next few days.
So, as they say, watch this space and see if anything emerges.
I have been working on a more involved painting of late, that, and family visits, have held me back, so all I have to show are my recent life studies done at the sessions I go to.
I am finding the poses very tedious and not very demanding or imaginative. Too much sitting stiffly in chairs for my tastes. I did get my oar in last week and managed to set the pose and got Arthur in a lying pose.
At least we had a different angle to work from, though I dont think I did it the justice it deserved.
Then on Saturday the organiser was sorting out something interesting when someone came in and made a request for a sitting pose with Eve reading. I wonder if these people ever look through the drawings they’ve made and see sets of identical drawings with people in the same pose.
And another sitting figure. This guy moved the hand that rested on the thigh and had me making changes, not realising what he had done, that ended up with a rather swollen thigh. At that point I gave up and got the early train home.
I went to a couple of life groups this week where we had just over an hour on each session, so I took my acrylics. The first two were done on Wednesday evening.
I think the first one was the stronger – maybe I was getting tired as the evening wore on. Also the lighting wasnt as good on the second pose.
On Thutsday morning, the next day, I turned up at a different group and set up. In came the same model from the previous night. I had a bit longer on this last sketch, about and hour and a half, as they have a need to do quick sketches first.
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.