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Drawing 1: Part 5 Option 4 page 168

February 14, 2013

I have already resolved that my final submission will be a mixed media, zoomed portrait. My tutor has guided me to wonderful things in the world of art. I really like de Chirico’s work. Frank Auerbach and John Virtue’s art speaks powerfully to me and I may not have met them without my instructors recommendations. However, the greatest benefit OCA studies has afforded me as a visual thinker, is exposure to Vitamin D and BP 500 portrait books.Whereas Vitamin D has extended my tolerances to what is permissable as self-expression  through drawing; BP 500 is hugely inspirational. I have discovered more about myself by being aware of “where my eye rests” and analysing why. These reveal predilections and preferences based on aesthetic bias. Perhaps pursuing enquiry will allow me to find my voice. Perhaps the tutor’s skill lies in guiding you to experiences that will make you a fuller, more rounded artist and assist in projecting that voice.

self portrait as twins

self portrait as twins

This is more about me being a piscean and being double-minded about most things. I have two artistic personalities. A bit like Schumann’s Eusebius and Florestan. We are complex as humans and one person may not sum us up.

michael simpson by paul emsley

michael simpson by paul emsley

This portrait has great lighting, lovely skin tones and is very painterly too. It is travelling towards photo-realism.

Harry by Michael Gaskell

Harry by Michael Gaskell

Michael Gaskell’s technique is very precise and to be admired. It appeals to one side of the artist in me.

Robert by Mark Clay

Robert by Mark Clay

I appreciate the mark making and expressive quality of this portrait. It says something that photo realism can’t.

Here no evil by Martyn Balwin

Here no evil by Martyn Balwin

This piece goes further. The mark-making is so bold and the paint applied in thick impasto. The use of colour theory is very clever and the title contains a pun that makes me want to think deeper into the picture. Perhaps research the background or project my own interpretation.

Self portrait nude study by louise courtnell

Self portrait nude study by louise courtnell

I like visual puns. Louise Coutnell has painted beautiful skin tone as an artist with a skin tone palette displayed. I think I see zinc white, yellow ochre and cadmium red or alizarin crimson. Perhaps the colours she use to create the subtle tones I admire.

Self Portrait by Anna Dougherty

Self Portrait by Anna Dougherty

Another female nude that is revealing. Not just the nakedness but a statement of weakness or imperfection. I read the book ” Nude” by Gail Sanders and just don’t understand it. Active passive, owner possesor, culture versus nature are the buzz words I picked up. Perhaps I am a voyeuristic consumer in the way described and fail to recognise myself in the description. I don’t own the subject of this painting. I am not generally aroused and wish to possess what I see in the form of paint or pixel.  I see strength in vunerability.  When is Kate at her most powerful? Being a shrew in the Taming of the shrew or having the self-control to manage and subjugate her own strength (nature) to appear weak publically? Both artists are strong because they are strong enough to acknowledge their imperfections in a public forum.

Perhaps I should “do” a naked self portrait.

Metamorphosis by jose corella garcia

Metamorphosis by jose corella garcia

Or perhaps we can hide? There is an operation to widen asian eyes to appear European. This subverts this notion by the apparent reversal of that desire. The white paint appears as a mask and perhaps this portrait reveals that in life we only let people see what we want them to see? Why do we ask questions? Because we don’t know the answer or to draw attention to the fact that we do? This portrait by displaying a desire to change reveals the truth of not liking who we actually are. This is only my stream of consciousness.

Exercise  Quick Studies page 170

Work through around five poses

A4 sketchbook 10 minutes standing nude

A4 sketchbook 10 minutes standing nude

The difficulty is trying not to get a likeness but the essence of the form and pose. I know this is counter intuitive, but it is very hard to know when to stop tweaking the image. So I left all my corrections in.

A4 Sketchbook 10 minute sit/ kneeling nude

A4 Sketchbook 10 minute sit/ kneeling nude

I regret smudging this to give the form mass and volume. 10 minutes is not along time. Smudging has removed the quality of the line work that gave it immediacy and freshness. The proportions are adequate.

