Three final pieces for Assignment 4
Figure study using line. Figure study using tone. Self Portrait using line and tone.
For this assignment I was to complete two large figure studies (A1 size) and a self-portrait (any size). I had to do 3 drawings in total, together with supporting studies experiments etc.
For each drawing consult my preliminary studies. Write notes on the artists that have inspired me to work in a certain way. Be inventive about work and materials and allow around two hours for each drawing.
1 Figure study using line (A1) Seated model in an upright chair.
This study was about drawing a three-dimensional form using line. Take note of the figure and the chair in relation to the whole scene, gradually describing details such as the hand etc using single line or combinations of narrow thick, curved and straight, fractured expressive, gestural, dynamic dramatic and so on.
I don’t like A1 it feels too big for me, in part probably because I haven’t got a drawing board that size, and can’t afford one. This means I have to work on a table and boy it gives me backache, this is especially difficult when using a model as the table needs to be at hand whilst drawing. I had gone back through my work within Part 4 and felt I had done a lot of pure fine line drawings, so decided I wanted to have a bit of fun and use various widths and lengths of media. Conte stick were something I have never used a lot of, but an artist by the name of Guy Denning who is inspirational with Conte and line makes fabulous drawings using Conte. I am not fond of his subject matter as his portraits are a bit depressing, but his application is so energised and he has some very expressive drawings, using newsprint and cardboard as well as paper. I thought I would have a go at cardboard and did a small drawing, I felt like I had lost control of my media, which I am guessing is part of the fun. I did in the end decide not to use it but liked the lined pattern it made and used it for part of the drawing underneath, to give some texture.
I did some preparatory drawings, to check I had the position correct and just to make sure I did want to go with the Conte, and not an alternative line, in the end I felt I would experiment with Black Conte, Grey and White Pastel, Rubber, Pencil, Willow Charcoal and a non-functioning Biro. The Biro was an after though I had placed the cardboard under my paper in order to get the ridged look and notice when making line using either Conte or the Pastel on their side, it would highlight my pencil marks, so to begin with I used and old Biro that hadn’t any ink, to put in some deeper lines. Now as I added the broader line I could see the finer indentations underneath. I also used a rubber to make short lines within the wider ones. I love the texture Conte sticks give when used on their side, it can be seen within the trouser, and just one application was enough in most areas. Pastel was a lot smoother and less dramatic. The line from the cardboard worked well in certain areas, like the top and lower leg but I worked with it a little too much and next time would be more selective where it was used.
I think I was enjoying the process much too much and went way too far with my line work, because although you can see the lines except for areas the fixative caused runs, it may of created more tone within the line than was being asked for. However in the end after my first concerns and even though the model isnt facially accurate, I enjoyed this drawing and felt I learnt a lot about line and how it can be used and how line forms tone. This drawing did go to the wire in time as I thought I had the legs too long, however after numerous measuring and a fed up model, I realised I was lower than the model lying on the ground drawing, which had given an element of foreshortening coupled witht he fact my model does have lovely long leg. Now there was a lesson learned. I would if I did this piece again and not on the constraints of having to show the background, try to do a similar drawing with a suggested background, rather than in full.
2 Figure study using tone (A1) Reclining model
I needed to plan this one carefully with my model dressed in reasonably fitted clothes. Contrasting tones would be a good idea. I was meant to use a strong light but living in a small very deep walled cottage, strong light is not possible, so I had to set up lamps to help. It was suggested I let the light filter across the area of the room in an interesting manner. For this I was to use tone only, and positive and negative spaces.
I wasn’t sure how to go about this one but liked the way Paul Hedley combines watercolour with pastel to create his tonal sketches/paintings. I love working mixed media and after preliminary sketches to determine position, colour and application I decided watercolour and pastel would work. I wanted to work this drawing partly in an impressionistic style and didn’t fully draw the surroundings, it worked to a point but would have worked better had I not felt the need to portray the contours and tonal changes on the bed linen.
As I was going to be using watercolour I needed a paper that would take it and to be honest I hadn’t money to buy anything posh, so used a sheet of Eco paper made from cloth. I hadn’t used it before and it turned out to take the toned washes well, but it didn’t take the pastel without furring. I must admit it give the picture a material feel and I would like to use it in future, as I am sure the fluffing could be used to advantage.
This time to spare me some back pain I used a piece of framing board to rest the drawing on my easel. I couldn’t stretch the paper, but it held the water well without too much buckle. The base tone was just a wash mainly pink/brown, but I added more orange to the top to show the tonal different. I had decided to do the picture in a limited colour wash first and then work into it using pastel over the top to enhance the tone. I also positioned the models legs in a way it enabled me to show perspective.
Drawing in this loose fashion doesn’t come easy for me and if there had not been time constraints on the drawing I would undoubtedly had to fight the desire to work this picture longer. If I was to take it further and develop the drawing towards a finished piece I would like to try putting less detail in the fore and maybe with a little artistic licence push the bed edge nearer the models rear and placing the model into the golden mean a little more. I enjoyed this piece and would like to take the method further maybe using coloured pencil. Pencil was my first choice but due to the time constraint and size of this drawing, it really didn’t make sense.
3. A portrait or self-portrait combining line and tone
Here I was to create a portrait with believable features in proportion. I was to work with line and tone.
For this I wanted to do a sketch similar in fashion to the old masters, silverpoint was too slow, and has to be done over time, though I did look at sketching with this media and did a quick drawing. I decided to colour the paper to give it a more aged look and after looking at media decided to use coloured pencil and restricted the colours to a white, sanguine, brown and black. I absolutely love the drawings by Rubens and it was some of his drawings that inspired me to have a go. Unfortunately the paper didn’t take the watercolour well, it was meant to be mixed media paper, but it took the pigment in patchy pools, sadly I didn’t have any other paper more suitable, so continued. For the most part it worked well. The shading was light and I kept the tonal contrast as delicate as I could. I would like to carry this style on to a finished piece at some stage. I think there is a need to experiment with the background colour and tweak it as its colour tone was slightly wrong and needed to lean more to the brown than the red. The background being patchy wasn’t as big a problem as I thought and in places added to the picture, and distracted in others. However it does look like me and made me realise how big my jowls had become. Oh dear, there again I did leave out the wrinkles as I wanted to keep the portrait soft, the shoulders and upper chest faded into the background colour.
I have included the preliminary sketches below, and some are interrelated, I tried media out within the 3 assignment pieces and if it didn’t suit one drawing I thought about how it would work with another, so my preliminary work was looked at both individually and also as a whole.
Various drawing specific sketches were done but techniques medias and method were sometimes intermingled.