Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Art of the Figure - Drawings and Paintings of the Live Model. Opening Reception 10-01-10

This has been a very busy week, prepping for tomorrow's Art of the Figure Opening at Ann Litrel Art on Mainstreet in Woodstock, GA.

I spent the morning hanging the work - and it looks terrific!  A broad range of styles and techniques in a variety of media - watercolor, pastel, charcoal, and oil.

These are just a few of the pieces in the show, including a few of my pieces, Shane McDonald, Bruce Johnson, and Shannon Brickey

Please come by and see the whole show!  A portion of the proceeds from tomorrow night's sales will benefit the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village in Woodstock.

October 1, 2010 - Ann Litrel Art - 5-9 PM
Live Portrait Drawing Demonstration from 6:30 - 8:30

Monday, September 27, 2010

After a morning in the studio... is an update on the drawing of the nude couple.  Looking very sculptural...there are a few issues with scale....still bringing in the darker values...but it's coming along!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I've ignored my family. And liked it.

Did you ever have one of those pieces that just DEMANDED your attention...a painting or drawing that haunted you at night, causing restlessness and the inability to fall asleep, a piece that just says "PAY ATTENTION TO ME!"  Well I have one of those pieces right now, and my family had to pay the price.  I ignored them all day just so I could do what needed to be done! (of course...if you ask them...they may have enjoyed my absence...but let's not go there!)

So here is what I'm working on! A new 30" x 30" drawing from the evening that we had the couple model for our group.  (his head looks really blurry right now!)

  Because of the complexity of the pose, I used a grid to transfer the photo to the board.

Then I used some vine charcoal to establish an over-all sense of light and shadow.  Trying very hard to think of the WHOLE drawing...not just the little moments that I wanted to dive into.
 After using the vine charcoal, I switched to a hard charcoal pencil to start really defining the shapes. 

I still have a long way to go, but I am so excited about this piece I couldn't wait to show you! It's probably the most beautiful pose I have ever seen...I kind of have to shake my head in des-belief that I actually get to work with these incredible models. 

Oh...and the family's ok.  I think I'll ignore them more often.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Engaged Couple. Drawing the male and female together.

Our figure drawing group has been very lucky the last few months...we've had several opportunities to work with two models together.  It's always a challenge, not only capturing all of the information of two figure vs one, but the posing of the models is challenging as well.  You want both figures to look great - interesting, well lit - from several vantage points as artists are drawing on all sides, you want them to be comfortable, and, you want them engaged with each other - either thru a hand resting on one another or a turn of the head indicating a conversation.

Last night our models were able to give us all of that - poses that were interesting from every angle and that gave us a connection between the figures.

After a series of (INCREDIBLE!) gesture poses, we worked on this 25 minute pose.

The angles of the arms and legs, the variety of height, the beautiful shadows on the figures and cast onto the floor, the masculinity vs femininity, it was all perfect.

As I looked around the room...everyone had created beautiful work!

For the longer pose, the models utilized a bench and sat together in, to me, was a very protective way.  The male model was perched above, his arm gently holding the female models back, she leaned into his chest as if seeking shelter.

I can't wait to keep working!  I have some amazing reference photos to work from, and I think they will continue my most recent series of figures in shadow.  I'll keep you posted :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New figure drawings - the standing pose

Forgive the quickness of this post!  You know I'm only an artist when I don't have mom duty...and pretty soon I have to fetch the little one from school :)

So real quick!  Charcoal drawing on white paper, I think it's 12" 16", 30 minute pose.  Lovely lighting and beautiful model.

And the longer pose of the evening - about an hour and a half of drawing.  The challenge was to take a simple pose, the frontal, standing pose, and make it interesting.  There was a cool spotlight overhead and a warm spotlighting to her left, so I pushed those two temperatures and had fun with color.  Nupastel on Wallis paper.

And a detail of the face and torso...I blocked in the large shapes on the face and then tried to leave it alone...I was about 20 feet away from the model, so details would have been difficult at best.

I loved the pink fan that our model brought as a prop.  It created a lovely glow on her torso!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Face masks and Sandpaper. Tools of the trade!

