Part 5 Kinetic Drawing

The concept

In my original research into artist’s depicting movement I discovered a category of drawings in which the drawing was the movement rather than the image (such as Heather Hansen Emptied Gestures ). These kinetic drawings can be viewed either as the process of the drawing including the motions of the artist or as the finished product where the artist is absent by the meaning of movement is portrayed through the repetitive lines. I decided to have a go at a kinetic drawing myself, however I was not able to set up a huge area of paper draw in the way Heather Hansen does and thus was not going to be able to capture movement of my own body in this way. Having been very drawn to the work of Julie Brixey-Williams who uses amongst other techniques, performance to inspire her drawings I decided that this such approach would be more achievable in my small space.

Given my lack of access to live performances I decided to use you-tube videos of contemporary ballet dancers as inspiration for my kinetic drawings. Whilst watching the dance I would set up a pen on paper and let my hand respond to the performance in front of me without looking at the paper and see what happened. I imagined that my resulting pen line would in some way resemble the movements I had seen and hopefully display some of the dancers energy.

The results

Initially I tried the technique out watching a dance video called Painted (dancer unnamed). I chose to use A3 graph paper because I like the juxta-position of the perceived freedom of movement against the controlled, choreographed nature of the dance. I felt the squares of the graph paper represent the control and choreography of the sequence in a defined space whilst at the same time, my drawn line was free to ‘wander’ across this space in response to the visual stimuli. Here is the resulting drawing using a Graphik line painter on graph paper.

'Painted'
‘Painted’

Not the most inspiring of pieces, and taken out of any context you would be hard pressed to find any movement or meaning within it. However part of the problem is the nature of the line itself. Whilst it appears to leap and twirl about the paper there is very little variation in the line itself, except for a few areas where I have made fast, sudden marks and the line thins a little as it only skims the surface. In order to try to add some interest to this technique I repeated the exercise several times, using wet graph paper and the graphik line painters. Click on the drawing title to take you to the video clip that I used. I was selective in my timings for these drawings, drawing only for 1-2 mins (so not to completely obliterate the results). I did not necessarily start drawing at the beginning of each clip. The line painter responded to the wet page and produced as I had hoped a greater of variety of line through the flow of the pigment. This is not something I was controlling rather a random element that depended on how wet the area of paper was and how long the pen remained there (ie dependent on the speed of my pen stroke).

Roberto Bolle dancing in 'The dance of God'
Roberto Bolle dancing in ‘The dance of God’

This drawing of ‘The dance of God’ was quite controlled. I wasn’t looking at the page but I have managed to stay in quite a small area. I think I was drawing from the wrist only rather than my arm, resulting in smaller, less free movements with the result of a ‘tight’ drawing. This doesn’t allow the freedom of dance movements to come across. I made a conscious effort to use my whole arm for the next attempts.

milena-sidorova-the-spider-dance
Milena Sidorova dancing ‘The Spider Dance’

The Spider Dance video is worth watching for the amazing feat of a dancer moving in the most incredibly realistic spider-like locomotion I would have thought possible! My drawing has captured some of this movement and I am quite pleased that when I look at it I am instantly rewarded with a memory of the dance and the amazing feat of athleticism. I am not sure however that a viewer that has not seen this dance would feel the same. I do feel that this drawing however does have some structure to it (in an arachbid sort of way?), possibly because it has a certain amount of symmetry in the lines.

Massimo Murru and Lucia Lacara dancing 'Bolero'
Massimo Murru and Lucia Lacarra dancing ‘Bolero’

The paper was particularly wet for the Bolero dance and the black pigment ran much easier that in the other drawings. the result is much more movement throughout the page, but still not necessarily a drawing that displays much out of the context in which it was done. I really like the fact that there is a part of the middle of the drawing where I accidentally missed wetting the paper giving a lighter, more lucid area of line amongst a billowing cloud of lines. This dance was performed by two dancers and I have responded to their interactions throughout the sequence that I watched. I really like the result of Bolero, it has atmosphere, is centered on the page and conveys the energy I experienced with viewing the ballet.

For Bolero I was responding to the movements of two dancers with just one pen line.  I was curious to see what would happen if I used two pens, one in each hand for each dancer, and drew simultaneously.

