Thursday, November 20, 2008

Two Oil Sketches

Remember not this sins of my youth nor my acts of rebellion
Oil on Panel

I've done two quick oil sketches this morning, and I'm so excited I had to post them straight away. I loved the echoes of Degas, Schiele and Toulouse - Lautrec's women in this model, (and maybe a hint of Marie Antoinette...? ) and so dressed her up accordingly (just ankle warmers, and stockings for some pictures) I wanted to capture something reminiscent of older paintings, with a distinct stamp of the now declaring it to be contemporary. The model has piercings in her cheeks and belly, as well as the very cool tattoo you can see on her back. The quote is a slightly tweaked passage from Psalm 25 in the Bible.

Untitled study
Oil on Panel

So I'm really feeling the looseness I've been striving for in my painting today. It's exciting, it's like the penny has dropped, finally, and I feel freer. I think it's a combination of the observation skills I learnt with the painting a day project, and regular life drawing with Phyllis Shafer.

What's slightly irksome though, is that these weren't done from life (I took photographs). I tried to paint when the model was here, and I painted this horrible, muddy, stodgy piece of crap which is now of the studio floor, destined for the bin.

I think there are a few reasons/excuses for this: a) I was using a scrap of unstretched canvas, which despite the extra primer, was still really absorbant, and b) I was feeling a bit overwhelmed to be painting a figure from life, despite the fact that I've been drawing from life for weeks now. It's weird, sometimes I worry so much about the model being comfortable/warm, etc., and that I want to produce something quickly that does them justice, that I just lose it. I think I'm over this stuff with drawing now, so hopefully with practice I'll be able to relax enough with a brush in my hand to achieve the same loose painting from life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thought for the day...

It's never too late to be what you might have been.
George Elliot

Charcoal Drawings 8

This is white charcoal on black paper - a really interesting exercise we did in class recently. You have to kind of put your brain in reverse - pulling out the highlights instead of the shadows. What I'm enjoying about these studies is that it's really challenging me to rethink what I 'know' about drawing, and I'm learning so much through the process of experimentation, doubt, failure and success (not necessarily in that order).

Something I was thinking about today was how hard, even in an academic environment, it is to not to contrive a narrative of some kind into my drawings. I do have something of an active imagination, it must be said - I have very vivid dreams and nightmares, and my brain rarely stops for breath, so to speak. Maybe that's a female thing, maybe an artist thing, or both. I've talked before about my habit of anthropomorphosising inanimate objects I paint in still lives - same thing.

Anyway, I thought this model had a kind of medieval quality about him, with the beard and earrings, which lent him a kind of dignified authority - like a king or a warrior from ye olden days. I liked that idea, it gave the drawing an energy I think. We were drawing a female model who fell asleep today, and the character was completely different. I think it's important to tap into what's going on around you to channel into your art - as long as it's stuff you can handle. Sometimes I think that kind of sensitivity can make you vulnerable if you're not aware how much you're taking in.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Painting Study

I so enjoyed painting this! It's a study for a large oil on canvas - part of a new collection I'm dreaming/obsessing about right now. I want to integrate elements of design and drawing with painting. I'm also into the idea of big hair and kooky hats for these...such fun! My classmate Kristin Boles posed for this, such a pretty girl - and willing to let me mess up her hair in a cross between Amy Winehouse and a 60's Prom Queen..much back-combing and hairspray to create this huge style - Thankyou Kristin!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Charcoal Figures 7

As yet untitled
Charcoal heightened with white conte

As yet untitled (Detail)

Available for purchase, please contact me for a price

Just in case you guys thought I'd forgotten about my commitment to do thirty drawings before I picked up a brush again - I haven't, I've just been too busy and preoccupied to post them!