drawing one – part 4 – the figure and the face – project 3 form -exercise 2 essential elements

This exercise is concerned with the three dimensional form. I drew a sequence of 6 different 10 minute poses looking at tones dark and light.  I returned to a local life drawing drop in class ( a week later that I really wanted to , but the class was closed for half term) This week we drew from a male model which was clallenging as most classes I have attended seem to use female models – but it was interesting as the muscular structure of the male body is a little different. I drew some of the quick poses in my sketch book on a fairly small scale using coloured pencils and a large graphite stick. I then drew 3  large 10 minutes drawings

using ink and a brush on large A1 paper – which I felt worked better than using a small sketchbook. We did a standing pose, a seated pose and a pose with the model crouching. I used the ink in washes to suggest form and tone. I found the exercise a challenge as it was difficult to block in the lights and darks in a really short time – but I think some of the drawings seem to work.

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Drawing one part 4 – the figure and the face project 3 – form

– exercise one basic shapes

This exercise is about describing the form of the figure to create the illusion of three dimensions on a two dimensional plane.

for this exercise the instruction is to draw a seated model – posed on a Chair at a slight angle.  Before drawing consider the angle of the central axis running though the body noticing any twists or bends.  Also block in the the basic shapes noticing which planes of the body are receding and the planes that are parallel to the edge of the picture. Also identify a measured unit to help measure the scale.  I began by  drawing quick sketches of my model from different angles and positions measuring and noting twisted shapes and the gravitational pull of the body -I  identified some  foreshortening on her right thigh. I also indicated tone and shapes around the form  of the body. I feel my drawing is okay as s start at looking at form but I feel I still need to look at it more and maybe use a life model.

Drawing one part 4 – the figure and the face- proportion exercise 2 a longer study

This exercise is about Drawing a model but this time  a longer pose. Again I used A1 paper , charcoal and putty rubber. I began by putting down small marks on the paper then  measuring as I continued to build up the form for the figure. I. Did two drawings one I spend an hour on the other drawing around 40 minutes. I feel that I have made some process towards  capturing  the form and structure as well as the characteristics of the pose ( which was a seated pose) . I also feel,that my life drawings do have sufficient presence particularly working fairly large although the first drawing I  did tended  to fill the left hand side of my page more so in the 40 minutes drawing I attempted to place the figure more evenly across the paper. I think I have successed  in measuring the proportions . I think I managed fairly well  with tackling the challeng of  the foreshortened left leg.The  tutor that led the class commented that  my drawings were bold and confident which I was pleased about as it has been several years since I have done any life drawing.

Drawing one – part 4 the figure and face project 2 proportion exercise one quick studies

Exercise one is about looking at the proportion of the body

For this exercise I drew directly from a female live model at a local class.

I began with some quick preliminary studies of the form in my sketch book using pencil. I did not erase any mistakes but continued to re- draw on the page. I then did three quick drawings on A1 White paper using charcoal and a putty rubber for my medium

I have not done any life drawing for a couple of years but despite this i enjoyed the exercise and found it very useful.

Drawing one part 4 – the figure and the face – research point Analysing and reflectinghow the dipictition of the male and female nude has changed over the centuries

The nude figure has featured as a major and very important theme in art for centuries. This is what i discovered when researching and analysing the depiction of the male and female nude and how it has changed over the centuries:

Kenneth Clark in his classical study ‘the nude , a study in ideal form’ states that in the greatest age of painting, the nude inspired the greatest works.’

During the period of antiquity ( 900BC – 300 AD) in Greece and Rome the nude figure is celebrated in many art fields particularly  in sculpture . The naked male form seems to be used primarily to represent human male beauty and to hi light physical strength , and virility the male nude is athletic and very idolised . The gods were shown in all their glory and their beauty and were worshipped and revered as perfection , Greek athletics  celebrated mascular strength and beauty . The male Gods were almost always depicted naked.The Greeks did not celebrate female beauty they were not interested in the female form and regarded the male form as the ideal notion of beauty .

