Friday, 10 February 2017

Tuesday life drawing

Rex Whistler at Mottisfont

I went to see the Rex Whistler exhibition at Mottisfont this week. Not a huge fan but thought it might be interesting... it really was - well worth a visit.

There is a lot of work on display which demonstrates his great versatility. He did just about everything he could with his artistic talents, from book illustration and marketing posters to theatre set design and murals. It seems that he tends to be regarded as a designer / craftsman more than an artist... maybe that's because for most of his short life (killed in Normandy in 1944 at the age of 39), he needed to make money so presumably took whatever commercial work he could get. That, I think, inevitably gets in the way of making art for art's sake and sets him apart as far as the 'fine art establishment' is concerned. Also, despite being an exceptional draughtsman, his painting skills were possibly lacking a bit - though probably, he would have improved these had he lived longer.

Whistler seemed to occupy a rather uncomfortable position socially. He mixed with wealthy and aristocratic people though his own background was rather more humble. Maybe difficult for us to understand the implications of this today...

What impressed me the most was his dedication and complete absorption with making images. He always carried sketchbook, pens, pencils, inks around with him and drew constantly, wherever he was. Apparently, he even had a metal box welded to the back of his tank when in the army so he could keep his art materials to hand. That's dedication! 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Saturday life drawing

 We had our monthly life drawing day at the art gallery yesterday. No painting for me this time; spent the whole day drawing. The drawing I made from the long pose was pretty much complete which is very unusual for me - and the figure has a head! It was such a great pose - loads of foreshortening.

This may be one of the most successful life drawings I've made. Pity the cat lay on it when I got it home and carried off a lot of the charcoal on her coat! Ah well...

Here's the drawing before and after it had been 'improved' by the cat.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Tuesday life drawing

Drawings made on four A4 etching plates this week. Three of the plates have already been etched, one not, so we'll see what happens...

Monday, 23 January 2017


Two more images in my Palimpsest series are underway. These are all prepped with a soft ground for life drawing tomorrow evening. I have no idea where this is going at the moment. Wheee...!!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Tuesday life drawing

 Didn't have time to prep etching plates for this week's session so it was literally back to the drawing board. Drawing smaller this week, charcoal in an A2 sketch pad. Not too happy with these. Hopefully back to the etching plates next week.

Portrait commission

It's been a really creative start to the year. As well the life drawing based etchings, and making three submissions for Small Faces (delivered to the gallery yesterday), I also completed this portrait commission. This is a drawing of the client's mother in charcoal, also delivered yesterday. And it's only 21 January! I'm hoping the year will continue as it has started.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tuesday life drawing is back

 This term's life drawing started up this week. Made three A4 drawings on tissue over a soft ground so that should give me something to work with for a while. Three plates on the go at once! Four if you count my Small Faces. New way of working for me.

Definitely feeling rusty after the Christmas break but one of the good things about this way of working is that it doesn't matter if the drawings aren't any good - I can just remove the bits I don't want.

More Small Faces

Three submissions for Small Faces; the graphite drawing already posted, a hand-coloured etching of good old PB and a soft ground etching entitled What We Remember.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Small Faces

Here's a grumpy face to start the new year! Currently working on submission for Small Faces Open Exhibition at Solent Showcase Gallery in March. The organisers are hoping to fill the whole gallery space with A6 sized portraits.

This one is a quick pencil sketch but I'm also working on a palimpsest style etching too. More on that later.