Friday, April 27, 2007

Drawing a Head class starts again

Drawing a Head 26th April 2007
pencil on HP (crop 10" x 7"), pastels on Frisk pastel board (crop 16" x 11")
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

My Drawing a Head class at the Prince's Drawing School started again last night for the summer term. This is the term when we get all the interesting lighting problems in the fourth floor studio - it can often be sunshine when we start and night when we finish. Which makes set-up difficult - with/without blinds and/or with/without overhead lights. We forgot - and I ended up at the end of the second session last night drawing almost in the dark then spent the third session correcting colours. I need to make sure I'm sitting near an overhead light next week.

The big news for the summer term, no doubt confirmed by that Private View on Wednesday, is that I need to practice using pastels for head studies as I haven't used them in class for a long time. So off I went to class with my Art Bin case with my travelling pastels.

I've posted both images I created. I did a pencil study for the first 45 minutes - that got me used to 'how to draw' this particular head so that when I started using pastels I'd already developed some knowledge of what relates to what etc. Although you wouldn't know to look at the pastel as the drawing is much more accurate in the pencil study. I then did a pastel study in 75 minutes (45 minutes + 30 minutes) - which was interesting. The study is very colourful - I'm hoping it will get a bit more subtle! A video podcast of the whole process would no doubt be fascinating - but I've not worked out how to do those yet!

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  1. Wow you can achieve a lot in such a short time Katherine. I love both these pieces! The pastel has translucent qualities that appeal to me.

    I noticed you use pastels strokes much in the same way you do with pencils and it had me thinking about what you commented on my blog.

    quote: "I'm personally convinced that pastellists use CPs differently to people who come to CP from graphite!

    Do you feel that pencils work does influence how you use pastel?

    The reason I ask, I know I originally started seriously painting with oils and then moved onto pastels and found I use pastel in much the same way as oils.

    Now on the other hand now that I am going to give coloured pencils a go, it is going to be a very steep learning curb because I won't be able to apply them in the same way as oils and pastel. Even using graphite pencils I use very little line work.

  2. Oh - now that is interesting. Although I work in line when I actually pastel and work with coloured pencils to do landscapes I think the way I work is not that dissimilar to the way people work in oils. I think big shapes and values first and work all over and sort of close in on the piece. Which is how I did this pastel. The line work comes back in at the end because I enjoy line and want to be Degas when I grow up!

    However when I'm doing a graphite life study like this one it's a bit different. I know I always find the middle of the subject and then take measurements out from there and grow it slowly from the centre - but working in value shapes rather than lines. My value shapes contain lots of hatching marks but I'm actually working in values rather than with line as such.

    Does that make sense?

  3. The observation of the face is better in the pencil drawing but I really like the simple and glowing way you've put her top in with pastel - positively luminous.

    I love to marry mass and line - I love line and think I want to be Schiele when I grow up! Degas would be good too or Rodin - his sketches are wonderful.

    I love lost edges where mass takes over and then positive lines where they work best.

    I had to work out ways to be able to use my love of line in oils as I really neeeeed them!

  4. I would just like to put in a vote for your learning to video asap, Katherine. This is a beautiful, strong, vibrant pastel portrait! Love it.

  5. I love to see these, drawing portraits is my favorite subject of all, an accompanying video would be terrific!


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