I've had this unfinished mini-abstract on the easel for months now. I took advantage of being in a positive mood this afternoon and completed it. These mini-abstracts are entirely personal and will cease once I buy some larger format panels to paint on. However, I am learning a lot. The first lesson is, obviously, to get the effect I desire, I need panels four times the size.
Another one. This is more assured and again, the expressionistic markings require a bigger format but I learned a lot using colours I have never used together. I'm not sure I liked them but something is out of my system.
Another mini abstract hot off the easel. This one was easier than the last one probably because it was so small, but harder because the 'concept' required a larger format. More to come, hopefully. Lessons learned.
I am re-posting this work as I deleted the original post by mistake I can't remember too much of what I wrote except to say these sketches are inspired by larger finished works, either representational or abstract. A small detail of a finished work is isolated and then that section is painted much larger as if it is an original work. Well, it is original in one sense, but it is possible to see what section of the original work was chosen and worked on when finished. We learned this method at University as a method to get us into abstract painting. (It's not the optimum method, by the way, but it is revealing as to what goes into a painting).
I rarely post photographs of my work in progress as I think it might be uninteresting to readers but today I got down to some free-wheeling with gouache and what started out as totally messy and unpromising, ended up with some hope, if only a little. Lots to do, yes, but I'll keep posting this work in stages to show the process. I just hope I know when to stop. Hopefully by mid-week I'll have more life drawing to show.
Last night's second attempt at life drawing was inhibiting as we had a male model whose form was very difficult to depict and standing there in the squashed drawing room, I thought "what a strange way to spend an evening!". Yes, it was strange. My irritation subsided after acknowledging that I wasn't in the mood for stiff challenges, but I carried on and did some acceptable work. The 'head only' was the best but I had some additional problems because I thought the gouache tint I had painted on beforehand would be slightly more sturdy and permanent but all eraser marks wiped off a little of the colour which makes the finished work slightly untidy. Two more classes and then a Summer break. I am so out of practice.
Head in Profile
Graphite sanguine on gouache tinted paper - 30 x 21 cm
Head in Profile - Close up
Graphite and sanguine on gouache tinted paper - 30 x 21 cm
It's been years since my last life drawing class and it shows! However, it was great to get the charcoal scratching along the paper and to let go. This was a 15 minute pose and I didn't have much time to correct anything but the model thought it good enough to photograph for her portfolio. More next week, I hope.
This work was taken from a television screenshot believe it or not. The programme featured the Garden of Nympha in Italy and I just couldn't resist the challenge. I painted a similar subject before in May 2010 (is it five years already?) called "Secret Garden" and found it a lot easier than anticipated. This one has far more details but to pull off the real drama, the format would have to be huge and done in acrylics or oils. I just couldn't get the details dark enough with the first layers of colours coming through.
I decided to get some portrait drawing done this afternoon and not having done any sketching or drawing for ages, I expected to do badly. This one didn't turn out all that bad, but again, the lack of professional lighting and a small camera doesn't show the drawing up very well. I wanted to shade the background in pencil but it looked like a long haul, so I decided to compromise with a few quick brushes of black gouache and it certainly added a bit of dynamism, even though it slightly overshadows the drawing. It certainly was a whole lot more freeing than the fix-up job of my last post where I changed the colours of a painting after four years!!
Graphite and Gouache on Cartridge Paper
10.5" x 8.5"
I'm not usually prone to fixing any of the paintings that appear on this blog - they are not worth it. They are, and have been, preambles and sketches of a sort to my bigger works. However, this painting made four years ago has been very popular with viewers but there was something wrong with in that the space didn't show the correct recession into the dark area at the rear of the format and as a result, it lost some if its potential magic. The colours on the right hand side were too light and bright for the space they were representing, so today, I decided to go over this to see if the painting would actually improve. It did! It's always tricky to paint over water-based paints but this one wasn't so difficult and not much of the original paint bled through. The 'corrected' painting is the first one shown below and one can see how much more authentic the architectural space appears with the shadows correctly valued. The original version is below it if anyone feels like comparing them. Unfortunately, I now have a different camera so the overall colours are slightly changed as well, but the overall effect is what I want. These cameras drive me nuts.