The Black Kimono

I'm faithfully drawing - at least 2 hours a day,  and I love it. I realised that charcoal is a 'painting' and not a 'drawing' medium - so I thought I'd better get stuck in with it.

Above is my 4th charcoal drawing. I'm pleased with it - very pleased - is this practice paying off? It took me around 7 hours (I must be crazy - it was, in fact,  too ambitious for me - but was an image I just had to do - know the feeling?). The crucial stage is the initial 'block-in' - measuring /proportions. To get a finish, you just have to go into a sort of mindless trance (the 'zone' - maybe I overdid the finish- blending charcoal means the image starts to become very (too?) photographic. Actually the whole thing was a series of errors (I started with graphite i.e. pencil!) - so it's lucky I'm pleased with it - when you really want to make it work - that helps.

And of course, now it's done I know I should have done it bigger (it's 40 x 28 cm), could do better, etc. Still that glow of achievement is the fugitive reward....

Reference image from Character Designs.com


Prud'hon copy 3

Fairly satisified with this - it's about 25 X 30 cm took 4/5 hours and is on the paper recomended by Rebecca Alsofon - overkill for my level. Did it teach me anything? Dunno, it's a fairly specific technique - 2 colour chalk (pastel pencils). Could have done better in the face. The background lines (squiggles) maybe add 'atmosphere'....


Drawing in colour & toned paper

Well, I got the William Maughan book – Drawing the head – (right two heads below are copies from the book)

it's excellent, but is a specific method (2 colour pastel pencils = white and sanguine (caput martuum, in fact)) on toned paper (mid grey – strathmore velvet grey).

I also decided to try to further benefit from the Rob Liberace DVD – The portrait in 3 color chalk – by drawing along with him. Again it's a specific procedure – 3 colours of verithin pencils (sanguine (terra cotta, in fact), white and black) on a toned paper (watercolour – e.g. yellow ochre + shellac coat for a more 'toothy' surface). Here's my version of/from Rob Liberace's video tut.

The Prud'hon copies I was doing earlier are black and white chalk (chalk = pastel sticks or pastel pencils) on, according to Rebecca Alsofon's great Prud'hon tutorial, blue paper from 2 particular manufacturers.

My poor copy of part of a Prud'hon drawing

It seems to me that, at present, I prefer to draw with those solid graphite type 'pencils', preferably 6B (I don't know what you call them – leads? sticks?). Coming from painting and the use of a brush as I do, the fact that you can layer in tone and mass with them really suits me – I guess what I really love to use is charcoal – but I have a problem with the fact that it's hard to get fine lines with it and its messiness... ... I think that for people who know what they're doing (e.g. Scott Burdick, Susuan Lyon), it must be the king of drawing media.

Back to the toned paper Рit occurs to me that rather than having to order special papers you could just as easily tone the paper with a pastel rub-in (I mean, if you're going to use colour in drawing, pastels are the obvious thing to use) or a water colour wash à la Liberace (you can even erase through to the white of paper as water colour lifts off Рone reason for not replacing it with acrylic. Hmm, must get me some shellac.

PS If you don't know him, I suggest a visit to Adebanji's blog


2011 - onward!

Like I said in an earlier post - there's so much interesting info. out there (especially on the net!) - and not just on painting! I'm suffering a bit from information overload.

Sometimes, when I think of my painting and try to get a vision of where I'd like to go, I ask myself "what two large paintings would you really like to see hanging in your living room?" - actually, it's the latest ones I"m working on - but seeing as I have no idea why my stuff ain't working/what I want to do - it's easier to take painters I love as potential examples - Monet? Klasen? Cut-out paper to make collage shapes, marker pen bold, wispy melting? - the latter being styles - style is supposed to develop naturally, hmmm.  Before - back in the 80s/90s - the answer was simple - Michel de Gallard (there's no point looking him up and passing judgement - when you really love something, for whatever strange reason, it's beyond critique).

Once, back then, knowing Michel de Gallard was represented by Galerie de la Présidence, rue Faubourg St Honore (!) - he died recently but is stll represented by them - anyway, I went in just to see the paintings in "the flesh" - the lady was very nice indeed - she could see I loved him - and wanted to sell me one (starting at 700 pounds for a small one! - it'd have been double that for a big one of the kind I liked - no chance - art collecting is for the affluent!)

Now, it'd be, say, a painting by Marx Delassio and Karin Jurick - but what keeps coming in to my mind is that, when I was younger (so much younger than today, heh, heh), I was above all searching for what I call a concept - which I guess is a combination of an original style and "meaningful" content - and as I get more and more into drawing - the graphic possibilities of it, the more it seems to me that I was right back then and that drawing is taking me towards something with potential. The questions for 2011 are, 'Has my 'painting' stalled because of a lack of drawing skills?", and, "Where will this new pleasure take me?"...

2010 - landskips


Another Prud'hon copy

Well, I've done around 30 drawings over the past 8/9 days! Feel I'm making progress - and feel satisified I've worked hard. On to part 3 of the Bargue book (figures). Got the Rob Liberace DVD on drawing in 3 color chalks and the Ryder and Maugham (spelling?) books - not had time to look at the books yet - the DVD is nice.