There then followed a period in art history when the nude all but disappeared mainly suppressed by the church. But the advent of the renaissance art movement that emerged in Italty produced a revival celebrating the nude form, particularly from the years 1400-1600. Botticelli ( c.1445-1510) produced the celebrated painting ‘the birth of Venus’ . The figure of Venus stands naked in a large clam like shell. Botticelli’s  Venus is pale with slight shoulders and seemingly impossibly long limbs and an enlonglated neck. Her breasts seem too high and long  flowing  hair covers her genitals. The expression on her face is haughty and indifferent. But I somehow feel that despite Venus being the inbediment of female beauty her face seems to be very masculine including the shape and set of her jaw? Does Botticelli’s Venus represent the ideal female beauty?   So I was not surprised to learn that artists of the Renaissance period  did not draw from the female nude but that they used boys as their models. Titian (c.1488-1576) during the late Renaissance period painted ‘The Venus of Urbino’ . Titan’s Venus is depicted naked and reclining like Botticelli’s Venus her hand is covering her genitals. But unlike Botticelli’s Venus the Titian Venus seems to have a more feminine appearance and body type. Raphael ( 1483-1520) is usually credited as being the first artist to use a nude female model.The male nude was also celebrated in sculpture such as Michelangelo’s  ( 1475-1564) famous  David. In his Sistine chapel frescoes there are several male nudes. Bosch ( 1450-1515) produced almost grotesque naked figures in his nightmarish fantasy pictures.

In the baroque artistic movement classical antiquity was still the major influence when working from the nude figure. The profilic Flemish painter Rubens ( 1577-1640) used the naked human form in many of his works. Rubens women  seem to be a complete departure from the usual nude figure they are pale, fleshly  , curvy and voluptuous. They are depicted as sensual , sexual , fecund and fertile completely different from the androgynous nudes seen in Renaissance art. I recently visited the Dulwich picture gallery in London and looked at some of Rubens work including a small monochrome study of “the three Graces” however Rubens male nudes are closer in style to classical ideals of masculinity – with an athlete physique and perfect looks and sometimes demonstrating power and strength by being depicted with weapons such as swords.

Later baroque art leading to the rococo period had a more decorative approach to depicting the female nude. The female nude is placed in elaborate and picturesque  settings reclining on rich  bright fabrics. these nudes seem very sensual and alluring. Spanish artist  Goya ( b.  1746-1828) Painted ‘ The Maja’ around 1797-1800 the model grazes out of the painting in a completely unashamed manner. Velazquez ( c.1599-1660) painted c. 1647-1651 the ‘Rokeby Venus’ ( his only surviving female nude). The Venus figure is reclining looking away from the viewer her son Cupid is holding a mirror up and her face is glimpsed in the mirror. I really like the curves and shape of her back. Interestingly nudes were very rare in seventeenth century Spain due to the activities of the Spanish Inquisition however the Royal court had a private collection of nudes by foreign artists. While researching nudes in art I found out very little about the male nude during the baroque period, it seems as though the genre had moved away from the classical notion of celebrating the male form and physique.

During the nineteenth century the female naked form was depicted in a more suggestive and sexual way often celebrating the sensuality of the female form. Manet ( 1832-1883 ) painted his celebrated work ‘le dejeuner sur l’herbe in 1862-1863. Manet was a painter of modern life so in the painting his nude is placed in a 1860s setting. The naked  woman is seen picnicking with two very formally dressed young men. The young men seem to be engaged in a lively discussion oblivious to the woman. The woman is painted looked directly out of the canvas in a knowing manner – she almost seems to invite the viewer to look at her nakedness in an completely unabashed way daring the viewer to be shocked . She seems comfortable in her body. Nineteenth century artist were often commissioned to produce pictures of the female nude for wealthy collectors. The French artist Gustave Courbet (1819-1877 ) painted ‘la origin du mont( the origin of the world) ‘ in 1866 for a Turkish Egyptian diplomat. The painting was seen as daring to the Victorians as Courbet’s painting is of a close -up of a naked woman ( her head and face is not in the picture). The woman is lying in a natural position  with her legs spread exposing her stomach , her genitals and her dark pubic hair. The picture does to me seen daring  and  what struck me in particular was that the model has visible pubic hair   as most art of this time does not include visible  pubic hair and often  the genitals are partly covered over.