Roberto Bolle and Shirely Esseboom dancing to Mozart
Roberto Bolle and Shirely Esseboom dancing to Mozart

Here the male lead is drawn in blue and the female in green. It was incredibly hard to get my left and right hands to work independently but I did manage a little. Whilst there is cross-over on to each side of the paper for each dancer, they predominately stayed in their ‘respective halves’. Whilst it is interesting to separate out the dancers with different colours, I think that this drawing has lost the sense of movement that the single line Bolero drawing had and whilst it does show interaction between the dancers it doesn’t depict energy or movement. The green and blue pigments haven’t responded to the water in quite the same way that the black pigment did. Bearing this in mind I had one last try going back to the Bolero dance (because I love it as a piece of music) but with a red pen for the female dancer and a black pen for the male dancer.

Massimo Murru and Lucia Lacarra dancing 'Bolero' 2
Massimo Murru and Lucia Lacarra dancing ‘Bolero’ II

This last effort, Bolero II,  turned out to be one of my favourite drawings because for me what comes across is the intensity of the relationship between the two dancers, portraying two doomed lovers. There is tense, movement in the drawing, not as much perhaps as the original Bolero above, but definitely holds energy and vitality. The response of the pigments to the water adds atmosphere to the drawing (compare to the green and blue of the ‘Mozart’ drawing above). Bolero II isn’t centred on the page is such a pleasing way as the first Bolero and it lacks that enticing middle section,  however I think that the tension provided by the second pigment colour more than makes up for this. It is a drawing that you can look at time and time again and feel different emotions as a viewer. The leaps evident by the male lead (black pigment) add a lot of energy to the drawing ( for instance compare to Mozart above). There is a certain ‘Jackson Pollock’ quality to the final image!

Summary

These are kinetic drawings where the line has been produced by my arm/hand/pen following and responding to the visual stimuli of strong energetic movements of dancers. Taken out of context I am not sure any viewer would appreciate these drawings in any way, they could be construed as a mess with no coherence to them. However some do convey an immense sense of energy and movement, for instance the two Bolero drawings. Whilst I don’t suppose for a moment that these drawings will be seen as improvements on my drawing skills, this has been an interesting exercise for me. It has allowed me to express emotions through random pen lines without being constrained to a resulting image. These drawings are a pure response to human movement and mark a huge leap forward in experimentation for me.  In a way these drawings have been as liberating as the exercises at the very beginning of this module, the exercises where we had to make marks recording our emotions. This freedom of expression has often been lost in my work, where I have often been criticised quite correctly of trying to hard to make art. I can see the value of such exercises to try to retain this freedom of expression. I certainly feel free and energised in producing this type of work. Perhaps this is a lesson learnt a little too late for me in this module but it is a lovely lesson to be able to take forward.

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Part 5 Kinetic Drawing

Part 5. Drawing with light

My work so far has lacked the idea of capture of a fleeting moment (or at least it is the quick studies only that seem to have this essence about them). In everyday life we are constantly capturing fleeting moments with cameras. This has made me think that perhaps there is some way to capture fleeting movements by using drawing and photograph together. I have enjoyed experimenting with various ‘reveal’ media throughout this course, where you draw with wax or white oil pastel on white paper, then wash ink over to reveal your image underneath. These two ideas can be combined by revealing a drawing on a photographic paper, through the capture of light. Inspired by Julia Brixey-Willimas No(t)here series of drawing of dancers on photographic images I took some glow-sticks out into the garden after dark and perched my digital camera (Panasonic Lumix TZ8) on a table with the shutter on maximum exposure time (8 seconds).  My garden is higher than the patio so by setting the camera on self-timer I was able to run up to the grass and start drawing in the air with the glow stick for the duration of the exposure. This is a different type of reveal drawing as you don’t get to see the image until you playback your camera images. I concentrated on drawing people jumping, trying to capture some movement. All in all I did about 20 of these light drawings and the results were very variable, however I was pleasantly surprised by some of them! Here are a few of the better ones.

