I have been attending life drawing classes every two weeks for a couple of years, it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience but with very varied results.
Our tutor has been teaching us to use a variety of media, including pencil, conte, charcoal, chalk, pen and ink, felt tip pen and water and also an orange/brown wash.
Improvements in my technique have been sporadic, some days I feel as though I can draw well, other days I despair.
You are not going to see the worst ones, mostly they are embarrassingly bad. Here is a selection of the ones I feel happiest about. Its odd how one week I can make a successful two minute sketch with my ‘wrong’ hand and the next week every thing I draw is quite awful.
Gradually I have come to realise that my drawings are always better when I concentrate on the head and shoulders of the models.
A whole series of my work has been inspired by a drawing of my father’s from 30 years ago. His original was based on visually extracting shapes from a classic Tumbling Blocks schema used in drawing, painting, patchwork and many other formats.
This is his drawing on paper in ink and two thicknesses of line.
I have made a number of drawn versions of my own.
After many other versions in drawing, painting and cutting I have now embarked on a low relief version in painted plywood. The pieces were cut out usung a tiny reciprocating jig-saw that my mother owned from the mid ’80s.
Here are some of the stages I have passed through. Hopefully tomorrow it will be finished.
I have long admired many practitioners of woodcut, woodblock and Lino cut printing, I’ve thought for a long time that if I tried it, I could get really obsessed with it.
In the last few months I have attended three print-making workshops. The first was at the Tate Modern, taught by the Illustrator Lizzy Stewart www.abouttoday.co.uk. I enjoyed it immensely.
Lizzy suggested we each bring a piece of text or a poem which might inspire us to make illustrations of that text, mostly using simple mono-print techniques, using just black ink and metal or glass plates.
I took Robin Roberstson’s poem “At Roane Head” to work from and made this. It was to be one of four illustrations in a long thin book but I did not have time to finish it. I must do so one day.
I loved cutting the wood plate, really tried hard to create an intricate and accurate double image, to be printed in two colours.
It took longer than the time available but I did make some interesting images and have made several more prints at home since then. Jonathan is an excellent teacher.
This is actually a test piece, trying out the tool for the first time to see what marks I could make. It was then printed in blue in one direction and then pink in the other producing an interesting range of imagery.
I have lots more prints in various stages of refinement and in various colours, to be continued . . . .