Thursday, January 22, 2009

25 minutes or one hour...the good and the bad of drawing a longer pose

The lovely miss Tina was our model yesterday evening at Shane McDonald's studio in Marietta. Anticipating the huge (20!) crowd of artists we had last week, Shane set up our model stand int he middle of the studio, providing a wonderful stage in the round for us all to take advantage of.

Tina was set up in the lovely, semi-reclining pose for our long drawing. I anticipated trying a new vantage point after each 25-minute drawing period instead of drawing from one spot the whole time.

So my first drawing was done very quickly - I blocked in a couple areas of intense reds and oranges, then defined her form with a light grey charcoal line. I then further defined the shadows and high lights with blues and creams, finally going over all the lines with a black charcoal for further definition.

I like the immediacy of this drawing, the layering of color and the ambiguity in the face.

The second drawing I positioned myself at Tina's feet. This is a soft rose colored textured pastel paper (it feels like a fine grit sand the end of the evening I felt like I had sanded off my fingerprints from all the smudging!)

I started with a light charcoal sketch and slowly added darker values to define her shape as well as the cast shadows on the drapery. I changed the position of the feet slightly to create a more pleasing line at the bottom of the drawing.

At first I was able to maintain a nice combination of sketchy and defined moments - and i should have stopped after the first 25 minutes that I sketched on this paper. But I continued after our break - and got WAY too nit-picky. I spent a good ten minutes playing with the light on her nose (someone give me a sticky note!!!) when I should have been looking at the whole lighting scheme.

In the very last ten minutes (thanks Tina for holding the pose!!!) I did add the cast shadow under the knees and defined the elbow and feet more, which did take my focus away from her nose.

So...are longer poses or shorter poses better? There's something to be said for forcing yourself to work quickly, getting the overall impulse quickly and without too much thought. I often love my beginning stages. It's when I have almost TOO much time to work that I tend to get too tight and lose my spontaneity. Becoming good at both is an on-going challenge.

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