Light 1
Light 1
Light 2
Light 2
Light 3
Light 3
Light 4
Light 4
Light 5
Light 5
Light 6
Light 6
Light 7
Light 7
Light 8
Light 8

 

The darker photographs of numbers 1 and 2 are how my set up was supposed to be, but my children kept turning on the lights in the house behind me, illuminating the edge of the garden. I think in fact this low-level illumination adds something to the images, it makes the ghostly green figures appear to be leaping up from the ground rather than just floating over it. The light from the neighbouring house appears a bit of a distraction but when I crop it out, I think the image loses something. It is as if the light ‘grounds’ the image and gives it context.  Unfortunately when I tried to print these images, the contrast between the green and the background were not very strong. In order to use these images I therefore had to do some post exposure production. Using photoshop I enhanced the green of the light. In order to make this stand out enough for a printed version I also had to darken the background to a fairly uniform black colour. Whilst this resulted in the loss of the immediate foreground I did however leave the bright light on the right hand side to keep the figure in some sort of context. Once the figures were enhanced, I loved the energy that each pose had!

I decided that these would look good as a series for my final assessment, presented together in a block. I spent some considerable time trying different orders of the images. In the end I have chosen 6 light drawings (Light 1 – 6 above) presented in 2 rows of 3 (Light 7 and 8 were not included as they are more reminiscent of flying insects than people). They are not sequential poses (after all they were all individually drawn with no reference to one another) however presented in a series allows the viewer to engage with the idea of continual motion. The position of the bright light remains constant and the figure dances around the black space.

My final presentation of these images as a series for assessment is as follows:

Part 5. Drawing with light

Part 5 More Sketchbook drawings

Experiments with A reveal-technique

Here I am trying a new technique of mark making. I have traced over a photograph with a blunt point of a small screw-driver whilst resting on the page. I have then used coloured charcoal to block in areas revealing the tracing underneath. The left image has been left, the right has then been smudged to soften the effect. Some of the lighter areas have been lifted out with a putty eraser too

I like the delicacy of this technique. I have done some reveal drawings previously using white oil pastel and then a wet media over the top. Using a metal point allows much finer lines to be drawn. I realise these are not true drawings as I actually traced the image but it was the technique I was interested in rather than the image itself. I would like to come back to this technique with true drawing a little later.

Studies of a jumping Dancer  

These are studies that make up a fairly large body of preliminary material in my sketchbook along with the ones presented below. I don’t intent to discuss each study – they mostly are of no merit other than being part of the exploratory process. However it is worth noting that the more gestural the marks (such as the legs in study 3 above) the more convincing the pose and the sense of movement. I am getting the idea that for movement the concept of ‘less is more’ may apply.

More studies of various poses

Again not much worth saying about most of these studies although studies 1, 8 and 9 are Interesting. Study 1 is rather successful I feel- again less is more, there is very little detail and yet it shows an energetic movement. I like the fact that the person is no more than gestural lines, but the power of the movement is present. The background for study 8 adds interest to the drawing although not much movement. Here I have covered the paper with charcoal marks then smudged them all over then finally removing loose pigment with a rag. This led me to consider adding a background of a more sturdy material, gesso, the results of which are presented below.  Study 9 is also worth mentioning simply because it took me roughly 45 seconds to do, using my memory of the photographic pose rather than looking at the photograph. Once completing I did wet and smudge the charcoal in places to see what happened – nothing much exciting it turns out and I moved quickly on to something else. However on returning to the study a few days later and putting it with the others I was struck by how spontaneous the pose looked (as in fact is was).  So I have added spontaneity to my idea of less is more. Certainly any work that I have ever done for my tutor that has been complimented has been done quickly. It would seem if I think about the task too much I become tight and too regimented and caught up in detail

Making Background Marks

I used a broad wallpaper paste brush to apply clear gesso to some paper, applying strokes in random directions. I then drew over the top when dry using coloured charcoal, smudging areas to bring out the brush marks in the gesso.

