Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mixed Media Drawing of a Male and Female Nude. Figuring Out Their Relationship.

I am really excited about this piece that I am working on.  I snapped this photo a few weeks back during a drawing session with a male and female model at our figure drawing group.  I am working on a piece of Clayboard, which I have never used before, but thought I'd give it a try.


I started drawing with black watercolor pencils.  I defined shapes and shadows, and then used a wet brush to move the pigment around, adding extra water and either letting it drip or dry flat to make pools.

When I was happy with that layer, I applied a thin, semi transparent layer of a mix of media (modeling paste and a clear matte glaze) over the whole piece so that I could use a charcoal pencil on top of the watercolor.  Because it is clayboard, and design to allow you to scratch the surface, I had to either embrace or fight that characteristic of the board.


In some place I used a nail, or an exacto knife, and even some sandpaper to carve out areas of light.  Then I would go back in with my charcoal pencil and re-define the shadows.

Another layer of medium on top, and then I applied some acrylic paint to a few places where I wanted the highlights stronger or the shadows deeper.


I think I'm about 90% finished.  I want to make the background a bit darker, and fix her hand, which still feels rather glove-like.  I'm really pleased with the male figure - I'm trying not to let myself make any more adjustments on him. 

While I was working on this, I kept thinking about what this piece says about this couple's relationship (not implying they are a couple in real life...they are a couple in the Art).  Is she taking advantage of him? Crushing him? Is he defeated? Or is he showing incredible strength and masculinity by supporting this woman?  I couldn't help but think the relationship could read completely different if her head was turned away, or her hand rested on his shoulder, rather than above her head.  I want to re-do this piece about 10 times, making ever so subtle adjustments to the little features, seeing how their relationship changes.

What do you think their relationship is?  Why is he in this pose, is he helping her? Is she hurting him? Are they happy?

9 comments:

Billie Crain said...

My first impression of this couple is one of dominance...her over him. His head is down in defeat, his hand clenched in anger at his position in the relationship. On the flipside, she appears to be blissfully happy(almost orgasmic) with the situation and seems to purposely be pushing back against him applying even more pressure judging by the placement and tension in her visible hand. How's that for an analysis?;)

Btw, I love this whatever the story. Great work with the blk/wht, light and shadow.

Jackie said...

I love your work so much !! I am always intrigued by your pieces . I think the way she is leaning on him definitely shows dominance and intimacy . Maybe he is a little overwhelmed but his position almost has a feel of relief and relaxation. Maybe they just had great sex;)
I love it!!

krystyna81 said...

Billie...I think I'm struggling with the anger/intensity/strength dillema...what exactly do those clenched fists mean?

(I'm all for a blissfully happy as well :)

krystyna81 said...

Jackie...can there be a balance between dominance and intimacy? It's another wierd aspect of the scale of the two figures - she is occupying more space, dominating the composition in terms of size. But his presence - and the drama of the lighting - tend to give him more importance.

I kind of like the cropped view as well.

Billie Crain said...

Clenched fists usually denote anger or rage. If he were bracing himself to better support her I would think his hands would be palms down. She still appears to me to be applying additional force against him. The way her closest shoulder is raised also suggests she's straining against him and not simply resting or leaning. JMHO, of course. What was your intention with this piece? What story did you want to convey?

Fay Akers said...

This is very nice. Thank you for the work flow through, not sure everything you did, but it's intriguing.

Jo Miller said...

The piece is very emotional whichever way one may view it. They both seem to be overcome by emotion.

I see them as a couple where she has had a most wonderful day. He not so much. But together they will share the place that each is at.

Love the piece!

brenda said...

I really love your way with light! have I said that before?
my interpretation is that they are having a conversation, the male is deep in thought and reaching in himself, while the female has said her piece, she is open & a little relieved to have shared her mind. That could be why the male looks a little burdened as he is carrying her sharing.
I think I see both intimacy in the vulnerability & strength in the male supporting the female & and female being and 'dominant'

Suzanna FLINGEY said...

Hi. I really love this piece! To me it shows strength and a bond that is stronger that dominance if that makes sense? Do you sell any of your work? I live in the uk but would love to talk with you about maybe purchasing a piece like this one? Do you have a shop online? Let me know suzanna