At life drawing this week, I wanted to try and retain the liveliness of mark making and sense of energy which I had found in drawing to music in Assignment 3. I find it very difficult to go into a life drawing session with any fixed ideas, but helpful to have thought about some sort of agenda.
Whilst we waited for the model, I drew a plaster cast of ‘Winged Victory’ which sits rather unloved on a dusty shelf.
When the model arrived, we started with the usual quick poses.
The next drawing was on a smallish (A3) piece of paper using a XL soft graphite stick and an electric eraser. I love drawing with a wedge of eraser in charcoal or graphite but it causes persistent pain in my thumb, so my husband bought me an electric one. It rather looks like a snail has wandered around removing graphite. I rather like it but it doesn’t have the variation of thickness of mark that a wedge gives. It is certainly less painful, though, if a little noisy in a life session.
Progressing to longer poses.
I found this a very dull pose and even duller drawing. The model turned and we had the same pose for a further 15 minutes from the back. Luckily, in reaching another support from my folder, I found a piece of paper on which I had glued newspaper and brushed it with gesso. Thsi has made the drawing much more interesting and created a suggestion of context, which I always find really difficult in life drawing. The shape of his head is rather worrying, though.
The very soft graphite gives attractive if limited tones with very broad brush marks, but I rather enjoy the way it suggests form here without being too explicit and the lost and found edges.
As an initial basis, I brushed ink in to record areas of shadow. This altered the way the support responded to charcoal and the end result is all rather crude and horrid. Soft graphite would have been a much better choice. Persevering with the approach of starting with tone but seeking a much softer tune which I could manipulate, I wiped the support with roughly crushed charcoal and then worked back into it with an eraser and further charcoal. My difficulty with this longer pose was to keep the sense of suggestion without over description. I like the way the face is suggested but the hand is far too heavy and something quick awful has happened to his left leg, poor guy! Swiping crunchy charcoal around creates variety of mark and drama.