The heading above has nothing to do with American political parties. Instead, it refers to my latest two abstract designs. These compositions have many similarities and a few major differences. The similarities include their formats (tall elongated dimensions), the basic subject matter and their overall texture. The major differences are in general color (red or blue) and the contrast of values (light to dark colors). Red is generally more analogous in color, closer color relationships with less dramatic contrast. The shapes and textures overlap more subtlety. Blue has more contrast of both values and colors. The range of light to dark is greater and the complimentary colors of Blue offset the subject matter more sharply than in Red. Several textures are overlapped digitally to create both images using varying levels of transparency. They were both created in Procreate app for iPad with an Apple Pencil. They were then brought into iColorama app to produce a slightly embossed surface texture.
I was back to using pastels this week for the life drawing session. That is still my favorite medium for figure drawing. My normal method of working, especially on the short poses, is to use the flat side of the pastel stick to lay in the overall shape or contour of the figure and position the gesture on the page. This is usually done in a lighter value. Then I add darker values for contour and line work to define the image. To bring the figure forward and add some interest, I try to put in a complimentary color for the background if time permits. These drawings were done on 18″ x 24″ white paper. The timings of the poses are in the captions below each drawing.
This week I decided to go back to using ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil for the life drawing session. It’s a good idea to switch between mediums both to keep drawing interesting and to practice different methods of approaching the subject. When I use pastels, I think in a rather painterly fashion, using color and broad strokes. With drawing styli (pen or pencil) I think more of line and texture (hatching). The timings of the poses are in the captions below each drawing.
This week I returned to my favorite medium for life drawing; pastels. While I enjoyed the variety and change of pace that Art Set app and the iPad provided over the last several weeks, I was also a bit frustrated with the digital medium. The immediacy of life drawing, especially the shorter poses calls for a very direct approach. I find that using “real” pastels allows me to capture the subject more quickly and with greater energy. The timings of the poses are listed in the captions below each drawing.
I continued to use Art Set app for iPad as my medium for life drawing this week. I’m finding that even though it mimics real drawing materials very well, I’m having to “translate” through the digital medium rather than just hand drawing the figure as I would with traditional materials like pastels. That is, I have to work through the interface of the app to get the image down. It slows me up and I sometimes have to search for the right tool or adjustment. Part of that is that I’m still learning how to use the app. I’m finding that a bit frustrating and will probably go back to using real pastels next week. It has been enjoyable and refreshing to use the iPad/Art Set/Apple Pencil combination but I feel a little held back in spontaneity while drawing. As usual, the timing of the poses are in captions below each drawing.
Making abstractions for me is an improvisational process. Basic elements of the design occur to me as I’m working and they change as the composition evolves. As I worked to create these abstract designs, circles became a dominant element. Using Procreate app for iPad, I molded several of these into apparent 3D orbs which seemed to float in a gauzy colorful space. A mixture of shapes and patterns were layered transparently to create a mesh of color and texture.
I continued to use Art Set app for iPad this week for my life drawing session. One of the options in this app is to customize the workspace. On any of the four sides of the screen, a palette can be placed and customized with various colors or a combination of tools or “brushes”. I’ve been experimenting with a variety of configurations and used this one for this week’s drawings.
The problem with this configuration is that I’m right-handed and as I’m drawing I inadvertently might select an unwanted color from the right palette just by touching it. This makes for a clumsy delay while drawing, especially in the short poses.
I’ve reconfigured the arrangement of tools and colors so that there is no palette on the right at all. I’ll use this next week and see if it helps.
This week’s drawings are below with timings of the poses in the captions.
These new digital abstractions are all about texture. The three were composed with the same palette of colors and texture “brushes” in Procreate app for iPad. There are several benefits to working digitally. For me, doing abstractions, the most important advantage is working in layers. Using Procreate, I can create textures, each on a separate layer and arrange or alter the layers individually. This allows for changes to color, density, transparency and the position of objects in the final composition. I can make changes along the way, emphasizing or minimizing any of the individual elements on any layer. The end result is a complex combination of the individual transparent layers stacked one on top of another.
I continued with digital drawing this week using the Art Set app for iPad. I’m still struggling a bit getting used to selecting and using tools in the app. Although I was able to customize the workspace to show only the colors and tools needed for life drawing, it still takes time to learn the “geography” of where things are and how they work. This becomes an issue while working with the time constraints of short five minute poses. There just isn’t enough time to feel comfortable with the interface and the immediacy of drawing. It’s easier on the longer poses because I can take more time to concentrate on the drawing itself. I do like the way Art Set simulates real drawing materials and hope to achieve more control as I continue to use it. The timings of the poses are in the captions below each drawing.
Looking for something to keep my life drawing fresh and engrossing, I searched for and stumbled on a new iPad app. Actually, I had purchased this app a long time ago and had never gotten into it. After many months of non-use I opened it up to find that it had been expanded and updated. With a little experimentation, I discovered that it might work well for life drawing.
The app is called Art Set and it is quite amazing. The concept behind it is to provide tools (brushes) that mimic real art materials. There are tools that perform like pencils, markers, pens, chalks, watercolors, oil paints and more. Oil paints look like 3D oil textures, watercolor has transparency and flow, and chalks look and handle like the real thing. In addition to the drawing/painting tools, Art Set provides a multitude of virtual surfaces to work on; multi-colored papers and canvas. Since my favorite technique for life drawing is using pastels, I tried Art Set’s tools for that medium and was able to apply my usual method of working but doing it in the digital realm. I hope to do more with this very capable app.
This “slide show” illustrates my normal method of life drawing but, in this case, with the iPad instead of using real chalks.
Our drawing session included the usual series of 5 minute poses followed by longer poses. The model and all of the artists were wearing masks due to the pandemic. The drawings below were done in Art Set 4 for iPad. Timings of the drawings are listed below each in the captions.