Life Drawing at Newtown, #2
July 13, 2014
Here are nine short-pose sketches. Against a backdrop of quiet jazz music, the model displayed a simple elegance and I felt like I was working alone, being slightly apart physically from the other artists present.
Bear with me while I record the minutiae of the session. It helps me understand how I can profit from the exercise and keep improving.
Part 1: five 1-minute poses; three two-minute poses; two 5 minute poses; three 10-minute poses; break; Part 2: one 20-min pose and one 25-min pose.
Four standing poses, one kneeling; four seated; six recumbent – which confirms my need short-term to work on seated poses between life drawing sessions.
Tonight I worked mostly standing at an easel, though for one 10-minute pose I sat which meant I went from overhand to ‘normal’ pencil grip, which felt odd. The model was side-on tonight at close range, unraised from the floor, with no directional light. I seemed to have coped better tonight with the parallax error and foreshortening when viewing the model from above.
Strategy & Tactics. While striving for as much physical detail as possible, I felt lulled into a sense of reverting to a very atmospheric personal style, an “unfinished” look. As nice as that is, proportional errors crept in; some I was aware of at the time, others not. I probably need to ‘tighten up’ in future and revert instead to developing better proportional observation, even if that means replacing the atmospherics with more mannequinization.
Materials & Supports. I followed through on my conclusions from last week and stuck to three hard pencils in Part 1 and three soft pencils in Part 2. I don’t feel quite ready yet for black Conte pencil. During Part 1 I deployed A4 photocopy paper and for Part 2, A3-sized cartridge, here scanned as A4 with only a small amount of the total sacrificed.
Method. My technique changed this week to a more ‘painterly’ one. To correct errors, I started using tone to define contours, since this was very much a ‘white’ body on a ‘dark’ background for the most part. The kneaded eraser came out this week to knock back excessive marks. I had more of a go at drawing the face today which I would have normally left much more generic; the whole time could have been spent just on getting a likeness in the face, so I need not to be overly distracted by this in future.
One- and two-minute poses. There is more of the ‘whole’ captured on paper. The arc of the contour felt better and I felt there was more control in finishing each pencil mark.
Ten-minute poses. I need to pay special attention when the body is “divided”, that is, split by furniture or props, and maintain proper proportions. One “half” of the body can be out of kilter with the other “half”. I made the model blonde and for the sake of simplicity should have kept this going the whole night.
20- & 25-minute poses. Rather too much experimentation than I would have liked, the longest pose being the busiest and far too small on the page. The softer and darker the pencil, the more need for the eraser to make corrections.