Sunday, 22 January 2012

Life class homework

I had to crack on today, to get my homework done promptly, so that Maurice and I could go out and about next week, being tourists for the last week of his holiday. 

My life model (Jim) went to running club this morning, to meet with other runners and participate in a handicap race.  He had a good run, despite the heat and humidity.  He arrived home at about 11am, where I was champing at the bit, to get on with my drawing.  The plan was for him to lie on the bed, in a comfortable position, so I could draw his feet from several different angles.  The homework specification was to draw 4 A2 versions of one motif (in my case, Jim's feet) with emphasis on different aspects within each drawing. 

Jim lay down on his side, so I could see his legs from behind, below and the front, depending on where I sat in relation to the bed.  In no time, he had fallen asleep (which was my plan) so keeping his feet still was quite easy.  Except that every so often he would twitch and shake his left foot.  We used to have a Jack Russell dog, Daisy, who would twitch her feet and whimper when asleep, and we used to think she was chasing rabbits, or running around.  Jim appeared to be still running his handicap race in his dreams - either that, or he was chasing rabbits too! 

Charcoal on paper with wash and spots.
I have been considering the different cultural attitudes to life drawing.  I understand some people are embarrassed or offended by looking at naked bodies, particularly breasts and genitalia.  However, in some asian countries, I believe it is the height of rudeness to show the soles of your feet deliberately.  I wonder whether the image I have drawn above would be seen by such communities, as soft porn, or whether it would be ok, because Jim was not showing the soles of his feet in order to cause offence.  I will ask Michael or one of the asian students to explore this more.
Oil pastel overlaid on charcoal outlines. 
I sometimes work one image over another. 
The outlines need to be knocked back a bit to make it work more effectively.

I was very pleased with my results - I used charcoal, oil pastel, ink and oil bar, and crumpled paper and charcoal.  I particularly like the oil pastel - it is not especially appealing to use, but I'm starting to understand how to work it.  The oil pastel needs to be rubbed harder than charcoal to smudge it, but you can get dense black areas quite easily, and good directional effects with clarity or blurring depending on how hard you rub. The oil bar is even less appealing to use.  You need to peel off the hard skin, and draw with a very sticky media, which you flood over with wash, resulting in lovely textured lines, that are no longer sticky.  The oil bar gets on your fingers, and takes about 3 washes with soap to remove.  Yuk, but it gives a very distinctive effect.

Charcoal on crumpled paper
 I should have used compressed charcoal for this one on crumpled paper, but I forgot it was in my rucksack.  I went out on Saturday and bought this especially, in order to have another black medium at my disposal, for working on large paper.  This gives me charcoal, compressed charcoal, ink, and oil pastel.  I don't like using fine line marker on large scale work, although I love them for small scale work, as they run out of fluid too quickly, particularly in the heat here.  I don't like thick markers at all for drawing because they are so textureless, although they are very useful in screenprint preparation as they give a very black mark.

Oil pastel with ink wash.  Makes me think of  Gaugin.
Very difficult to draw with clear oil pastel and get the dimensions accurate. 
But quite an interesting effect.  Worth more practice.
Jim woke up after 3 sketches, and sat  up on the bed reading, which was how I ended up drawing the 4th piece from a different pose.  I am glad to have got this done, because I wanted to do more life drawing for my homework (rather than a still life motif).  Jim goes back to the UK for a month next Saturday, so I won't have my own personal life model to work from for next week's homework which is a pity.  If I get time this week, I will work in my sketchbook, drawing Jim's hands.  He has arthritis and his hands are quite knarled so would make interesting shapes to draw, with lots of potential for creating 3D effects by different use of media.  I could play about with this for quite some time, but need to realise this before next Friday.

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