The  impressionists produced a wealth of celebrated works depicting the naked female form. Renoir ( 1841-1919 produced several works of a naked woman. Renoir used impressionist brush strokes in a dappled manner with colour -, the effect seems to give a sense of light and texture to the female form. His models have a roundness and softness ,  however the figures seemed to have a youthful innocence than is sensual rather than overtly sexual. Degas ( 1834-1917) was concerned with placing his models into intimate setting such as bathing, dressing and drying their hair. Clearly influenced by early photography Degas’s models are glimpsed from behind so we the viewer are almost peering in on an private scene in an almost voyeuristic manner. Many of these works drawings are in colourful pastels – Degas skilfully uses  the medium to build up the soft shapes and structure of the form with superb mark making. Again I was struck by how little male nudes were  produced in the nineteenth century it seems as though the Greek and classical ideals of masculine beauty has finally been eclipsed by feminine beauty.

Many late nineteenth century and early twentieth artistic movement studied  and explored  the naked form but to me the movement that seems to stand out is the expressionism who used their art to convey emotions.They were very much  concerned with themes of life, sex and death.The expressionists also seemed to be one of the first group of artists to include both male and female nude figures.  Austrian Egon Schiele ( 1890-1918)  who died aged just 28 produced a prolific  body of work on paper using mainly water based medium of nudes. Schiele’s nudes are highly charged with a raw visceral sexuality. His male and female figures have twisted almost contorted limbs and their facial features seem almost to imply that they are are caught in an orgasmic state. The models are thin  and emaciated with the awkwardness of an adolescence. Schiele also produced haunting nude self portraits . In his  self portraits we see painfully  thin sinewy limbs but what I  find most interesting is the way he drew  his face with  an expression that is hard to discern – his eyes seem large and shrunken in his almost Skeletal and wasted face – these drawings are both powerful and moving. During his life time Schiele was accused of producing pornography. The Norwegian artist and printmaker Edvard Munch ( 1863-1944) produced many female and male nude figures heavy with symbolism. Like Schiele there also appears to be evident sexual undertones in his work. In ‘puberty ‘ Munch depicted  a young girl naked sitting stiffly on the edge of a bed. She is staring straight ahead with wide eyes. Her posture seems tense. Art critics have often  seen the painting as a symbol of sexual awakening or even having a more sinister meaning as there is a dark and very omnious shadow glimpsed to the left of the girl. Munch also painted some lively and energetic works of  groups of naked men seen  at leisure and also groups of  bathing men. Many of these works depict very mascular and virile young men – almost reminiscent of Greek ideology of the perfect male form. Later in life Munch produced a naked self portrait in typical Bright expressionist colours but this time he paints a elderly imperfect body a real move from his idealistic  bathing men. In many ways I believe that the expressionists opened  up the way for the modern artist – now artists could produce nude works depicting male and female models. Artists in the twentieth century were able to explore the human form in many more  new and experimental ways. The study of the naked form became an essential dispcline for art students. Instead of drawing from castes artists were able to draw from life models.

Contemporary artists continue to explore the human body – as there is a wide range to look at I have decided to focus on two artists:

Jenny Saville ( born 1970) is concerned with modern bodies. In 1994  Saville did a series of work in response to plastic surgery. Some of this work depicts  women with the surgeons black pen markings on their bodies – almost like a strange form of body art or tattoo. Saville also produced work depicting transsexuals and Hermaphrodites as she is fascinated in the way that many people hold fast to a notion that their natural self isn’t the real them – and that her work continues to be preoccupied by what she terms a sense of  ‘in- betweenness ‘ ( source the Guardian newspaper http://www.guardian.com – 9th June 2012) . I found Saville’s ideas very interesting as in a sense she appears to be concerned not only the physical form of the body but with her model’s innermost psyche and how body image has became very much a 21st century issue. Saville  is  inspired with exploring different body types and has explored obesity.

George Shaw ( b.1966)  a Turner prize nominee usually produces figurative landscapes of modern urban Life . For the past two years Shaw has been the artist in residence at the National gallery. His latest show ‘my back to nature’ has just opened  at the National gallery ( showing  until 30 October 2016)  the exhibition is Shaw’s response to the old master collection. The exhibition starts with a series of large charcoal drawings of the artist naked. ‘In the sadness of the middle-aged model (12) 2015’ Shaw has drawn himself with his feet together and both arms out stretched , his head falls to one side as though he is Christ on the cross ( source review in the Observer newspaper Sunday 15th May) – I intent to go along and see the exhibition.