Using the clear gesso to provide texture and possibly lines of movement was an interesting exercise on two accounts. Firstly I could not see the gesso as it went on so the resulting marks were revealed as the charcoal was applied over it. The resulting effect does not really create a sense of movement but does add texture to the drawings. Secondly this texture was great at producing form of the body if it was in the right place! Whilst none of these are any great shakes, I think that drawing 3 of this set is the most successful. The dancers right leg is a good example where the textural quality of the gesso is providing form to the muscles. I am quite aware that drawing 4 has become quite ‘arty’ something that I am keen to avoid! As I am typing this retrospectively I must warn you that unfortunately I go through a bit of an arty phase before I get to the end of this!! I have to say though that I prefer some of the smaller studies above ( the 3 I thought worthy of mentioning at least) to these big studies. In a way they have become too pictorial and too detailed. They are not capturing a fleeting moment, rather a held pose.

Finally I decided to see what the effect of pastel over gesso was. Using broad side strokes I created a quick sketch from memory of a person’s torso using quite stylised curves. By adding a contrasting background colour I was able to create an interesting visual effect, that of swirling (doesn’t come across in photo very well). With hindsight I realised that the gesso underneath was a bit unnecessary as I could just use a course toothed paper, however I did like the effect and wondered if I added it to my dancers if that would create a sense of movement.

Pastel over gesso
Pastel over gesso

 

 

Part 5 More Sketchbook drawings

Part 5 Sketchbook images

Static Poses

These are some poses of standing / reclining figures where I am just experimenting with different materials. I was drawing these after my summer holidays and was really using these drawings to get back into the process of making an image. The first figure (ink and bamboo reed) is made up, the other two are from a photograph (Johnson, M and Johnson, D (2006) Art Models, Life Nudes for Drawing, Painting and Sculpting. Live Model Nooks LLC, New Hampshire, USA)

playing-with-ink
Figure in ink with bamboo reed
reclining-1
Reclining figure in watercolour pencil on wet paper
Reclining figure ink and brush
Reclining figure ink and brush with added water

Figures in Motion

Staying with the dancer theme for the time being, I did a few quick sketches of dancers from photos gathered on the internet site https://uk.pinterest.com/source/actsoflight.tumblr.com/

I was trying to draw in a gestural way n these three images by using quick pencil strokes. The poses themselves suggest movement but I wanted the free-flowing nature of the water brushed over areas of the watercolour pencil to blur some of the lines to create an illusion of movement. I think the most successful of the three is the first,  Dancer 1. There is a real sense of the dancer stretching backwards, which I think the view is drawn to by the gestural line outside the dancer’s body. I am least pleased with Dancer 3. Whilst the pose suggests a leap, I didn’t include any ground in my sketchbook and so there is no sense of the body being powered upwards by muscles. There is also little suggestion of forward momentum of the body through space. I think I had lost sight of what I was trying to achieve here and was concentrating too hard of getting the pose right.

Watercolour pencil and water
Dancer 1. Watercolour pencil and water
Dancer. Watercolour pencil and water
Dancer 2. Watercolour pencil and water
Dancer. Watercolour pencil and water
Dancer 3. Watercolour pencil and water

Some more sketches

I did a series of quick sketches inspired by the quite lovely work of Sally McKay who draws quick sketches of live dancers and then uses these to create monoprints. This quick sketch technique is harder to do that you imagine. Here are my efforts inspired by watching You-tube videos of a performance of Bolero and Carlos Acosta dancing a masterclass.

The second page was more successful probably because I had practiced a little by then! The figures are a little more dynamic and capture the poses better. The first page was over gesso, this was unnecessary and made the water too fluid (it sat around too long) meaning the ink ran more that was useful to depict the forms.

Part 5 Sketchbook images

Assignment 4 Part 3 A portrait or self-portrait combining line and tone

A portrait combining line and tone

The first thing that I did for this part of the assessment, before I did any preliminary sketches or studies, was to draw a head to go with my headless model from the previous exercise. I concentrated on getting this head the right size to match the existing drawing with some notion that I could perhaps join the too together! However I was more careful to get the features in the right position (i am becoming a little unsettled by doing portraits and I find myself getting a little anxious doing them now which tends to tighten my style up). This has led to a more tonal, less dynamic study, one in which I didn’t use the putty-rubber to draw with, rather just to erase with, so the two drawings don’t match in style Any here it is to try to aswage my guilt of not drawing a head before!

