With this drawing I was trying to spend longer on developing the detail but I am not sure that I have achieved a lot more than the shorter studies. I feel that it is overworked in some areas and underworked in others. Proportions are not accurate enough and the emphasis of the pose has been lost because of this.
I tried to work on this again. I have been reading about other drawing techniques and was attempting not to do too much too early but to build up the lines and tones more carefully.
I think this is more accurate than the previous pose although far from perfect. There is more a sense of the weight of the figure actually sitting down and bending forward.
I need to practice going slower – doing more looking and plotting before putting anything on paper.
Research Point – Foreshortening
Quick sketch with mirror at end of sofa.
A lesser know version of the much damaged Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deijman (1656) – this is the remaining part of a much larger painting. “not literal representations of their public acts, but are allegorical proclamations of the surgeons as the renown masters of the secrets of the body (Kemp & Wallace p25)
Above is the first 5 minute study. I was using pencil and trying to get the sense of slump in the figure. There is weight in the folds of the torso and the back.
Using charcoal and conte stick endeavouring this time to use tone to build the shapes of the model. Although this is not accurate in terms of proportion some of the marks and contrasts are more interesting than in the first 5 minute sketch.
The 3rd 5 minute pencil sketch of a crouching figure. I like the dynamism of the lines although it is more outline than solid form.
Standing figure drawn with pencil lines for 5 minutes. Although it is also just lines like the previous sketch it feels more solid and with weight.
With the last 5 minute sketch endeavouring to make the outlines more interesting and visceral.
There are 3 10 minute sketches for a longer sketch later in the session. Worked with pencil, then conte and finally charcoal.
I found it a very awkward pose as one leg is not visible and the width and length of the back difficult to define. I didn’t measure any of these but continued to lay them down quickly.
This final drawing of the pose was for 35 minutes. I should have done more measuring and checked the angles and relationships of the limbs etc. However I enjoyed and had more success in building up tonal layers creating more weight to parts of the drawing. Used all the drawing materials on this single drawing.
Quick 10 minute tonal study – this perhaps works better because it has context i.e. something for the model to sit on and the background.
Final 6 minute study where I tried not to draw outline and create less marks and be more thoughtful about what to include.
- It is difficult not to just draw outline
- I found it a challenge whether to measure proportion or just go for immediate response especially with the quick sketches
- Less is more in a lot of cases but need to build discipline in order to hold myself back
- I enjoy the darker media especially the conte sticks rather than pencil – makes it easier to create weight and tone to the drawings.
- Need to remember to include some context in the drawing – background, seating etc which helps to begin to develop a sense of place to the sketches.
In the Beginning…
Early roots via the Greeks with their idealised body forms but where the male figure is nearly always heroic and often the female denoting victim hood (Sanders 1989). However the Greeks thought nakedness mainly attached to nobility whereas by the time Christinaity took hold this was attributed to shame or sin – via the biblical story of Adam and Eve.
Quoted by Sanders (1989) Aristotle claimed:-
“Man is active, full of movement, creative in politics, business and culture. The male shapes and moulds society and the world. Woman, on the other hand is passive. She stays at home as is her nature. She is matter waiting to be formed and moulded by the active male principle.”
In the modern sense “men act and women appear” (Berger 1972)
Throughout the classical period and up until the 19th century the female nude; “may avert her gaze or hide her eyes, or turn away from the viewer…..Sometimes the head may be covered, or perhaps unfinished , even cut off from the edge of the picture – all these devices render their subject anonymous, denying individuality and status, and reducing the body to a stereotype”. (Sanders p24)
A few photographs collected from recent Daily Mail (May 2017) online images attest to the fact that little has changed.
An idealised posterior? Or a subject of debate?
Boticelli (1445 – 1510)
Raphael (1483 – 1520)
Courbet – The Origin of the World (1866)
Understanding the Body
Rembrant – Madrid
Part of the lost Anatomy Lesson
Bologna Istituto di Anatomia Umana Normale
Edward Muybridge (1830 – 1904)
The Fetishised Female
(the nude a new perspective – Sanders)
Bill Brandt (1904 – 1983)
Regain Our Bodies
The feminist view
Back to academia?