To conclude when researching and analysing the depiction of the male and female nude in art. I found out a wide range of interesting facts. Including the way historically    Ideals of the nude form was sometimes dictated on by ideology.  In early  art the male form was celebrated and almost revered. I found out that  artists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period used male models to depict the female nude. I discovered information about working processes  that  artists  learnt to draw from caste models rather than live  models. I learn how the church decided  what was acceptable to paint. I found out How artists were  expected to modestly cover up female genitals and that both nude men and woman did not have their  pubic hair depicted.. I learnt that work seen  to be of a sexual nature was deemed to be indecent or pornographic. It was interesting to discover that during the nineteenth century the majority of nude art was of woman.

But mostly I discovered that despite the major development and changes in art today with advances in technology and artist mediums –  drawing from life is still important for artists and that basic working practices have not changed much during the last century.

SOURCES

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

naturistart.com

http://www.bbc.co.uk

http://www.visual.arts

http://www.theguardian.com

http://www.tate.org.uk

book

‘the nude’  a study of ideal art by Kenneth Clark  penguin books  0-14-017336-6

 

 

Drawing one part 4 -the figure and the face- project one drawing fabric – exercise 2 – emphasising form with cloth

for this exercise the instructions is to draw a seated figure wearing either a plain and pale coloured shawl , baggy jumper or a soft dressing g gown.

I used my daughter for a model. I posed my model in a chair wearing a large plain shawl wrapped around her upper body covering her arms and hands. She pulled her hair back so that I could focus on the shape and form of her head. I drew light in a 2B pencil then used a 6B graphite stick to build up the form and add  tone. I carefully noted the way the fabric molded to the form creating a heavy structure to the form so that the effect is of a whole form. My daughter is very petite so the shawl swamped her form. I found it very difficult to suggest the form of the body underneath the heavy and large shape of the shawl. It was interesting to look at a figure as a complete shape.

I think also drawing a seated figure was a challenge as well trying to capture the models posture as the shawl seemed to hide the shape of her upper body. I enjoyed the exercise and I am now looking forward to exploring the body further as I have booked some life drawing sessions.image

Drawing one part 4 the face and figure part 1 – fabric and form

Exercise 1 – drawing fabric using line and tone

for this exercise I roughly threw a plain sheet across a chair folding and gathering it to respond to the creases and folds of he fabric.

firstly I drew a line only drawing on pencil on A3 paper – I spend 15 minutes on my drawing.

I then drew another drawing of the same piece of fabric across the chair also on A3 paper this time looking at tone – again I spend 15  minutes on my drawing using charcoal and a putty rubber.

I then divided another sheet of A3 paper into 8 squares and drew a series of 5 minute drawings looking carefully at the shapes caused by the folds – I used a variety of drawing mediums including graphite pencil , pen , charcoal, and conte crayons. As mentioned on the instructions I followed the curves of the shapes by drawing blindly letting my pencil or charcoal glide across the paper. I found the exercise quite challenging particularly suggesting the volume of the fabric- but found an easier approach was not to think about drawing a piece of folded fabric but to concentrate on drawing shapes. I think that using tone rather than line seems to work better and that charcoal seemed the best medium to use. I found. The exercise interesting as it made me really look at what I was drawing and then making decisions on what to put on the paper.

Drawing as a process study visit at the British museum Friday 6th May – with tutor Michelle Charles

on Fiday the 6th May I attended a OCA study visit to the British museum –  to look at a selection of the museums extensive collection of original drawings.  This is my feedback

OBJECTIVES

  • to gain a perspective of the range of original work that is part of the extensive print and drawing collection of the British museum
  • to think about the process of drawing to aid and channel your own creative practice and to analyse the practice of drawing
  • to look closely at actual working drawings from 15th and 16th century old masters to contemporary artists working today
  • to have the opportunity to closely observe and make drawings directly from the works in the collection.
  • to have the opportunity to really think and reflect on the process of drawing and perhaps most importantly ” drawing by its nature encompasses though as process and and perhaps gain confidence and knowledge that so called mistakes or errors are a necessary part of art making in every form”

the study visit also offered the chance to reflect on the experience of the visit –  and  to think about your own potential and also  to network with other Open college of the arts students.