Portrait of Owen. Charcoal. A1
Portrait of Owen. Charcoal. A1

I have managed to capture a likeness although i have managed to make him look younger than he is now. This could have been him 20 years ago. The lighting was quite interesting to draw as it was an overhead light coming not quite from directly above. It became very important to put in some subtle tones around the edge of the face to make the form recede down away from the visage. I framed the whole image to give it some structure, but purposefully left the large areas of blank paper around the portrait. I think that it turns the pose into quite a reflective one. One where you may wonder what it is that the model is pondering with his eyes closed but raised up to the skies.

Having done this portrait I turned to the assessment task proper. I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to proceed with this part so I did some quick studies using different media and different methods. I was keen to do something a bit different for the previous studies. First I tried a quick portrait of my eldest son using an ink wash with conte crayon lines added to darken areas and delineate some features.

Portrait. Ink wash
Portrait. Ink wash and conte crayon

Whilst this was a very quick study it wasn’t overly successful. It hasn’t captured the likeness of my son (or rather I see my much younger son in it!). I am aware that my portraits are all from front on views at greater or lesser angles to the paper. This is mostly due to lighting and space constraints when I am working. I have managed to set this up so I had a light coming in from the side, rather than the ubiquitous overhead light. However I am going to have to be a little more inventive to find more interesting poses.

I still don’t feel I am managing to get facial features down on the paper with any accuracy or with any particular reference to the true age of the model. feeling a need to rectify this, I tried to position my husbands features down on paper with a drawing pen whilst he was reading a newspaper (ie still and not looking at me) and block some tones in with hatching and also graphite and water.

Portrait study drawing pen and ink
Portrait study drawing pen and graphite and water.

Apart from messing up the tones with the graphite and water thus making him look like a panda I am more confident that his features are in the right place here and I have managed to portray him in an appropriate age group! Seeing the results of this 5 minute study reminded me of a Marlene Dumas portrait that I had come across during a research exercise ‘Supermodel’ http://www.moma.org/collection/works/101748?locale=en. I thought it would be interesting to see if  could make a similar image of my husbands face. The Dumas image is quite stylised as it has little in the way of the skull beyond the area of the visage. My husband has a very interesting shape to this facial plane so I though it would make an interesting study in the style of Dumas. I drew the features in place with pencil first, then used a mop brush to apply an ink wash (indigo) to the whole area. I then used a damp tissue to remove areas of the ink. I then dropped in indian ink to make the dark areas, again lifting them out to reduce tones where necessary. I went in a bit too dark in the eyebrow region, but got better at it as I worked down the face. Finally I added the neck with one sweep of a broader mop brush.

Portrait in the style of Dumas
Portrait in the style of Dumas

I got Owen to look at me for this exercise but he was at a slight angle hence the asymmetrical jaw line. This asymmetry isn’t really reflected in his eyes or mouth (but is to a degree in the nostrils) giving the head a distorted look. Dumas’ marks are much more fluid than mine. In addition she has put the head at a jaunty angle compared to the neck which adds a certain tension to the image. A straight head and neck is boring in comparison!

In this whole part of the course I haven’t paid much attention to colours, having concentrated mainly on monochrome studies. Working from a photograph of my eldest son I decided to dig out some old oil sticks and try drawing with these on canvas. These are quite chunky sticks and fine marks are not possible, however you can draw with them in a similar way to soft or oil pastels. The only problem being that they don’t dry very quickly!

This study took about 40 mins and was made by just layering and re-layering to adjust colour and form. As the paint got thicker, the surface retained the mark of the stroke. I have tried to use this to describe form, drawing with the oil paint.

Portrait in Oil Sticks
Portrait in Oil Sticks

This is a better likeness than the quick ink wash above. I am pleased how the lines of the paint add to the form of the cheeks in particular. I haven’t quite got all my shading right, the left side of the face is a little too bright I think, making the dark hair seem very flat. I quite like the cropped view this drawing has. Does this count as a drawing or a painting? I am back to that old question again of where is the line drawn between the two (or painted). I used paint (suggesting a painting) but I held the paint in a stick/crayon form and drew lines (suggesting a drawing) onto a canvas (again suggesting painting). I have used colour for tonal variations and you can see the lines of the paint that help produce form, but I am not sure that this counts as combining line and tone in the sense of a drawing. I am coming down of the side that this is a painting after all. One thing that did come out of doing this was that I realised that I needed to sort out a palette if I was going to use colour. I changed my colour scheme at least twice in this portrait, firstly from more blue greens to adding some yellow and purple tonal areas and then some more red tones. The result is quite a busy mess of colour although I have tried to put all the colours in across the drawing/painting to try to tie it together. Not having used colour in a while this was quite an important lesson.