Paul Nash – Tate Britain
Before I went to see the exhibition at the Tate Modern I was reading Paul Nash – Landscape and the Life of Objects (Andrew Causey). He worked very much in the same genre as Samuel Palmer and William Blake – also a painter/poet.
1 Dreaming Trees
Working from he 3 trees series and many depictions from the two images below of Wittenham Clumps (1913) he began to conjour up the feeling of place which he returned to after his WWII experiences.
2 We are Making a New World (1918)
Dramatic sunrise/sunset with red clouds overlooking dramatically ruptured earth and trees – uncompromising not heroic. This he repeated in many of his wartime paintings moving into an almost abstract/realist phase.
“Nash’s war experience transformed his work: he painted in oil for the first time and discovered a new artistic language of powerfully simplified forms which both conveyed the appearance of ravaged landscapes and suggested violent emotional experiences”. (exhibition handout)
“In the 1920s Nash became emotionally attached to significant places which inspired sequences of works. He responded both to the specific qualities of these landscapes and the feelings and memories that they prompted”. (exhibition handout)
“Nash’s paintings rapidly moved in 1928-9 from popular landscape to emblematic representation…suggests an elite visual langue that can work…by means of surrogates. ..Nash appreciated in full for the first time how defunct standards of representation in art had become”. (Causey p63)
4 Room & Book
Reflections, intersecting planes, multiple perspectives
“Yet I still need particularly organic features to make my fixed conceptual image” (1937)
5 Unit One
For Nash Unit One was important in publicly stating his commitment to international modernism…alongside other leading British avant-garde artists
I found this section the least interesting apart from the Stone Tree and Druid Landscape paintings 1934 where he refers to ancient stones he has visited at Avebury and other sites.
6 The Life of the Inanimate Object
” Nash explored the idea of a life force in inanimate objects and created encounters between them, arranging flints, bones driftwood and small geometric objects into his still life compositions”.
Worked with Eileen Agar – one of my favourite unsung heros of collage, avant-garde imagery. With her he created assemblages using photographs, sketches, paintings and other objects.
7 Unseen Landscapes
Post 1936 he works on intensly surrealist landscapes where reality & dream co-exist. (Even on the Downs)
International Surrealist Exhibition
Circles of the Monoliths
Land of Dreams
8 Aerial Creatures
“The mystical association of two objects which inhabit different elements and have no apparent relation to each other”.
More painterly depictions beautifully rendered – some of my favourites.
I was moved by many of Nash’s paintings in ways that I didn’t expect to be. However I was mostly drawn to the closing of the circle the meeting as it were of his very early pre-war drawings of trees and particular places and the later equinox cycle.
This was generally a difficult exercise for me. Chose 3 round objects:- a melon, a tennis ball and a small round pewter (silver reflective) vase. Worked with ink and a stick on Khadi paper.
I had previously tried a number of experiments in sketchbook on using line both in white ink and black ink on different papers.
Composition – I don’t think this is very successful but had tried different placements and was trying for something more “contemporary” . However I do like the variety of marks particularly on the melon and tennis ball which can be achieved. After a while I got into more experimentation with mark/line than being effective about being able to build up the tones and drawing the composition together.
I am interested in the pewter vase but it does not “read” as what it was/is.
Moved on to depicting 3 stones gathered from the beach. Each are interesting in themselves and drawing the objects together makes the composition more effective but still not that interesting. Tried so many placements where I could see the contrasts in the types of rock: 1 chalk, 1 flint, 1 smooth with variety of tones.
Again drew with ink and stick on Khadi paper – all laid on a piece of paper which had folds on it. Actually think that the folded paper added quite a lot to the piece and helps with definition. Altogether it is a more successful piece of drawing and the media suits the subjects to an extent but not entirely.
Learning: Could spend more time on this type of drawing but perhaps using different materials combined.
Final piece using the same 3 stones + 1 more and used a drawing pen with washable ink. This was on plain white paper. Composition less successful – is there something about odd numbers and composition : 1,3,5 etc.
I suppose this is a bit of a cheat by using water to create tone. Some of these stones are really interesting and could achieve a better outcome. Not sure that the use of line for this project works for the subjects I have chosen.