A4 sketchbook:10 minute semi-reclining nude

A4 sketchbook:10 minute semi-reclining nude

The small amount of foreshortening made this piece a little harder. I am happy that the weight is shown distributed forward over the arms. No time for the details of the feet. I tried to leave cross-hatching in and give the line some “say” in the piece; but I have overworked the piece somewhat.

A4 sketchbook: 10 minute seated nude

A4 sketchbook: 10 minute seated nude

I am happy with this piece because the line was given “respect”. The form was nibbled away at and the piece is honest. The nibbling idea came from studying Giacometti’s line work. Nervous and nibbling like modelling out of clay like the sculpter he is. The other idea is integrity. Degas is not afraid to let us view his ammendments/ corrections and leaving them is a form of honesty I admire.They reveal thought processes in the absence of interview.

A4 sketchbook 10 minutes standing nude

A4 sketchbook 10 minutes standing nude

This was my first of the session. I was consciously trying to draw like a different me. My heart was not in this and there is tension in the mark making diametrically the opposite of the softness of the female form and the subtlety of the curve. That said,  I take confidence from the scratchy pen and ink by Moore in the course literature. P170 It is curious two sculptors display this reworked scratchiness in their drawings. I am happy to include it to contrast with the more careful line drawing in the next exercise.

A4 sketchbook: rapidly executed standing nude

A4 sketchbook: rapidly executed standing nude

This piece has immediacy at the expence of form, mass and structure. However, it is an immediate intuitive assessment of the model and has personality. I should perhaps completed more of these to loosen up my drawing overall.

Has your drawing improved since part 4?

Improved? I’d say my inner artist is more well-informed. The course OCA literature has supplied heightened awareness of different techniques, attitudes and ways of working. The deploying of strategies is more at my disposal according to my artistic intention. In terms of breadth, I am no longer content to produce accuracy of copying but to explore ideas of genre, honesty and integrity to the creative impulse. I have residual anxiety when others view my art and may not be privvy to the thinking that generated it. Has it improved? I improve, I am improving. I will continue to improve as my tolerances of what drawing is and is acceptible develop.

Exercise Line drawing of the whole figure page 171

The precision of Ingres’ work was the motivation to produce a clean, hollow-form reclining figure to contrast with the quick studies above.

A3 lining paper. Reclining nude in style of Ingres

A3 lining paper. Reclining nude in style of Ingres

The photographing of the drawing has made some of the lines more harsh than they need be. However, I was using Faber Castell 9000 graphite pencils. 4H and 2H made ultra sharp with a Jakar mains powered electric shapener. What I noticed was Ingres strengthens planal shifts or points of tension (wrist,knees) and makes these darker. The line is allowed to vanish as I have done with the left arm and right thigh and sternum viewed obliquely. The vanishing line can coincide deliberately with fabric folds and pressure points, such as the model’s back against the support, are also given extra emphasis. In other words, Ingres makes the viewer at the important information. Perhaps I should have worked the expression and the groin to give the correct narrative.

Research Point Page 172 Ingres, David, Degas, Giacometti and Hockney

http://community.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/profiles/blogs/drawing-1-research-point-page-173-use-of-line

Exercise Using colour page 172

I struggled with this until I re-read and assimilated what my tutor, Dr Linda Khatir, said about using found objects. As a consequence of following this advice, I started looking at things differently. Art is the art of seeing …differently. We don’t need every detail to recognise something because we see with our brain, not with our eyes.

Gouache and water soluble crayon on A3 lining paper

Gouache and water soluble crayon on A3 lining paper

I am beginning to minimalise the amount of strokes to suggest shape and form. The pose is readable but the details of hands and feet and face are almost non-existant. There is only red to show the nipples and lips to suggest that model is a sexual object available to be possessed.

Gouache and acrylic ink on A3 lining paper

Gouache and acrylic ink on A3 lining paper

The strength of the acrylic helps  define the form in space crudely. Again the red suggests the sexual nature of the model and the pose hints at her willingness and availability. But these are just a random assortment of pigments splashed on a page. The strength of colour conveys passion. I am delighted that this piece comes from a sketch in my sketchbook. My sketchbook is not just and playground and a science lab; it is also a dormitory where potential paintings sleep.

