All of the drawings this week were done with NuPastels on 18″ x 24″ paper. We followed our usual format, starting with five minute poses mainly for gesture followed by longer poses. The more extended poses allow for more finished drawings.
We had a new model today and she offered wonderful and challenging poses. As with last week’s drawings, I used mainly NuPastels adding to the backgrounds with Chunky Charcoals. Working with a new model, I was a bit hesitant but managed to get a few drawings that I felt good about.
This week we had a special treat. Our excellent model came to the drawing session with the most delightful butterfly wings on her back. She kept the wings on for several of the poses. It brought a bit of levity and a drawing challenge to the group. The wings were also a nice contrast to the more serious face mask she wore to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This week I tried using mainly NuPastels with only occasional background work with the Chunky Charcoals. I’m trying to avoid too much buildup of chalk dust on the drawings. If I was able to use an easel as in the past, it would be less of a problem. In the present circumstances, I’m working on a tabletop, the drawing board leaning against a cardboard box at about a 25 to 30 degree angle as I work standing. The pastel residue accumulates on the surface of the drawing, sometimes smudging and contaminating the colors. Since the Chunky Charcoals leave more residue, I’m trying to minimize their use. The NuPastel colors I used are generally lighter and more “pastel”. They result in a slightly lighter and less dramatic composition. I will probably have to add more colors and darker values to my collection of NuPastels.
I continued to work with pastels this week, using Chunky Charcoals and NuPastels on 18″ x 24″ white paper. Our model was wearing a mask as were all of the artists since we were working indoors. I had to, again “fake” the faces or leave them out all together. Since my usual emphasis is on the torso, it didn’t make too much difference in my approach to the model.
This week I returned to using my trusty NuPastels and Chunky Charcoals. There were even a few strokes done with Conté Crayons on a couple of the drawings. It was good to use pencils and ballpoint pens recently to practice my line drawing but I really missed working with color.
With the resurgence of Covid via the Delta variant, our model wore a mask at this week’s session. I avoided drawing the mask by either not including the head or imagining her face as I remembered it from past sessions. In a couple of poses, her back was turned to me which eliminated the mask dilemma.
This week I stayed with ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil for the weekly life drawing session. We had a model that I haven’t drawn since October of 2019. It’s amazing how difficult it is for me to draw a new or infrequent model. I guess I form a specific approach to each model and it takes a while to get that visualization focused. In any case, the first drawings were harder to get going. As the session progressed, I felt more comfortable and I think the quality of the drawings improved. Having more time on the longer poses helped to get better results.
This was a somewhat frustrating week at life drawing. I tried a new combination of drawing materials with only limited success. Rather than the usual Nupastels and Chunky Charcoals that I use on 18″ x 24″ mixed use paper, I tried working with Conté crayons on a smaller surface, 11″ x 14″. I was trying to minimize the accumulation of chalk dust; Conté crayons are harder than the other pastel sticks. There was less dust but the combination of paper type, size and feel didn’t work for me. There was much less control of the of color on the paper surface (it’s really just cheap computer paper) and it smeared easily making it hard to draw deliberately. There was smudging everywhere. In addition, the consensus of the group on this occasion was to start with three-minute poses instead of the usual five minutes. So I had even less time to feel comfortable with the new materials. I finally gave up on the Conté crayons and finished the session with mechanical pencil and ballpoint pen drawings. It was frustrating but I “chalked” it up to experience, as they say.
I decided to stay with using pencil and ballpoint pen for this week’s life drawing session. I prefer using color, especially with pastels, but I think using a stylus (pen or pencil) is more of a “drawing” discipline for me. I often depend on color to save a study with the pastels. Using a pen is much more revealing of the actual drawing (and any of it’s weaknesses)!
Over the last two weeks, since our life drawing group re-started, I have been drawing with pastels. It’s my favorite medium for figure drawing. For variety I worked this week with ballpoint pen. In addition, I tried adding color using wax pastels (like oil pastels) but their waxiness really didn’t work with the line drawing of the pen. Still, it was an interesting experiment and allowed me to try something different.