I feel that I have got very bogged down with this assessment and have lost sight of what it is I am actually supposed to be doing. With a deadline looming in just 3 days time, I took my ideas gained from the quick studies above and tried to formulate some kind of a plan. I decided that I wanted to try to use line to produce tone, but to include some colour. I started to think about the ways in which line can be used to create the tone. As I was doing this I was thinking the self-portrait by Mikhail Vrubel who has created a wonderfully dynamic image using different tones of lines to combine tone with line and pictured on my line-tone continuum.

Self portrait by Mikhail Vrubel 1885
Self portrait by Mikhail Vrubel 1885

I decided to try to find a palette of conte crayons that would allow me to use lines of similar thicknesses to create different tonal areas. I chose a series of pinks to work with.

Studies for portrait combining line and tone
Studies for portrait combining line and tone

I am very aware that I needed to find an interesting angle for my portrait. Having got my by now long-suffering husband to again agree, we had the problem of lighting and space to work in. I decided that the best was to do this was to use the bright light coming in from the outside to light up the side of his face. If I could get low enough I could draw a slightly imposing view of him looking down. I couldn’t get low enough and still use an easel so I ended up taking some photographs and used those to produce my drawing.

Portraite. Conte crayon
Portrait. Conte crayon

I have tried to match the lines to the form of the face and use the darker tones for darker areas. I haven’t totally avoided sweeping, curly lines, but I have tried to stick to straight lines throughout. Compositionally I am pleased with the drawing. I have managed to get a view that is quite imposing. By positioning the face to the left and leaving the space to the right there is a sense of the model looking down at the viewer with a slight air of superiority. There is an intimacy about the drawing, the viewer and the model definitely know each other. This is heightened by the fact that I have, as an afterthought, let the model’s hair, which was originally cropped by the framing, extend out over the frame bring the whole body forward into a different plane. I like this effect. As I was quite low down when I took the photograph for this image, the lines of the walls and ceilings are at interesting angles. I have preserved this and have depicted each wall and the ceiling in lines that run in different directions. I hope this has the effect of making the image quite dynamic. Your eyes are caught by the deep black eyes of the model, following he ceiling lines down to the right, pick up the wall lines down to the left then follow the highlights along he side of the face back up to the eyes again.

Assignment 4 Part 3 A portrait or self-portrait combining line and tone

Project 5 Exercise 2 Groups of Figures

The Aim.

Draw groups of figures, trying to capture the interactions, movement and atmosphere of the situation.

The Exercise

At a school rounders tournament. Sketchbook with drawing pen

At home I worked up the children standing in line waiting their turn to bat using a photograph and the study above as reference material. I used soft pastel and tried to capture the colour and the interactions between the players (aged 7 – 8 yrs old). I put in the drawing the three children on the left of  the image above, plus two others that I captured in the photograph.

Waiting thier turn. Soft Pastel on tinted paper A3
Waiting their turn. Soft Pastel on tinted paper A3

What I have tried to portray here is the idea of small children all dressed in rather oversized generic school team colours. These children were 7 and 8 yr olds and in most cases their stick-like limbs protruded out from very baggy school issue shirts and shorts/skirts . I also have tried to capture the atmosphere of the line of children. They were all very enthusiastic at actually playing and waited in quite an ordered line, but within that order there was a certain amount of personal distraction: lots of fidgeting, twirling of bats, and chatter. What was most apparent was that they were more interested in interacting with each other than watching how their team mates ahead of them were performing. In fact the boy on the far left of the drawing is in fact the next into bat, but you wouldn’t know it as he was watching the two girls in the middle very intently and actually missed his cue to go up and bat. Whilst this is not such a competent pastel drawing (it was too fiddly and I couldn’t manipulate the pastel with any accuracy) I do think I have captured some of this intense interaction with each other.

