Renewing my Lust for Life

The last few months of 2014 got a little crazy what with the Knit and Stitch Shows and Christmas doggy head commissions and as a result the drawing side of my art practice took a back seat. So, New Year = Renewed Commitment and following an internet search to check what the local colleges were offering, I found a space in a weekly class at Peter Symonds in nearby Winchester. Just two sessions later I am already reaping the benefits of a structured class format, an excellent teacher (Michelle Buhl-Nielsen) and a welcoming and supportive group. The result: my love of Life Drawing has been well and truly re-ignited.

Each week, rather than trying to create the perfect drawing, we have been concentrating on one aspect at a time. This approach I have found to be both liberating and great fun and at last I have found a suitable and satisfying approach to tackling those frustrating 5 and 10 sec warm up poses which tend to be the start of every session.

Week one was all about gesture and here are a couple of my favourites from this session.

10 second gesture drawings (six superimposed)

I love how gesture drawings can be so full of energy (possibly because the model is able to hold more dynamic poses for this short period of time?).

Gesture drawing (15mins)

This seated pose was an example of how a slightly longer gesture drawing could be pretty accurate from a proportions point of view despite no measuring being involved. The tutor handed out rectangular grids at the end of the session for us to check this and I was pleasantly surprised at the result.

So on to week two and “mass”. The brief was to create form rather like we would a sculpture, working from the inside out, keeping it solid, no lines allowed and ignoring light and shadow. Having spent much of last year working in 3’d’ and having recently visited and been inspired by a Henry Moore print exhibition at the Winchester Discovery Centre, I found this technique particularly satisfying and loved the outputs.

Creating solid mass using a back and forth technique

Creating “mass” by lifting away charcoal

This is definitely right up my street and I am already excited about experimenting more with this approach.

Next week is about contour and I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime here are my attempts at putting a few of these techniques together in an untutored session last weekend at the Art House in Southampton. It’s early days yet but I am already feeling a new (playful) Me coming out of these pictures and I kinda like her 🙂

10 min warm up poses, clothed model

30 min pose, pencil on paper

30 minute seated pose, pencil on paper

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