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July 27, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

Self portraits

Here are the 2 self portraits I have done so far which follow a few preliminary drawings. Each one was done sitting in front of a mirror and both are far better than I anticipated they would be !

selfpastel 1. A4 Conte crayons

selfpencil 2. A4 HB pencil

Check and log

Which drawing material produced the best results  – why ?

So far in the figure drawing I have been doing I have found it  easier to show form using charcoal or pastel and have favoured this approach over line drawing.

I was initially quite pleased with 1 although I  have made myself look far too serious. Some of the tone is too heavy which in turn adds to the somewhat intense expression.

I then altered my position slightly for 2. and chose pencil. There is far too much rubbing out but I think the pencil gives a better finished result. The lines on the neck are too straight. which is really obvious to me in the photo but less so in the original. I struggled considerably with the nose and less so but also with the eyelids, but I am happy with the way I have shown that I am looking to one side.

Does your self portrait look like you ?

I think on balance 2.  is  reasonably like me, 1. less so. I think as well, that it can be seen that they are both of the same person. I wanted in 1. to show my tousled hairstyle , that I have blue eyes and that I wear earrings (although seldom makeup). Perhaps the strong  use of colour adds to the rather intense, harsh effect ? My first thought when standing back from 2. was that it looks like my Aunt, who in turn I am told  I look like …. interesting….. My husband thinks that both, but especially 2, have some merits. On the other hand, my daughter was not convinced … I don’t think she realises what my baseline drawing skills used to be and how much progress this drawing shows.

I will reflect on the final 2 questions on page 129 at another time as neither apply here.

July 23, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

Medieval Babies

Stunning images … and interesting text of course .

July 22, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

First ever self portrait :)

I haven’t tried any of the exercises, I just sat down in front of the mirror. As I could see the light and shadow, I decided to have a go using Conte and willow charcoal at the top half of my A4 sketch book. selportrait

Although some of the shading is too heavy, it’s quite good for my first attempt.

July 22, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

The marathon ends … Day 3 life drawing Chloe

3rd and final day of Life Drawing Summer School. Tutor Cindy, model Chloe.

Several quick  warm up exercises started the session, to try to loosen us up.

This first one was done without looking at the paper and I think it has captured the pose.

chloeunseen A1 willow charcoal

We worked through other exercises, not taking the pencil off the paper, a silhouette of a seated pose, contour drawing and so on prior to a long pose in the afternoon to use acrylics once again.

chloecharc chloebackA2 charcoal and pencil –  we had 5 minutes for each.
I am quite pleased with both, the negative space really helped in the second one.

Before I started on the acrylic study, I tried out several small sketches to both planchloedetail A2
the pose and work on some of the detail. I was most pleased with the arm and the pose, although the leg and foot improved a little.

The tutor mixed the 3 tones of the acrylics for me based on yellow ochre. She suggested having a different sized brush for each tone which I found helpful. chloeacrylA1 acrylics plus dry pastel

I think I managed the acrylic paint better today and although Chloe is once again too broad especially her left shoulder/arm, I have captured the pose reasonably well. As we turned our easels for others to see, the tutor brought the left shoulder in front of the leg with a line of pastel. in fact, I had drawn the position of the left leg correctly when I checked. The head is probably a bit small and not well drawn – or painted, but the settee, drape, cushion all look ok. The detail added with pastel really improved these furnishings.I started to try to show foreshortening as the Summer School progressed and the right leg and perhaps the right arm  reflect this.

The 15 hour Life Drawing Summer School, on some of the hottest days of the year, gave me lots of opportunities to add to  my skills.

July 22, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

The marathon continues … Day 2 life drawing Steve

Life Drawing Summer School – Tutor Sue, model Steve.

Once again a similar day of differing poses and timings in order to become familiar with drawing Steve. The afternoon was a long pose  for which I once again used acrylics.

I applied the acrylics too heavily on the legs in this piece but gradually started to get better control of the medium.

steveacrylic A1 acrylics.

I applied the tone  much too heavily on the right leg  ( and nearly as badly on the left leg) and found I couldn’t move or lighten it. Given the time restraints, I decided to try to use the paint more cautiously and am reasonably pleased with the paint use on the  rest of the figure.  Sue thought I had really started to use the paint more successfully, likening the head and neck area to pointillism. Others in the gr0up could also see the progress I had made, so a good second day !

July 22, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

The marathon continues …Day 1 life drawing Julie

This was Day 1 of a 3 day Life Drawing Summer School with a different tutor each day.

Tutor – Maria

There was a variety of exercises throughout the day, Julie the model holding the poses for differing times as well.  There were several experienced life drawing students in the group but Maria started with a few of us by demonstrating sight sized drawing which I tried for the first few poses.

2julietorso Willow charcoal A2

I had tried several of the whole figure and Maria suggested I try a section of the body only. I used a rubber to lift off charcoal to create light and mid tone areas and drew with the charcoal for the dark tones. The  frottage mesh background was added when I got back home (accidentally initially 🙂 ) as I  was taking photos of some of the day’s work. Although I am quite pleased with this, I have made the slim Julie look  too chunky.

2juliequickten approx. A4 willow charcoal

We ended the day with 4 increasingly shorter poses on one large sheet and this 6 minute one has captured Julie quite well. Mesh effect added afterwards and I think the texture works well.

2julieback Approx A4

This was another short pose, we had 4 minutes and I used the tonal method as described above. I was pleased with it at the time – and in the final review of the 5 hour class the tutor said it was the best study she had ever seen me do.  I had previously attended 5×2 hr classes with her, so I guess progress !

July 9, 2013 / vanessaparkinson

The marathon begins with … portrait workshop Emma.

On the hottest day of the year so far I did a  5 hour portrait workshop with Scott – whose life drawing workshop I attended back in September .

emmatone A2 Once again we did a variety of exercises of varying lengths of time and from different viewpoints in the room. This one was using a graphite stick.  One main thing I learnt from this that it is seldom that the pupils of the eyes are drawn as round, unless you want to show that the person is startled.

emmaexerciseA2  I really liked this approach.

1. Initial quick pencil sketch.

2. Map out the shadows/light areas – drawing round the areas with a light pencil line to establish the shape.

3. Put in the tones.

4. Using hand or piece of paper, smudge with strokes in the same direction – in this case vertically.

5. Draw back into the piece.

The eyes are still a little startled and her hair line shouldn’t  have been symmetrical but otherwise I was quite pleased with this in terms of facial form.

emmaallcharc A2  Another technique I seem to get on well with. This time, charcoal over the whole sheet, rubbed back. Then worked into with a rubber or more charcoal to sculpt the features. The tutor, Scott felt this to be successful too.

emmacrylic A2 card. Acrylic paints.

I had never used acrylics before. Scott showed us some basic colour mixing. The acrylics were drying very quickly on the palette due to the extreme heat and also drying on the card quicker than I expected. I also found that not being used to them I couldn’t move them around like watercolours – once applied they dried quickly and I put them on too thick. I used the red to sculpt the right side of Emma’s face and am happier with that adjustment. I ran out of time to finish but have included it to show a fuller selection of my first attempts at portraits… and acrylics.

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