Posted in life drawing

Life Drawing a Couple

Last Wednesday night I went to life drawing class and had an opportunity to draw two models in the same sitting. They were life partners, so very comfortable with each other.

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This drawing (above) was my favourite from the night. It wasn’t easy to do as I had to look at each section individually and suggest connections between the entangled areas of their bodies. I still got a few things mis-aligned but for the most part I captured a good likeness to them, their pose and the mood of the pose.

The drawing above where five minute poses. I used a white Poca pen for the guy and then added blue soft pastel to bring him and the shadows to life. The woman was drawing with blue soft pastel and white conte. She was sitting on a stool but I didn’t have time to sketch that in. I was pleased with how well the blue stood out on the black paper.

The woman (above) was drawn first in light pencil sketches and then in black ink pen. The man was drawn in 2B pencil. I had a little trouble getting his proportions at first but after a few under sketches he came together eventually.

The sketches above range in time – 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes and 5 minutes. They were mostly warm up sketches at the start of the night.

I’m looking forward to seeing how my rendering of the human form develops over the next year as I attend. I’m a little concerned that my drawings are too tight and I need to loosen up. But art is a work in progress kind of thing, so I’ll keep giving it a go.

I think if you’re interested in attending a life drawing class, you should take the opportunity to get along and give drawing the human form a go. It’s not easy but if you concentrate on looking at the negative space around the limbs, head and shoulders and other area of the body, you’ll find that your drawings will appear on the page.

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I was asked in last week’s class how I got the two models on the page and in proportion.

I’m not sure if you’re interested in my process, but here it is:

Basically I look at the negative space between the limbs and around them. I then look for what I call ‘anchor points’ between the two figures. So, in the above drawing, I noticed that the crease of his bottom was in alignment with her belly, the feet were on the same line, and her head was resting on his shoulder.

When I have all of those areas figured out, I was able to focus on drawing the lines and shapes rather than getting confused and overwhelmed with the idea of drawing the human body.

I also start drawing general shapes in from the top of the head to the feet, then I develop detail as I go.

For me, I have to be relaxed and in the flow to draw from life. It takes a little time for my mind to quiet down and then I just draw.

Posted in anxiety, Drawing, Drawings, Editing, life drawing, visual diary

Life Drawing

Recently, I decided it was time to start sharpening my observation and drawing skills. So, I did a bit of research and found a fortnightly life drawing class held in Caloundra, Queensland. I’ve been to two sessions so far. The first one had a male model the second had a female model. They were great to draw.

This charcoal drawing was done in 10 minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing this model. She had beautiful curvy lines to follow and when she sat in this position, I loved how her legs crossed and she sat up. The photo has a few charcoal smudges but that’s because I had to flip the page and move on to the next drawing fast and I didn’t erase any of the marks before taking this photo.

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Charcoal on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The last time I did life drawing class was in the first half of 2005 when I was at Art School in Melbourne, and I remember it being quite a challenging class as I had a lot of difficulty getting proportions and drawing what I was actually seeing in front of me.

Now fourteen, nearly fifteen years later, I have jumped in to life drawing and it’s been a lot of fun. I was nervous returning to life drawing class, but I am so happy that I have done it. I am connecting with other artists, being inspired by their approach to drawing what they see and I am deepening my ability to observe and draw with more accuracy.

This drawing below is in graphite and I was pleased with the result as it was accurate in proportion and I finally got the hands right. I find hands, noses and ears really difficult to draw. I will have to keep focusing on them and develop that skill.

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Graphite on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 10 minute drawing, 1/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

Below are two of my favourite drawings from my most recent life drawing class. The model was so beautiful to draw and she did some excellent poses that added interest and challenged all of us to stretch ourselves.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

The reclining drawing below was a real challenge for me as it wasn’t easy for me to get her arms down as I saw them. But in the end it worked out and I do love this drawing.

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Graphite and charcoal pencils on acid free paper. Life Drawing, 15 minute drawing, 15/5/2019. Artist: Selina Shapland

What I love about drawing and art in general is that it takes me to a special place where time, worries and anxieties fall away. I am in the moment. Completely. Utterly. Consumed by what I am drawing. For someone with anxiety as a constant companion, it is magnificent freedom to be in a space where the constant chatter is quiet.

Art, for me, is a like a meditation. When my inner critic gets involved, my art turns out a bit crappy. But when it is hushed and nothing more than background noise, my art seems to come to life.