These first explorations in hindsight were too link to a need to represent.

A5 sketchbook. Mixed media on packing tape.

A4 sketchbook. Mixed media on packing tape.

An experiment in my sketchbook meant a patch-up was needed with packing tape. Applied randomly it made an interesting positive and negative arrangement on the page. I found some paper and cut a collage, sealed with acrylic binder and overlaid acrylic inks. I felt a need to use unmixed colours to push my boundaries

A5 sketchbook. Mixed media on found paper

A5 sketchbook. Mixed media on found paper

The found paper for this piece and the next was cut into quarters in a 3 to 1 ratio. An L shape with a window top right. A figurative pose was added to this new substrate using acrylic inks.

A5 sketchbook. Mixed media on found paper

A5 sketchbook. Mixed media on found paper

The same procedure was followed here. A more modest pose was adopted for this piece although the colour scheme is still zingy and extrovert.I felt no need to worry about hands and feet. The form,pose and attitude adopted was enough. Once the notion clicked, this was a really joyful way of working and I would love to rework some much larger, on canvass with paints.

Tonal study page 173

The last two pieces for the exercises were rapidly executed, expressive but crudely wrought. Again, for contrast, I feel my tonal study should be a little more refined and include more detail.

A3 sketchbook (loose leaf) charcoal on grey toned paper

A3 sketchbook (loose leaf) charcoal on grey toned paper

I noticed from the course literature that there was an alternation of light and dark in the tonal study. This piece read light/dark/light/dark/light/dark from left to right level with the models cheek. She is listening to her sweetheart’s voice and is feeling blissful. Here, I have tried to confront a serious weakness rather than consolidate a strength. I mean I chose charcoal and attempted to work really darkly. I built up tone by drawing, blending and laquering multiple layers. I am pleased the shape demonstrates solidity of form in space. The piece is not as refined as I could wish. Lacquering still means the lower layers are workabler to a certain extent. It permits lifting out and further blending. There are fixatives designed to hold but be workable but I leared that many thin layers is best.

A sense of Light and Space

A3 tonal sketch: Sense of light and space

A3 tonal sketch: Sense of light and space

I am really beginning to enjoy charcoal. Immediate and responsive mark-making. Lovely blending capacity for tone and volume. My model is chilling in a window seat with the light of the evening giving a strong cast shadow.

A3 sketchbook: loose leaf. Charcoal sketch showing sense of place and light

A3 sketchbook: loose leaf. Charcoal sketch showing sense of place and light

Domestic setting. The light from the window made strong lights and darks. I am trying to go really dark with charcoal to make contrast with the light. The page is a pale grey and yet appears very light. Colour is relative. I skipped on details settling woth the hint of a tap. A brush floats infront of the window. I am purchasing white charcoal pencils for highlights but also to draw glass. I gave up on a vase on the left side as every eraser disintegrated or got filthy. Ironic since the theme is getting things clean. In reality I’ve ended up with a dirty picture of my wife!

A3 loose leaf: Tonal sketch showing light and space

A3 loose leaf: Tonal sketch showing light and space

Trying to erase the flaws in my charcoal technique. I suspect I use too much fixative too frequently between sketching intervals. I am currently researching the best charcoal paper pads. My tutor feels I work best with media that I am not fully in control. An expressive messines occurs in my mark making. I understand  that coloured charcoal including white is available.

A5 sketchbook: Charcoal nude showing light and a sense of place

A5 sketchbook: Charcoal nude showing light and a sense of place

I am so glad I have persevered with this medium. I feel this has soft lighting and there is a suggesting of form and solidity. The vine charcoal in particular is great for reworking and the lines pushed around easily. The fixative,lightly applied, allows reworking and really dark tones can be built up. Why can’t a body be a Cathedral and drawn in the style of Dennis Creffield? Both edifices are to the glory of God?

