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.
Getting a true likeness is the most difficult aspect of portraiture for me, though I can now make a portrait look human.
I like the top half of this portrait but I’m still struggling with the nose and mouth.
My portrait of Sally Moore sadly did not make it through to the final 55 from a submission of around 2400 paintings for the BP Portrait Award 2014. Try again next year!
I am carrying on with other projects.
Is it creepy to take photos of people without them realising that you are doing so? Looking back at photographs I’ve taken in the past few months, I see that I do indeed seem to be rather fascinated by people, going about their business or gazing into the middle distance. I have sometimes gone on to make paintings of some of them and am hoping to do more.
My recent painting “The Street of Bitterness” is a case in point and here is another image that I would like to recreate in oil paint. I was travelling past this man’s house and took a shot whilst stopped in traffic (I was not the driver). I was struck by his sombre expression and his stillness, staring out form an upper window, watching for someone of something unknown.
I will most probably just paint the figure and the window but I want to keep the sense of looking upwards at is face.
The young men in uniform (personalised of course) making a racket on their way home from school, look so irresistibly vibrant. The photo was taken in one of the poorest districts of Havana, Cuba where every child has free education and uniforms.
Watching and rocking at his post the shade, the guard sometimes appears to be asleep but who could blame him, its been a long day.