Before going into the study room our group of six met our tutor for the visit Michelle Charles outside for a brief introduction where we each shared where we came from, what  we were Studying  and why we had chosen to study with the OCA which was very interesting.

we were then met by Sarah Jaffray who is currently a project officer for the Bridget Riley art foundation. Sarah explained that the British museum’s extensive collection of original art includes European art works from the Renaissance until the present time.

During the session Sarah spoke about a collection  of drawings that had been selected specifically for our visit. We had an opportunity to look at the works and Sarah gave a talk on each of the drawings. These are the drawings that we looked at:

  1. Hogarth – a sketch for a print series “industry and idleness series'” the sketch was very accomplished and was the finished drawing for the print plate it included two point linear perspective. Even though the sketch was fairly final and complete we could see where he had made his decisions on the paper first in pencil/ graphite and then in ink. The drawing is a perfect example of the process from drawing to print.
  2. Frank Auerbach ( b.1931) drawing of Ruth Bomberg. Sarah explained that Auerbach drew Ruth on the same day Thursday at the same time 3pm every week for seventeen years!  And that the charcoal drawing has traces of all those moments that he had spend with Ruth when he drew her. His working process is to draw then wipe off his lines, and to  draw over the first image again and again in a continual process – so that the final art work  would have traces of all the drawings on the one picture. There are around 99 drawings of Ruth Bomberg by Auerbach ( I recall seeing one at the recent Auerbach Tate gallery show earlier this year). Ruth’s husband donated all the drawings to the British museum.  I really like Auerbach’s drawings I admire the strength and intensity of his mark making and the way he edits and changes his drawings and the way the overlapping can just be glimpsed on the paper.
  3. Dead partridge a delicate watercolour drawing from the early 1500’s by a pupil of Albert Durer. The drawing is very intricate and detailed but would  probably have been a study for a larger  piece of work, although it could pass as a complete work as it seemed so polished.
  4. Richard Hamilton ( 1922-2011) a pen and wash study from a series “going into a dark bed ” for a series of works as a response to James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses. The sketch shows the head of a woman with closed eyes leaning to the side with her hand plopped against her face. Also on the page is a simple study of a hand and wrist. I really liked the use of the lines to suggest the form and tones – the drawing had a delicate calm and tranquil quality to it. I particularly liked the way Hamilton had tackled the foreshortening of the arm against the sleeping woman’s face. I also liked the shape  of the hand with it’s simple but very effective curved lines.
  5. Ariane Laroux ( b.1957) ink drawing on white paper. The drawing is of a side profile of a man wearing spectacles- he appears to have his right hand supporting the the back of his neck – you can see his fingers around the side of the neck with a pencil. His left hand is in front of him and he is wearing an elaborate watch. But what is remarkable about this drawing is the Laroux’s working  process –  she edits as she works leaving expansive areas of the white paper for the viewer to fill in the gaps. Sarah explained that  Laroux interviews her sitters as she draws them, also that she describes her drawing process as “walking into the White’ I really liked the drawing it excited and fascinated me. I thought the marks used to build up the form of the figure looked very organic almost like the bare thin branches of a leafless winter tree. I also wondered whether the climbing branches could also refer to the veins and arteries branching throughout the human body?
  6. Honore Daumier – a line drawing sketch of s man in profile  holding a bottle leaning on a bar. sarah explained that Daumier was a satirist. I really liked the drawing particularly how he is economical with his lines like Ariane Laroux’s drawing Daumier has omitted areas of his drawing we know that the man is leaning on a bar by his posture although the drawing does not include it. I also really liked the comedic expression on the figures face – a really fun and clever drawing.
  7. another Daumier sketch this time a full length figure viewed face on of a man reading a letter. Unlike the other drawing Daumier this time  uses a ink wash to suggest tone. I really liked the drawing the way he includes the shadow in a block of tone to the right of the figure.
  8. Adolf Von Menzel drawing studies of two men one bearded in profile and the other head study showing more of the back of the sitter dated from the 1830’s. The drawing is very detailed and included tone . Sarah explained that it is a study for a painting.
  9. Goya – a sketch in tones using brown chalk. The sketch again is a study for a painting and includes figures and a horse. Sarah explained that Goya was mainly concerned with exploring light and shade in his work. I really liked the sketch the tones were striking and lively adding depth to the compostition.
  10. Willem de Kooning (1904-1997) a charcoal drawing called ‘ figure in a landscape’ de Kooning was chiefly an abstract expressionist artist and liked to manipulate movement in his work. Sarah explained the sketch is all about making choices and decisions on the paper trying to establish where to place the mark and leaving everything there. I thought the drawing was interesting and I liked the way that he had attempted to capture the movement of the figure in the landscape with fleeting marks.
  11. Bridget Riley ( b.1931)  drawing on graph paper where she is  trying out and experimenting with colour. Sarah explained that Riley had began by working in just black and white but in this sketch in pencil and water based paint she is working though colour theory. Riley when a student at Goldsmiths college had visited the study room at the British museum to learn from looking at the drawing collection. Riley’s  drawing process is to work though the drawing in detail  and that she prefers the drawing process above painting. Today she does her drawings and her studio assistants do the painting she mixes the colours for them. I really liked the drawing as I could see the entire process mapped out on the paper – the carefully measured and constructed almost mathematical geometric lines  and the careful colour mixing. Sarah recommended a paper written by Riley ‘ at the end of my paper’ that is easily downloadable for free.
  12. Raphael – a reddish brown chalk study for a larger work called ‘ Rontormo’ in the drawing Raphael had sketched a head and above the outline of a torso. I really liked the delicate handling of the chalk and the way he has captured the faraway dreamy facial  expression of the figure. The shading on the figures neck is really beautiful. Sarah showed us the back of the drawing which contained other Red  chalk figure studies explaining that during the Renaissance period artist materials were expensive and not always readily available which may explain using both sides of the paper.

