Life drawing 7: Black ground & two models. With The Stooges in my head.

On the way to the life class I’d been cleaning my ears out with John Cale’s mixes of The Stooges first album. I knew the marks made would be strong and righteous.

All the images this week were created on Paynes grey painted paper.
The act of painting out of near black was troublesome but worthwhile. Some of the marks just didn’t register, though when it did made more of an impression on the eye than on white paper.

The last painting of the night. 1 hour. The three elements, male, Mr Skelington and female relate across the surface. To get into the right position meant a rather uncomfortable time on the floor. The colours work, it would have been fun to see what I could have done with three hours. The yellow block is the light above them.


The second image made that night, the first is underneath; painted over. The models in the Mary Ward Centre class are top notch. 20 minutes.


The two figures, seated. 20 minutes. The cloth was black in real life.


A real cool time.

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Life drawing 6. Time & plans

3 hours of concentration.
With a slice of pecan pie and a coffee for 5 minutes in the middle.

The palette was made of 5 colours, turquoise-blue, sunflower-yellow, purplish-red, white and  little brown-ocre. The black is an thick oil pastel. The plan was simple. Paint with strength, get the perspective correct, then concentrate on the colour, then fine tune with a black line; if there’s any time left paint some more. This is what happened in 1 hour.m-reclining-on-green
Fellow artists seem to like the hair especially, so here it is in detail.
m-hair-deetailThe model had a proud profile. Given life in the last seconds by the red-brown conté pastel.head-of-m-2
The model ‘M’ painted 4 times. A grid was created on the floor. Figures in space. The very sketchy figure should have been fleshed out. Painted with the paper on the wall. The model was looking at the work being created. Performance art. 4×10 minutes.m-x4-drawn-from-the-wall
Head of ‘M’. Made with the paper on the floor.head-of-mI’ll have to try a new palette.

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Black, black BLACK Friday.

There’s a thing called black Friday.
You might have heard of it.
Here’s my response. 2 sizes.



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Life drawing 5. Clothes & paint

Robin is one of the best life models around. A character actor, he brings theatre to the room. This week he brought props galore. A Tricorn hat, mask, cape and natty waistcoat. Quite refreshing to concentrate on fabric rather than flesh. Everyone had a good session with many a good drawing.
These paintings are worth working on later…

Here are three poses. The last on the right has a smaller version hidden underneath; the first version didn’t fit the composition so a larger, more dynamic version was painted on the top in impasto. 3 x 20 mins.


Here’s Robin with a red jug, skull and other accessories. 1 hour.


Some details. The tones need to be a tad more smoothly modulated. That can be done later. I can imagine a lot of flat colour in the background, to contrast with the frenetic foreground.


Boots. I do like painting shoes. Van Gogh did some great boots, as did Juan Miro. The red on the sole wasn’t there in real life; it was placed there for 3D purposes. Red goes forwards.


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Life Drawing 4. Against Stasis & Procrastination

Here’s a bunch of quick poses made with pencils.
The styles vary wildly, veering into a graphic look I haven’t shown much since college. Maybe it wasn’t the dead end I thought it was, married to sharper draughtsmanship.

Starting with an idea or set of rules always helps.
The rules for this piece: Start in the middle, work outwards and across, moulding not outlines and two shades of red only. 
The hands are slightly wrong but as a piece it has a atmosphere, a sense of care.

Below is a radical ’15 marks’ drawing created in 5 minutes. Leaps of faith.


Next is a angular construction on sugar paper, made with the same rules.
Trying to make the colour do some of the work.angular-lady-in-15-marks-colours

The first work of the night. Around the halfway point a realisation that the balance of the pose didn’t work made me have a radical rethink. The red marks are the first five minutes.
There is always time to work  things out; the old work is not lost and helps with the improvement. The lurking, sulky enemies of art are stasis and procrastination – the nearest I get to a cat poster.angular-lady-on-standing-sugar-paper

This work is a bit like turning the guitar right up and having a good thrash; something from the ‘Blood & Chocolate’ LP by Elvis Costello?angular-lady-sitting-with-back-to-us

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Life drawing 4 technique & colour

A small square canvas. It’s frustrating painting at such a scale. Like threading a needle.There are some nice passages. The pink legs are due to the heater at the bottom middle of the work. The legs of a fellow artist are top centre, giving the whole work some much needed perspective. The model was very pleased with this work. Acrylic on canvas. 1 hour.

Left: The first drawing the night; running out of space on the paper for the head it was drawn on another part of the paper and connected in photoshop.Pencil.  20 mins. Right: An exercise in brevity. We were only allowed a few marks per minute. Acrylic. 15 mins.
.smiling-lady-first-drawing-adapted  smiling-lady-in-blue-brushstrokes

Left: Again only  few marks were allowed. People really seemed to like this one. 10 mins. Right: This is going into the realm of illustration, but still with some structure. 10 mins.
smiling-lady-standing-in-red   smiling-lady-strides-out-in-red-and-blue

A 10 minute drawing with the painting created in a 30 minute break.
The bright, light colours reflect the model who seemed to be smiling throughout the poses. The shift of weight is interesting.smiling-lady-seated-with-red-background

A 10 minute painting on sugar paper.  Made with a sponge loaded with acrylic and pencil.smiling-lady-standing-on-sugar-paper

Mr Skellington had another 10 minutes of posing before the model started.

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Blue PandA portrait in oils.

A double portrait in oils.
For a friend’s anniversary. The source material was a dark photograph taken from a concert. Made to go with a similar painting I’d created 10 years before as a wedding present. It was handed over to a very happy client yesterday.

The colours change a lot in differing light conditions. This is due to the glazes used.

In perspective.


And in close up.



Blue blue Electric blue.
No, it was Cobalt blue Hue, Cerulean Blue Hue and Phthalo blue.
Actually. With a little Lamp black, Titanium white, Liquin and retouching varnish.

The painting in stages:

panda-a  panda-b   panda-3  dscf5614

No tracing, No squaring up, No messing.

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