A5 sketchbook: Tonal study showing light and form

A5 sketchbook: Tonal study showing light and form

My model is pregnant. I think that charcoal is great for showing skin but it is possible to muddy the effect using white. I would prefer to letb the page show through. I feel I am getting to know how much fixative is just enough. The highlight would be showing the weight bearing in the right hand. The dimples at the lower spine are badly observed.

A5 Sketchbook. Tonal study showing sense of light and form

A5 Sketchbook. Tonal study showing sense of light and form

Variation on a theme. The same subject viewed from multiple angles. I am now trying to understand how vine charcoal and compressed forms such as pencils can combine. My sketchbook is generic cartridge paper. I realise that Strathmore produce a quality charcoal specific paper pad. I am keen to develop classical drawing technique using specifically designed resources. Tapping the vine charcoal once laid gives a gently mottled skin effect. Not happy with the dulling effect of white tint. Perhaps pastel or conte crayon would be gentler.

A5 sketchbook: Charcoal study using negative shapes.

A5 sketchbook: Charcoal study using negative shapes.

A5 sketchbook Tonal study on dark background

A5 sketchbook Tonal study on dark background

Of the two I think I prefer the dark background which is just as well as the original light version doesn’t exist anymore. I like the cropped torso composition because the negative shapes in the composition is just as important as the subject itself. I have tried to push this technique and extend my repertoire. In doing so, I believe some of the freshness has gone and the is some sense of being overworked.

A5 Sketchbook: Tonal sketch showing form and proportion

A5 Sketchbook: Tonal sketch showing form and proportion

I have enjoyed this exploration into this technique and media. I have hated charcoal and was advised by an art teacher in school never to use it. I have been put off every since. However, it  great for building tone rapidly and evenly. I am beginning to recognise the virtue in vine charcoal and the relative merits of compressed and charcoalpencils. I must pursue this with the correct Strathmore 500 charcoal pad.

Double A5 in my sketchbook using vine and compressed charcoal

Double A5 in my sketchbook using vine and compressed charcoal

I do not rate myself as a contender to Degas. I do recognise the integrity in leaving honest corrections in view and a thickening of a black outline. It is rougher and slightly more visceral than the more polished attempts. I tried to leave mark-making and scratches rather than blend everything. I  was interested in the muscle groups evident when the model fixes her hair.

Assignment 5 option 4  submission

http://community.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/profiles/blogs/drawing-1-assignment-5-final-submission-mixed-media-self-portrait

The idea for the finished piece evolved.

A5 self portrait idea
A5 self portrait idea

My tutor, Dr Linda Khatir, referred to Mike Newton  in my assessment 4 tutor report and consolidated in my mind that a portrait does not need to be a likeness but an exploration of who you are; or who you want to be. I am a collection of interests displayed in a bucket-head that probably say more about me than my skin does.

A4 self portrait from memory in Giacometti's style
A4 self portrait from memory in Giacometti’s style

I believe in the power of grey and perhaps colour selection says something about me that surface portrait can’t. It scapes beneath the surface into the subconscious parts of the psyche. Perhaps the subconscious choices are the most honest presentation of ourselves. Pursuing this; is my apparently conscious choice of a self-portrait for a convenient model  actually a subconcious revelation of narcissism?

The final submission

Assignment 5: Mixed media self-portrait

Assignment 5: Mixed media self-portrait

http://community.how-to-draw-and-paint.com/profiles/blogs/drawing-1-assignment-5-final-submission-mixed-media-self-portrait

Mike Newton’s “Double Cross” detail from a personal recommendation in my tutor report, is apparent in my left eye, (viewed on the right) to show visual nature of learning. Perhaps it is easier to spot if you view it side on.. The final piece used a mixed media approach that is only partially successful. I purchased Ralph Mayer’s Artist’s Handbook in an attempt to learn how mixed media can combine. I am wiser because of this effort and would “do” things differently. However, I know from experience which is different from knowing because someone told you. I think this is a maxim true of OCA in general. I am a more informed artist because of what I have experienced through engagement with ideas, knowledge, attitudes and concepts. Will it translate to making me a better teacher?

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