I'm almost finished with the drawing of the female nude in shadow (I have yet to give her a more profound name!  Suggestions are welcome!).

Today I finished the over-all shadows, and was ready to move into darker darks.  This is the drawing after only drawing with a hard charcoal pencil...

Shadows are all pretty even, there is a nice value range, but I can go even deeper and darker by using a soft charcoal pencil that creates a richer black.

 Detail of the hand area of the drawing...before

and after

The texture you see on the legs comes from the (intentional) rough application of modeling paste on the surface.
And while working on the shadows, I also worked on the light.  For this technique, I used a soft kneaded eraser in the shadows to model the figure, but for the strongest hi lights I used sandpaper to remove charcoal and reveal the clean layers of modeling paste and gesso underneath.

And this gets rather dusty, which I am sure is not good for my lungs, so I was looking ever so stylish in my face mask!
(Can you see the thrill in my eyes?)

I did have to laugh at myself many many times.  I kept trying to blow the dust off the piece as I was sanding.  With the face mask still on. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Working general to specific in a charcoal drawing

I just have to share a quick story before I forget.

A few days ago I finished this charcoal drawing of the male nude on a 12" square panel

And I just started working on this drawing of the female nude on the same size panel.

You can see that I am trying to follow one of my Golden Rules of general to specific.  Look at the big shapes, draw in all of the figure before getting too defined in any one area.

Well you may know by now that I'm usually sharing my studio time with one of my two children, and of course that day Arianna, my toughest critic, was drawing right next to me.  She said

"Mom that looks like your picture", pointing to my reference photo.

I said "Yes Ari - am I doing a good job? Does my drawing match?"

And she holds the photo in her hands, looking from photo to drawing, and finally she says

"You forgot the dots"

And I looked at her and said "What dots?"

She pointed at two beauty marks on the model's side. 

I laughed, because I hade never even SEEN the beauty marks before!  I was looking at the large shapes....Arianna went right for the specifics :) Ah, I have so much to teach her!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Third time's a charm. Drawing over...and over...

I've had this 12" x 16" pastel board floating around my studio for over a year now.  I have drawn on it twice, both times from the live model, both drawings were...well, horrible might be too strong of a word...but they were not good enough to keep.

So it's been washed off twice.  In a very satisfying gesture, I place the board under the faucet and washed away the pastel drawing that I wasn't happy with.

Finally, on Wednesday evening, I was drawing from the gorgeous miss M and decided to work with color instead of black and white, which I think helped break the spell.

This is the beginning of the drawing, you can still see a lot of the previous drawings beneath.

Even as I covered the surface, I was excited about letting the previous marks show thru.  It created a great atmosphere.

There's an interesting tension, as if she's just about to rise out of her chair.  Her facial expression, which I'm not 100% happy with yet, also implies a clenched jawline.  I re-worked her left hand several times, and I still don't know exactly what to do with it.   I'd like to add some more warmth as well.

I don't think I'll wash this one off :)

You can see more of my original figure drawings in my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Inspiring Color Palette

Yesterday I was flipping thru an art magazine that had been lying around for a while and came across an image who's palette I found very fresh and exciting.  A landscape by Kathy Hirsh, created with watercolor and pastel on Wallis paper (as you may know...three of my favorite materials!)

So I tore out the photo and brought it with me to figure drawing group last night, armed with the same materials.  When the model settled into the long pose of the evening, I started with a drawing in red watercolor pencil, which I then washed out most of the way.  Then I started blocking in the shapes of the figure and the chair.

The palette is predominantly various shades of light greens, warm oranges, and small accents of cool blue and a little bit of purple.  I tried to think about the proportions of each color as I drew the figure.

At this point it was a little too red and green - red figure, green background.  And I kept playing with her profile!  I should have stuck a sticky note on it...I was also grabbing my lilac pastel and having too much fun applying it everywhere!  I PUT THE LILAC DOWN and moved on to the lime greens and peaches again.

At this stage everything is feeling a little better as far as working together - the background and figure have many layers of red, greens and peaches, not just one or the other.  I'm still not 100% happy with her profile, so I'll work on that some more. 

I liked working from this palette - I will probably try it again!