I was more deliberate about the design of this than I usually am when drawing one pose on top of another. I included straight lines suggested by the interior of the studio as a deliberate contrast with the organic flowing contours of the model. By extending washes into some of these more abstract grid lines I was aiming to break up the composition further and increase the general ambiguity and transparency and the blurring of apparent boundaries between body and space, self and other…
The cut-out effect is the result of photographing the drawing in poor lighting, which made the whole thing a bit grey, then erasing the background area in Photoshop to lighten it.
I’ve sometimes done this on previous posts to clean them up a bit around the corners but it’s more obvious and deliberate-looking here, and I like how the soft grey links the three individual poses together to create an apparent group of figures.
One of my drawings won a prize this week at the arts club annual exhibition. I also have two paintings in the show and sold one at the private view despite the NFS tag. Someone made me an offer and I took the cash. I’ve had offers for the drawing too but haven’t accepted…yet…as it’s one I’m fond of. I do have a plan chest full of drawings though so why have I not let it go?
It’s wonderful and very encouraging to receive acknowledgement and appreciation, and money, for my work.
I’ve sold many paintings in the past that I really loved and have no regrets about parting with any of them. (Well, maybe one, and I’ve insisted on keeping a few). Letting go of the old makes way for the new, and no one can enjoy work that’s hidden away in a rack or drawer.
I heard that a local artist, an excellent and prolific draughtsman, has been selling his life drawings for silly money at his open house show. A kind of loss leader for his paintings perhaps. I like that this gets his work, and his name, out there and suggests both a lack of attachment and a confidence that he can more or less give them away as there will always be plenty more where these came from.
The winning drawing is “Two’s Company” which I posted here on 18th February.
With this little study I couldn’t resist taking the wash-in a bit further and introduced some colour notes so it hovers between drawing and painting. The pencil grid lines are a traditional method to help with placement and correspond with a similar grid I’ve made on clear acetate in a slide frame.
Grid method: Make a clear viewfinder and draw your grid lines onto it. A piece of clear acetate in an old slide transparency frame works well for a small portable grid. Then draw a matching scaled-up grid on the canvas. Look through your viewfinder to select the scene you want to draw/paint and then transpose that scene onto the canvas. It’s like marking reference points on a map. You can locate key points on the little viewfinder’s grid…top of head, left knee, right big toe etc…and mark them in relation to the grid on the canvas. Of course it also works for still lifes, landscapes and other subjects, and for scaling up photographs etc.
NB: Make sure both grids have the same aspect ratio i.e. the ratio of the longer side to the shorter side needs to be the same for both the canvas and the viewfinder. Otherwise you’ll be all over the place!
With a bit of practice this can be easier and more accurate than placing the whole scene without a reference grid, especially if the composition is quite complex.
OK time to review – hence the title. I’ve broken through the resistance to describing values, which is important because values are vital to the impact of an image.
Having made this leap it’s clear I need a lot more pratice in this area as these new tonal drawings have an overall mid to light grey value making them rather bland. I’ve heard it said that the work is all in the midtones, but I can definitely get more punchy with the darks.
I could also improve the way I combine line with tone and create more lost edges (where one form blurs into another). There are one or two in this drawing but they are mainly happening in the background…and too often a contour line is interrupting an otherwise nice blend : (
So…do less outlining…improve edge variation…and punch up those darks! And maybe also darken the midtones enough to leave one or two clear highlights…