Project 5 Exercise 2 Groups of Figures

Part 4 Project 4 Structure Exercise 1

The Structure of the Human Body

These sketches are taken from life and from published photographs. Source credit given next to image. I did not do them in the order presented, rather allocated a page to each section of the body in my sketch book and collected studies when I had the time. it is not a complete collection and I hope to add to this post as I do more but I have found that I need to move on with the coursework for the time being.

Some unusual drawings

I have had some informative fun drawing with a marker pen on the end of a stick over the past couple of months, both with my left (non dominant) and right (dominant) hand. I was inspired to draw these anatomically based drawings whilst getting out of the bath one day!! Looking down I had a great view of my feet and wondered if I could do some quick sketches using this pen on a stick method. Here are my results! The first was done as I was stepping out of the bath, using a long stick held in my left hand. One of my feet is on the edge of the bath, the other still in the bath. My paper was on the floor in front of the bath. I just maintained the pose and drew quickly the view that I could see. The mass of lines at the top of the page is my hair falling down in front of me.

Bath 1 using pen on long stick with non-dominant hand
Bath 1 using pen on long stick with non-dominant hand

Once out of the bath I switched to using my right hand. The first view is done standing as straight as I could, stick allowing. The second, I shortened the stick to about knee height, crouched over and drew again.

Finally I sat crossed legged in front of a wall, propped the paper up against the wall and drew the view down at my crossed legs. This was less successful as an exercise mainly because the paper wasn’t on the same plane as my legs, and the angle that this caused me to hold my arm at meant that my whole arm and shoulder worked rather stiffly.

Bath 4. Pen on short stick.
Bath 4. Pen on short stick.
Part 4 Project 4 Structure Exercise 1

Project 3 Exercise 3 Stance

The Aim

Look for the line of balance or the centre of gravity in a standing figure.

Draw as many quick poses as you can, changing pose every 2 to 5 mins.

The Exercise

I started collecting quick drawings for this exercise a while back. Below are copies of my sketchbook pages covering drawings that fit into this exercise. They include drawings from photos of people, drawings from photos of statues as well as drawings from life. Credit for sources given where appropriate.

Using Source material

from Neret, G. (1994). Auguste Rodin: Sculptures and Drawings. Taschen, Koln.

From Smith, M.E. (1998) The Nude Figure: A visual reference for the artist. Watson-Guptill Publications: New York.

Red line depicts the approximate line of centre of gravity for each pose

Using a real person

owen stance

Project 3 Exercise 3 Stance

Exploring Klecksography

Having read about Klecksography all those months ago, I just had to have a go myself. I remember doing ink blots as a child and showing my own children how to do them, but hadn’t really ever turned them into other drawings.

First I tried the standard art of dropping some ink of different colours onto an A2 sheet of paper, then folding in half and smoothing down. When using paint I remember that the viscous nature of paint produced wonderfully veins on the surface where the paint parted. This doesn’t happen with ink, however the colours do blend beautifully. Here are two that I subsequently drew on with pigment pen liners.

Sheep Skull
Sheep Skull
Classic butterfly
Classic butterfly

Other interesting patterns that I will make into other insects at some point include the following.

 

I then tried making ink blots by placing another piece of paper over the one with the ink on, rather than folding the paper in half. This gets rid of the crease but you do lose the symmetry (although you do gain a mirror image on the second sheet). I went a bit over the top with these, and tended to use a lot of black ink. One I developed into an image of my dog for a previously published post for part 2, project 5.

Alys in mixed media
Alys in mixed media

Others (a select of the many is shown below),  I have yet to turn into drawings. I am not sure what I see in them so am keeping for future inspiration.

The last experiment that I did was to lay some wet sheets of paper underneath a vase of Oriental Lilies that I happen to have on the table. The Lilies were just at the point of dying and the petals had started to fall along with the anthers covered in bright yellow pollen. Knowing how the pollen stains everything a sunset yellow I thought I would capture it where it fell and use the resulting accidental marks. However,  the results were really boring The pollen did stain the paper, but not a vivid colour the way it stains cloths or the table!!! The result is rather a mess, but you never know when it may come in handy!! Interestingly the camera has picked up a faint pink tinge that isnt’ really visible when viewed directly!pollen stain

 

 

Exploring Klecksography