I rarely use color to show “local color”, that is, the actual color of the model’s skin and hair. I have more fun when I draw light and shadow. But this week the model at Studio b. wore a red slip that caught the light in exquisite ways. Red just demands to be noticed.
I warmed up with nupastel and conte, switching to watercolor pencils and washable graphite on hot press watercolor paper. Hot press is very smooth paper. Wet color pushes around on it very easily, since there is no texture to catch onto the pigment.
It was a fun night, with a new model. She gave us many challenging poses, especially when we were warming up. Usually our models are fully nude, because only by drawing the nude do you get practice in seeing how the whole figure is put together. I think all my practice has made drawing a clothed model easier. It was easier to “see” the form beneath the clothes.
This week at Studio b., Heather Clements led us in continuing to explore negative space and negative shapes, which involves drawing the area around the figure, instead of drawing the figure. We started this exercise last week. I found it easier to focus on negative shapes this week, and began to play with the negative space a little in my later drawings, adding some color and other shapes. I used charcoal pencil and then nupastel on the 1- and 2-minute warm-up drawings, and I used water-soluble ink pen and watercolor pencils on the longer poses. I left the positive shapes stark white, waiting until I washed over the drawings at the end to perhaps add a little tone to the figure.
Even after practicing this exercise for only two weeks, I can see shapes better as abstractions. An arm is not just an arm, for example, it is also the shape around it that defines it as an arm.
The drawings at lower right are the same pose. I had time left over after I finished one, so I started the second one.
The guest artist series at Studio b is such a treat. This week we were privileged to have Rae Broyles as our guest artist for the figure drawing session. Rae is a likable, enthusiastic, and engaged professional artist and instructor. In between instruction and critiquing, she drew along with us. Our new model was irresistible.
Rae Broyles will be presenting a workshop on encaustic painting at Studio b. on July 10, 2010. She showed us some of her work, and talked to us about the process of painting with hot colored wax, scraping, scratching, and re-painting.
Rae started our figure drawing session with warm-up gesture drawings using wax crayons, with the model changing poses every 30 seconds. Then we did a few 5-minute poses, and then some 15-minute poses. I think the final pose was 30 minutes, with a break midway through. We started each drawing with light-value colors, and then refined it with darker value colors. I drew with the wax crayons up until the end, and then I switched to white nupastel on black charcoal paper.
We drew in the pool courtyard at Studio b., with the pool behind the model, the water features providing the background sound. Colleen Duffley, the owner of Studio b., offered wine or beer or water to the artists, and spent a little time with each one, talking while they worked, or just complimenting and encouraging. Then she tried out some sparkling lights in the pool, getting ready for the studio’s part in the annual Digital Graffiti event which will be throughout the village of Alys Beach this-coming Saturday night.
The whole setting was very intimate, perfect for what we were doing. There is nothing like being absolutely comfortable during the creative process.
This week, Studio b‘s figure drawing instructor Heather Clements gave a demonstration, drawing the model by using one continuous line. Never lifting the pencil from the paper proved challenging, especially the process of drawing without laying in a gesture first. Proportions and shapes had to be corrected by successive efforts. Tonal values and textures were the result of an accumulation of lines, or by varying the pressure, to give lines more weight.
I warmed up using nupastel, and switched to a water-based non-permanent marker, and finally to watercolor pencils. I washed over the non-permanent marker drawing and the watercolor pencil drawings when I got back to my home/studio afterwards.
The energy at these sessions is very high. One of the participants said he had never been so productive! It’s such a pleasure working beside talented, enthused artists. And working with a larger model is freeing. When the subject is less “perfect”, I don’t focus so much on getting things exactly right, which allows more play just for the fun of it.
This week at the figure drawing session at Studio b, instructor Heather Clements suggested that we draw the mirror image of the subject. This required us to transpose the figure in our minds, because we didn’t actually use mirrors. As usual, we drew a number of warm-up gesture drawings, and then some longer poses.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped drawing the mirror image — I’m sure it was a valuable exercise, but the process was boggling my mind. So to continue along the vein of thinking in reverse, I decided to reverse my procedure. I usually draw the shadows to define the form. Instead on this final pose, I drew only the lighted areas, using nearly-white Nupastel on gray paper. At the end, I used a little black Conte to define the form, leaving the gray paper to show through for the midtones.