Friday, June 19, 2009

Drawing musicians again

A couple of recent sketches of musicians... I like to draw people when I'm out. I'm not sure they are as keen. Musicians seem pretty tolerant though. I think the local musicians are becoming used to it. Musicians and artists both talk about "the zone". That headspace where you're right into what you're doing, and it flows. When creating feels like that, you wonder why it should ever be hard. But it is sometimes. Then we learn to let go and not control everything. We keep going, get over it and get into the zone and then it flows...


Still having camera/Vista issues. Shall try and obtain a better photo taking the painting out into the daylight.

This painting is based on drawings done of the model turning and walking around. Its a wonderful exercise to try and detach yourself, use sense and intuition to absorb information from the moving figure and capture it on paper. Working from these drawings I tried the same exercise with paint on canvas, trying to focus more on a sense of form and weight rather than detail. Sense and intuition is a strange thing. It is no easier to apply it in artmaking then it is in any other area of one's life. One just has to trust.

80 x 100cm acrylic on canvas

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Drawing in the dark

For these two drawings, the room was in darkness with light on the model. Yellow drawing was done first. When the lights went on I was surprised to see I'd picked up a piece of yellow pastel instead of white.

We focused on drawing the lit areas of the models body. It's not an easy thing to do. What you think you see, and what you actually see are two different things and you have to overcome what your brain is telling you.

That's why I love to draw or paint with music playing, finding it easier to slip into that 'zone', some would say its allowing the right brain to take over from the logical left brain.

Like to learn more about that? Look at Betty Edward's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. And here's a link.

Life drawing

has been continuing again over the last couple of months... a couple of quick drawings... 18 x 24" compressed charcoal on heavy grade buff paper. I usually quickly cover the paper with some coloured pastel first which means even less time for the drawing - these are a couple of minutes long each.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Taking a drawing into paint

I've applied modelling paste to canvases, it takes ages to get it right, and to dry. Mine and Body (at the bottom of this page) is one of those where I've spent hours and hours on the surface texture of the canvas before painting onto it.

Another method is to use tissue paper and acrylic mediums to apply it to the surface. A little quicker and quite satisfying if I want a more regular appearance to the surface.

Canvas is still my favourite surface on which to paint, using brushes. I love the 'give' of canvas, and I'm quite hard on brushes.

I've been going to a life drawing group for about eighteen months now. John Mulvay organised it, through community education, and when the funding hasn't been there we've managed to keep it going on a private basis. He'll provide tutoring for those who want it, and I very much appreciate having live models available every week. This is a real achievement for John to have kept this group going and it seems to have settled in with a core of regulars, and new people coming and going.

Piled up in my studio, are hundreds of life drawings. I've sold a few. Others I'll offer to the models. One day I'll have to dispose of some, that will be painful. I'm now trying to be more experimental when I go to life drawing. Sometimes I'll draw directly onto the canvas and paint it later. There is a an energy in a drawing done from life that is lost when copying it later. The more prep I put into the surfaces that I take along, the more satisfying is the result.

This photo is a painting of one of the warmup drawings, where the model walks around, or holds a pose for only 30 seconds. My first attempt at this, and I'll continue working on this idea to see where it takes me.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pear & Offering

"Pear", 18 x 20", acrylic on canvas.

"Offering" 18 x 20" acrylic on canvas

The top pose is one I've been using for about 3 years now and YES I have exaggerated the model's figure deliberately.

Changing Woman & Jealous Sisters

Named from a myth.. staying with the theme of woman and body as earth and life ... changing woman is from Navajo mythology, introduced in the creation story. The lifegiving and sustaining qualities of the earth being derived from Changing Woman. Seemed to fit with the image that grew from my original life drawing.

Acrylic on canvas (mixed media). 12 x 24"

Another painting created from two life drawings, placing them together on the canvas suggested the title.
Acrylic on canvas 12 x 15"


Waiting 1 10" x 30" acrylic on canvas

The colours are a little richer than here (using a grumpy PC on XP to edit the photos, then taking to an uncooperative laptop with Visa to upload to site).

Waiting 2 10 x 30" acrylic on canvas.

I have struggled with getting back to painting for a few months, which wasn't a totally bad thing. I finished a book over the the first three months of the year. But I needed to be painting and somehow needed a kick up the proverbial.

Inspiration is an elusive thing. It's easily lost or squashed. A couple of friends provided the kick and someone else close to me seemed to provide the inspiration and I started painting again a couple of months ago. I've hundreds of life drawings and had been thinking of taking some into paint, but felt I had to come up with clever metaphorical ideas, or symbols or backgrounds to create a worthwhile painting. The consequence of that was that I did nothing. Finally I realised I was holding myself back, putting a restriction where there didn't need to be one. And just picked up the paintbrush.

Really there is no replacement for just putting the time in, the hours. And just like with the book, that is what I did. Fulltime, no outside teaching, just every day and half the night in the studio.


Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 28" on canvas.

From a life drawing, mainly in Payne's Grey so slightly bluer than this image.

On of the paintings I created in the last two months. Recently I exhibited a lot of work, these and other works of a figurative nature. It was interesting to see what sold. The current economic situation means there is not a lot of disposable income out there so I wasn't expecting to sell anything. The mixed media drawings were the pieces that sold. I LOVE creating those. Painting is difficult. Its painful. Like giving birth I say. I never know when something is finished. And am never satisfied of course. But the mixed media drawings, they are a joy to create. I love the whole process of creating the bases on which to draw, and they're fun to draw onto, direct from life.