Here are some other drawings and sketches from my life drawing classes so far. Some of my favourite pieces are the 30 second gesture drawings where I’ve scribbled madly using charcoals so I could capture the overall twist and movement of the model.

I’ve also been chipping away at editing my novel, The Living Death of Toddy James. I do that while sitting on the train on the way in to work during the week. I have to admit that my writing is much more fun when I take the pressure off myself to make it publishable or perfect. Also, returning to art has helped to free me from the inner chatter so I can get on with being creative.

I’ve also been learning cross hatching techniques, portraiture, watercolour botanical painting and how to draw with one line and not to judge the outcome.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve treated myself to three new visual diaries to fill. One is filled with good quality watercolour paper, the other two are ‘lay flat’ mini visual diaries for drawing and mixed media. Now I just have to get over the fear of making a mistake on the blank page and fill them with the things I see.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s creative. Thanks for stopping by and supporting my creative life style blog.

Posted in creativity, Drawing, Drawings, Gouche, Gratitude, visual diary, Water Colour, Water Colours

Gouche and Crosshatching Creative Art

This week I have been playing around and creating botanical art in my new Windsor and Newton Watercolour visual diary. I also bought a pack of 18 Gouache paints and combined them with watercolour, watercolour pencils and a black pen to bring my back garden and front garden to life.

Below are two of my botanical compositions. The first one is a representation of the plants in my back yard. I think the part I love most about this artwork is how I’ve captured the aloe vera leaves in the terra cotta pot. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this artwork.

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Below is a short timelapse video of how I created the botanical composition above.

This image below is a selection of the plants in my front yard. I enjoyed putting the deep red on the page. It’s a lovely contrast to the green hews of the other plants. And I love how lively the other plants are too.

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Below is a short video of photos I took from the concept drawing of the plants through to the finished art piece.

I’ve also been learning more about crosshatching lately. The three images below are a potato, a nose and a sphinx cat. They are all in my visual diary. I had a great time learning to cross hatch with my retractable pencil and focusing on the light and shadow in these images.

Art is all about observation and enjoying the process of playing with marks on the page.

I’m so pleased that my art mojo has come to life again. It’s wonderful to be back in the flow.

I’m off to do my second life drawing class since 2005 this coming week. I hope I’ll have some images to share. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep drawing and editing my novel. Writing a novel and editing it is a long term game for me, so I am very grateful to have art flourishing in my life again.

I hope you have a great day and do something creative that nourishes you too.

Posted in Drawing, Drawings, Sketches, Water Colour, Water Colours

Gesture Drawing the Figure & Watercolour Fun

Happy Easter to you all!

I’ve spent my day drawing naked women. It’s an artist thing and it’s all about learning to create gesture drawings of the human figure.

Each sketch below was completed in less than two minutes and are from models who provide images for artists to develop their skills.

Here are the five gesture drawings I created this afternoon.

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Taking time out of my long weekend to draw and listen to David Bowie was fabulous fun. I have really missed just putting pencil to paper and making sketches that are quick reflections of what I see in front of me. I really should do more of this on a regular basis.

And since I was having so much fun, I took one of the gesture drawings of a half naked woman sitting on a stool with fine fabric draped across her legs and did a free hand drawing of her on watercolour paper.

Once I had a good sketch put down on the paper, I used black ink pen to outline her figure. Then it was time for some watercolour to make her pop off the page.

Below is a close up my watercolour drawing. I think it moved past being a gesture sketch but I’m happy with how she has turned out. I can still see areas that could be ‘fixed’ but art isn’t about perfection. It’s more about creative expression and rendering what I actually see on the page. So I am not going to allow my inner critical voice have any say in this one.

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I realised I haven’t done a gesture drawing or any life drawing since the start of 2005 when I was in the first year and a half of a Diploma of Visual Arts (which I never finished because I moved from Melbourne to Brisbane).

That’s a fourteen year gap where I haven’t practiced. So it was great fun to focus on the human figure again.

In time, when I have a better work/life balance, I hope to get along to some life drawing classes and create drawings and paintings that are from a live model rather than from photos. One day I’d like to be able to draw without having to focus so closely on a model or use them for inspiration and jump off into fantasy art.

I’ll get there. One arty mark at a time.

Hope you’re having a fantastic and happy Easter.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope it’s a creative day.