While it’s been cold and snowy outside here in London and elsewhere I have been working on a two week figure pose. It has been a while since I did figure in my weekly classes and I have been feeling a little rusty. Yet again I get bogged down in detail which seems to be what I regard as my biggest problem. I found it very hard to let go in this charcoal drawing. It was hard to decide what was important to say and what not. Sometimes it feels like a big jump into a black hole. To lose some of the work that you have put in, feels wrong and hard but once you try and move things about you realise that you have to have some kind of faith in yourself and your decisions about what you want to say. To progress my work, I need to make more decisions on what I want to say and have the conviction to lose what is not important.
I really need to apply this to my paintings. There is so much to learn.
This was another chance to do a charcoal portrait. I did this one at school where I had the opportunity to have a model sit for me for 3 hours. Sadly I didn’t have 3 hours as I was late! I gave myself the challenge of drawing from a donkey. This is a lower bench that you can sit on so that when drawing you can get very close up from underneath the model. This makes it quite a bit harder as the angle is very difficult. The usual way of mapping out a face completely changes here. The nose and eyes and mouth are much closer together and all the shapes change. Personally I really prefer portraits from this angle – there is something rather grand about the pose. It can be really hard to get this right. I wish I had another couple of hours on it. I love the mood of charcoal portraits.
Well its back to school now. I go to art school two mornings a week. It’s good to go to school so that someone can keep an eye on what you are doing ;). Everyone needs a little guidance now and then and someone to give you a good critique and get you back to basics if you are straying in the wrong direction.
This week my teacher wanted me to get back to basics again and make sure I knew what was dark and light, making sure I wasn’t being wowed by the colours and getting in a muddle about what was the darkest object and the lightest. I was only allowed to use charcoal and I brought in with me a pear, apple and a plum.
Charcoal pear, apple and plum. I was quite pleased with my charcoal handling which can often be a nightmare!
You can easily get in a muddle when you paint with colour because colours can be so vivid and saturated that you can often be tricked into thinking they are light. One of the ways to make sure you have the light and dark correct is by using your phone. Take a picture of the objects in black and white and you will soon realise that a lot of these colours that we see as bright colours we automatically think are light but actually they can be quite dark. A great example of this is to take a photo of a lemon and an orange.
The other lesson on Wednesday was to decide on edges. Which ones should be blurred and which should be sharp. Our eyes think we see everything very sharply but actually there is a lot our eyes make up. As I’ve said before this is something that Singer Sargent does really well. I love soft edges.