Week 5 of Extended Drawing for Artists and Makers started with a recap of the previous week where we'd been drawing space, through transparency. Anne had brought in one of her fragile artworks to show us, made from strips of paper , asking us to compare it with the very solid brown teapot it was based on. This week we were looking at surfaces and the way light bends around the surface and the awareness of the sense of touch
We looked at 2 different art works by Antony Gormley based on the human form with very different scales and approaches: ' Exposure' ( above ), a huge structure composed of space and the small dense, dark, form of 'Iron Baby' cast from his daughter ( exhibited as part of 'Found' at the Foundling Museum)
Thinking of how you might draw this sculpture, we looked at the drawings of Georges Seurat with their rich blacks of Conte on textured paper built up of tone rather than line, his approach to curved surfaces. (I rediscovered my 'World of Art' book on Seurat bought in 1980 when I got home - I've always preferred his drawings to his paintings)
In these portraits by Chuck Close, he's used clusters of fingerprints to create tone - using different pressures to create light and shade, using touch itself .
So our drawing tasks for the morning were to draw from photo of 'Iron Baby' with white chalk on black paper and charcoal on white paper working directly with our fingers and hands , feeling our way around the subject , working lightly to begin with.
We set up a 'palette' on the corner of the paper, rubbing the white chalk to create a dense covering which we lifted off with fingers to draw/ smear on the paper, replenishing when needed, creating a tonal scale with white fingerprints down the edge. Working outwards ,we used an eraser to remove some of the chalk marks, to define shapes and lines ( trying to avoid using the chalk directly until working on the strongest highlights)
Introducing the dense , velvety blacks of compressed charcoal was left to the end , using the same technique of rubbing on the corner of the paper for a palette and then applying fingerstrokes in the very darkest parts of form
We then repeated the process in reverse, using willow charcoal initially before the compressed charcoal. The results were much better ( and more interesting) with white on black than black on white , partly because the subject was dark so didn't need as much of the chalk to find and define the form ( neither of the papers had much a 'tooth' to hold the pigment.), partly as I was looking intently just at the areas of reflected light rather than the subject matter. It was quite magical gradually seeing the 'ghost' emerge, the trick was to put a bit more definition in certain areas - the fist, the line along the back
Having said I don't really like charcoal to draw with as it's messy and dries out my skin, I rather went for it, with a bit of encouragement using the side of my hand to draw with ! I rather like the smudged overlapping lines and marks that you couldn't get any other way.
I couldn't resist taking 'selfies' of my hand ( but then I have used my 'inky digit'
I then found the work of Judith Ann Braun!
|Judith Ann Braun
In the afternoon we applied some of the techniques to the shiny black vessels or objects we'd brought in ( in my case a coffee filter cone) , starting with charcoal on white paper
Next week we're doing one A1 drawing based on the combination of space ( transparency) and light( surfaces, touch). Lots to think about!