After looking at the drawings we were given a sketchbook and the opportunity to draw.

I really liked the Richard Hamilton line and wash drawing so did a quick sketch of the figure and the hand.

I then did a forty minute drawing of the Ariane Laroux drawing as I found it a fascinating drawing and her drawing process very interesting. I drew with a 3B pencil using marks to try and capture some of the feeling of the original drawing I drew largely blind following the drawing with my eyes as I worked my pencil across the paper. I was really pleased with my drawing  and Sarah took  a photograph of it  for the artist as she felt she would be pleased that had l had chosen to sketch her drawing

i really enjoyed the visit and will return again to the study room. The visit made me evualate my own drawing journey and made me realise that I am definitely going to change from the painting  degree pathway to the drawing pathway as I realise that drawing as an artistic journey really exites me. When I got home I downloaded the Bridget Riley essay which is really interesting and useful. Many thanks to the OCA for such a fantastic study day – to Michelle for being such an inspiring  and encouraging tutor with plenty of advice including  – to believe it our selves. Also thanks to Sarah Jaffray who had so much expertise to share.

Drawing one – part 4 – the figure and the face

Reseach point – the human figure

The human figure seems to be the most common artistic theme throughout history. I feel this is because human beings have always been fascinated by facets of their self and in looking at pictures of people- particularly before the advent of photography , as artists recorded figures from their historical timelines. Portrait artists were employed in the royal courts throughout Europe to record Royal life. I live in Greenwich and grew up fascinated by the Royal portraits on display at the Queens house and have memories of copying the images of postcards for school history projects. I recently visited the Dulwich picture gallery and marvelled at the sublime beautify of the old master portraits. There were several large fashionable society portraits filled with dramatic imagery including a portrait of the actress Sarah Bernhardt by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) I was also drawn to ‘portrait of a young man ‘ by Rembrandt ( 1606-1669) believed to be of his son Titus painted in 1663. In the painting  Rembrandt seems to have captured some of the personality of the sitter with the way he has captured the posture and the intense dark eyes of the young man.

Portrait painting continued to thrive during the nineteenth century and themes developed with some artists moving away from society portraiture and producing ordinary people including capturing people at work such as Van Gogh ( 1853-1890) paintings after the French artist Jean Francois Millet( 1814-1875) particularly his paintings and drawings inspired by Millet’s sowers. Self portraits were  also very popular throughout history Rembrandt produced many and the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch produced several self portrait drawings in bright primary colours during the latter part of his life. The advent of photography again added another dimension to portraits and today we have advances in technology that enable everyone to be a photographer with smart phone technology leading to the rise of the ‘selfie’ now a word that has been  added to the English dictionary.

Figure drawing its self has also been a fundamental aspect of learning about the mechanics of the human form for artists. Art schools trained their students to draw by copying the naked form from plaster castes and statutes later artistic practices trained students to draw from a live model. Life drawing became a fundamental aspect of art education.

The Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci ( 1452-1519) was a painter, sculptor , architect , scientist and an inventor. Leonardo was interested in the mechanics of the human body he filled sketchbooks and notebooks with anatomical drawings he also drew detailed portrait drawings. ‘In Vitruvian man c.1490 demonstrates that he clearly understood the proportions of the human form each part of the human form in the drawing has been accurately measured using the theories of the Roman architect Vitruvius – which I find interesting as it is a very similar theory that is used in building perspective and perspective rules such as the golden ratio.

During the twentieth century artists pushed the boundaries in portrait and figure drawing ( I wonder whether this may have been a response to photography? ) Pablo Picasso ( Spanish 1881-1973 had a long and very successful career – early on he produced a series of very emotive and powerful works of figures using a limited colour palette known as his ‘blue’ and ‘Rose ‘ periods – the poignant images he captured were of beggars and circus people . As a leader of the cubist art movement from 1907/1908 he produced an entirely radical concept of capturing a form by showing several different viewpoints within the same space – so that the picture plane would have a face represented with maybe a half view and a front view that literally invites the viewer to challenge their perspection  of the portrait.

Today the contemporary artist continues to explore the human form and face in many unique and different ways.

Anne-Marie Schneide ( French b.1962) produced a series of graphite drawings using mainly just line to produce a series of intimate and sexually explicit drawings where she seems to be largely concerned with shapes – the series of drawings seem to be quite extraordinary in the way that Schneide is able to suggest form and movement with such economic use of mark making on the page. The static lines to me manage to suggest movement! Which I find astonishing. To Me Schneider’s work is very exciting with a raw energy that is very visceral. I definitely would like to find more about her work.

British contempory artist Julie Brixley-Williams is also an interesting artist she is concerned with the very relationship between the body and the space that it around it and the space that it physically fits into. ‘Cloud dance 2’ is a graphite drawing made as a response to a performance on a beach.  ‘locationation’ captures the collective pirouette of 52 dancers at the same time 11.30 am on 9th June 2001. Brixley-Williams has created a series of complex hieroglyphs that map time the location. In a similar way to Anne-Marie Schneide Julie Brixley – Williams’ work is new and diverse and exciting. Brixley-Williams ‘cloud dance 2’ has an almost ghostly ethereal feel to it – it reminds me of whisps of smoke. Chinese artist Ren Zhenyu (b.1976) produces abstract – expressionist style very colourful portraits of famous iconic figures such as Apple software inventor Steve Jobs, and American president Barrack Obama. At first glance Zhenyu’s works look like collage as the structure of the form of the faces appear to be applied in a built up patchwork effect – they are actually oil paintings. Each image stares out of the frame – they are just head shots so the focus is the facial features of the sitter. To me the eyes of the portraits seem to be the focal point of the art works.

I am looking forward to starting this part of drawing one as figure drawing has always interested me and I have done various classes over the years with some very inspiring and different teachers  – including a short summer course in 1987 at the city lit college in Covent Garden with the British surrealist arist Cecil Collins ( 1908-1989 ) . Collins used classical music and mediation in his life drawing classes. He was also concerned with using colour as an  emotive tool.

RESOURCES

saatchiart.com

http://www.tate.org.uk

http://www.nationalgallery.org

http://www.bbc.co.uk

drawingsofleonardo.org

BOOK

Drawing now – between the lines of contempory art edited by Tracey published by IB Taurus 978-1-84511-533-3

 

Assignment – three Drawing one

On the advice of my tutor I re-worked assignment three in pastel’s using the composition from my ink study. I used cream coloured A2 size pastel paper. I loosely sketched free hand the composition from my ink study in pencil. I then built up the colour and tones in layers using board marks with my pastels. I feel that I like my drawing although it does seem very green – I think I was a little influenced by Astrup’s landscapes that I had seem recently at the Dulwich picture gallery.  But the area of Greenwich park from my work is very overgrown with a lot of foliage and greenery which I wanted to capture in my drawing. I kept the top part of my picture paler in tone as in the aerial perspective principle.

I spend 2 hours on my drawing – but took regular breaks and at intervals stood back to look and review and assess  my work – i also took some photographs of my drawing as i worked on it,  to record my progress.