Friday, 30 March 2018

composition: using drawing as a tool for analysing portraits

The second of two Art Circles which turned into one-to-one sessions.  This time at the Harris Museum Preston.

The task
put the planned tasks, back in my bag (sounds familiar!)

After discussion, we decided to look at composition.  The original plan was to visit Lubaina Himid's exhibition but as that was closed we looked at "Hannibal's Sister", a piece of Lubaina's work which is permanently on display.

Analysing composition is an interesting way to unpick meaning in artworks which, as we learn, increases our vocabulary of visual art or gives us more ideas to put into practise.  

Although I led the way, it was through open discussion we explored the meaning behind three portraits that were exhibited in the same gallery space;  
"Hannibal's Sister" (1989), Lubaina Himid - acrylic on canvas, approx 72 x 72in
"Dorette" (1933), G L Brockhurst - oil on canvas, approx 39 x 36in
"Susie & the Wash Basin" (1929), Dame Laura Knight - oil on canvas, approx 36 x 39in 

We started by breaking down or simplifying the portraits using pencil on paper.  

Our drawings started with the main shapes & significant lines placed in a rectangle of similar proportions to the art work.  These initial marks were modified as we progressed.  Then we looked at the use of colour & added it in blocks if we considered it to be significant.  In discussion we considered...
  • subject or person depicted
  • intensity & direction of the subject's gaze
  • main shapes & significant lines
  • the relevance or purpose of the colours used  
  • context or background to the subject 
Once the three paintings had been studied we brought the drawings together and looked for similarities and differences including noticing frames and when the paintings were bought by the gallery compared to when they were painted. 

Most enjoyable!
[When time allows, I may write this up and share via the pages on this blog.] 

The day continues below the morning's images.




Image: Eugène Boudin (1824-1898), Deauville, 1893,
© The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London 

In the afternoon, we considered aspects of Boudin's beautiful painting of Deauville; moved to the history of Preston gallery and after deciding not to decorate an Easter Egg, we settled near the model of Preston as a mill town and worked from the portrait of "Frank Hollins of Horrockses".

The same process was applied as in the morning.  We also discussed another portrait nearby and compared them to the figures depicted in the photographs and posters that formed part of the exhibition.

The final task was to use the figure of a man in a photograph and place him in another context using the information we had gathered in the morning.

Christine:  from "Frank Hollins of Horrockses" &
final drawing of man & child watching a boat - what else...
Mike:  from "Frank Hollins of Horrockses"
Mike:  final drawing, "man at wash basin" influenced by Dame Laura Knight!

Brilliant outing!

Thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Well done Mike and thank you for being an excellent art companion. 

people, pencil & paper

The first of two Art Circles which turned into one-to-one sessions...

The task
put the planned task, back in my bag

After discussion, we decided to draw some of the service users who were in the library.  

The lady at the computer sat still long enough for a more detailed study whereas the boy at the desk, fidgeted continuously which brought a charm to quick sketches of him.  

Drawing people is a good way to develop observational skills & to develop working quickly! 
A lovely afternoon - thank you & very well done Mandy!

Mandy:  lady at computer (cropped)

Mandy:  lady at computer

Christine:  lady at computer &
women who stood in front of lady at computer 
The sketch on the top right of the page is of an elderly lady from behind:  the only part of her head showing was the bottom of her hat.  
The very dark patch on the right was made testing burnishing tools.

Mandy:  fidgety boy

Christine:  from left: seated lady, fidgety boy & woman with him 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

graphite, grids & jars

Working from magazine images, we used grids to transfer the pictures to paper.  Some folk changed the scale while others worked sight-size.  One group extended using a grid by distorting its lines before redrawing part of the image; others transcribe the image so far then, made it their own.

Lovely work folks - very well done!



Mandy 2
Christine (demo)





Christine (demo)

Sunday, 18 March 2018

2Bs, boxes & boldness

An apparently simple, still life of boxes were drawn using 2B pencils.  Continually checking proportions and angles enabled the boxes to be placed more accurately on the paper.  Their main shadows were then added to give form which makes the drawing look more 3 dimensional. 
A final tweaking and "magic corners" facilitated considering composition.

Everyone made changes to their drawings along the way, demonstrating the need to work lightly or as Norman, my tutor taught me 20 yrs ago, "not to give too much away".  This enables elements to be changed easily and allows initial marks to sink back into the drawing as more accurate and confident marks are made on top.  

"Not giving too much away" is partly the reason some of the images on the blog are not as bold as others: as individuals become more experienced, beautiful, tonal drawings are produced.   

Excellent work folks!  





Thursday, 8 March 2018

money plant, pots & pencils

What a lovely week at Art Circle.  St Annes & Ansdell sessions were very similar this week.  Both had a money plant as the subject for a pencil drawing:  one had the plant in its green, indoor container and the other with out it, showing off its old terracotta pot.

The brilliant drawings are below.  Well done everyone - particularly our star baker, Dorothy!  Having said that, we have a lot of stars.... shhh!

I should add, the reason this accolade is placed at Dorothy's feet is how she has become much more confident in approaching and undertaking an observational drawing which is directly reflected in her beautiful work.  Well done!   

Changes are afoot, some regular participants are away for a while and new people are starting.  So if you fancied having a go, now is the time.

Spaces at; 
The St Ives Hotel, Thursday 11 - 12.30 
Freckleton Library, Wednesdays 10.30 - 12 (starts 21 March)
Ansdell Library, Wednesdays 1.30 - 3

All abilities welcome.
Christine S & demo (wed)

Christine S & demo (thurs)

Christine T


Dorothy "star baker"

Mandy 1

Mandy 2

Monica 1

Monica 2

Stuart 1

Stuart 2

Thursday, 1 March 2018

altered books

This morning we had a look at some of the altered books to be found on-line and then had a go at making our own.

Well done everyone!

Christine:  Who (1)

Christine:  Who (2)

for Brian

Dorothy re-imagined her book by illustrating sequential elements of it with sculpted pages.

Dorothy 2

Dorothy 3

Mabel:  unfinshed

Monica:  West - History, Future - East

"something we love" from memory & imagination

I received a lovely warm welcome from the staff at Ansdell Library yesterday - thank you, it's good to be with you again.  It seems a long time ago since Art Circle was in a library, it's good to be back. 

Our first session started by telling folks a bit about me and outlining the sorts of things we will cover as a group, then we drew "something we love" from memory & imagination using Coloursoft artist quality, colour pencils.

It's not easy being put on the spot but this task gives me an indication of how we will work over the coming weeks.  

Lovely work everyone - well done! 

A lot of learning took place to achieve this lovely drawing.  My first star baker,  Derrick.

Derek:  another approach to showing a circle

Joan:  unfinished

Mandy:  unfinished

Mandy:  circles

Want to join us?  
Come along next Wednesday 1.30 - 3pm, at Ansdell Library.
No experience needed & we're friendly!