08 February 2016

Extended Drawing - module 7

To set the scene, Anne sent round some images before the class - three by Antony Gormley, one by Leonardo, and one of her own -

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the room was set up...
In between demonstrations, we gridded up the paper lightly with charcoal, then added figures in a sort of see-through drawing and "3D" drawing, using circular motions to show the back as well as the front of the form -

In between we used paper towel to spread/diminish/blend the marks. And then we started adding vessels, from a selection that grew as people added more to the still-life and to their drawings -
 My view -
My drawing -
 Looking around at the end of the class to see what others had done -
Homework: look at Seurat's drawings, such as these -
or those here, an exhibition at MoMA.

In the second class we started by blocking out a sheet of paper in charcoal, and then it got serious. First a demonstration of using white chalk to put in - as much as possible with our fingers, taking it from a "reservoir" made on the paper (top right corner) - using it to put in the highlights, and to "feel" our way round the form. Trying to leave using the actual piece of chalk for as long as possible, for the very highest highlights. (The model is by Antony Gormley, and it's in the science museum.)
 Black conte also helps make the shape more definite -
The glasses were from the still life on the floor. Same technique.

And then we tried the "highlight method" with fabric as well as solid objects, and this is where the prepared charcoal was used.
Taking out the charcoal, with paper and later a rubber, on one sheet ... and adding it onto the other sheet. Developing the two drawings in tandem; negative/positive. I found this was a very congenial way to work, back and forth between the two, looking for highlights and looking for shadows and watching how they form a surface -
Another artist to look at - Morandi -
On the handouts - Giacometti, Seurat, Gormley -
 A room full of positive/negative results, a new way of looking at things, lots to think about -

07 February 2016

Details from the Ashmolean Museum

A treasure-chest of delights!
Dogs and deer from Uccello's Hunt in the Forest

From Piero di Cosimo's The Forest Fire; they hybrid beasts were "added at a late stage"
Sculpted buttonhole stitching -
Marble; bust of a pope

Terra cotta; model for Handel's statue in Westminster Abbey by Roubilliac
Birds -
Fleeing (?) from a scene of animal carnage on a tapestry

Decorous and contented, painted on china
 Fantastical scenes -
Unicorns in traction

The mouth of Hell (painted by Lelio Orsi, 1540s)
 Blue and white -
Musician on a chinese plate

"Ladies" on a wall-panel of tiles
Grand tapestries -
Embroidered, Spain, 1600

Woven, 17th century
A medieval alabaster, Adoration of the Magi -
(Another detail is here)

All seen too quickly;but consider another way of looking at things, which the Ashmolean offers as an Afternoon Tea Talk on 9 April:

Slow Art Day

"Discover the pleasures of taking your time to appreciate a work of art. Look at five works of art for 10 minutes each and discuss what you have seen over afternoon tea. ... Slow Art Day is an international event encouraging people to discover the joy of taking time to look at art."

06 February 2016

Where's that "void" then?

Putting a charcoal-encrusted paper on my drawing board, I noticed that my shadow made a darker area; that fits well with my "secret story", or subtext, for the "on the edge" topic. This time the idea for the research drawing is to leave a dark "void" in the middle, and make the edges lighter.

The technique we recently used in Extended Drawing class, of using the wiped-away charcoal to make a companion drawing, seemed useful here. The "blank" paper was a bit of tracing paper with some rubbings on it, but never mind, those marks will add to the interest (or disappear) -
Those shadowy-person shapes are irresistible... and here's some energetic use of charcoal, just to get in the mood -
After a while the tracing paper was full of graphite and the charcoal was full of conte. And the marks were much the same everywhere...
 Adding some little squiggles in oil pastel, then wiping over with charcoal -
After a bit of effort the marks became more various - using the rubber, brush pen, felt pen on top of the graphite -


 using rubber in the borders of the charcoal paper -
Here's a right pair - not a "void" to be seen! -
What is it, a sugar loaf? a cone of yarn? -
No, it's turned into a giant thimble in the jungle! -
"Void" #2
At first I had, instead of dimples that sunk in, balls that stuck out - it's all in the amount of highlight. But now they definitely look like dimples, so I feel successful on that front, even though the shading on the larger form doesn't work. That's one of the dangers of working from what you think you know, rather than being able to check what you're seeing.

And ... it's hardly a "void", nor is the idea for the edges developing. Next time...

I'm pleased about coming up with some new-to-me marks with some of my not-much-used materials.

"Hurley, the irrepressible"

"...Hurley, the irrepressible ... perched like a dicky bird on the top sail
yard arm is taking a colour photo of ship and ice..."
If polar exploration is your thing - and even if it's not - the current exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society in South Kensington is a must-see.

It consists of the photos taken by Shackleton's expedition photographer, Frank Hurley, who had tough decisions to make when the expedition's ship, the Endurance, broke up in ice as they were forced to over-winter. Most of his plates (this was 1915) had to be left behind.

What happened next is well known: the men set up camp, hoping to hold out till the ice broke up; eventually some set off across 750 miles of sea in a small boat to get help, and did manage to rescue the others.

The story is told, and imaged, so vividly in the exhibition, at the heart of which are more than 90 of Hurley's images, newly digitised from the originals, which have been stored at the RGS for more than 80 years. It also includes "precious survivors", personal artefacts that returned with the men.

"As one of the first truly modern documentary photographers and film-makers, Australian born Hurley hoped to have his images seen at as large scale size as possible. 100 years later, this intention will be honoured with giant dimension prints, some over 2 metres in width and height, at the heart of the exhibition."

If you can't get to the RGS, the online exhibition is accessible here.


Serendipity at Museum of London

A lunchtime lecture drew me to the Museum of London midweek - "The Formation of our Galaxy", one of Gresham College's free lectures (very well attended) - and afterward I wandered round looking for something to draw. Mike Hawthorne's 1987 drawing, based on his sketches in 1981, of the Brixton Riots
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is impressive in its detail -
and my attempt to emulate his cross-hatching was instructive -
On hearing an announcement of a 45-minute tour of the highlights of the medieval gallery I went right along, and sketched while Jenny brilliantly explained living conditions, the evolution of armour, what people ate, diseases, and the transition from medieval to renaissance. An excellent tour, one of several that happen every day.
A typical house about 1100; it would have had quite a bit of space (mud!) around it

A chance to look more closely at Old St Pauls, which took more than 200 years to build

Cooking and eating around 1400-1500 - note the bone handled knife in the centre

More drawing, however hasty, and fewer notes