Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Clothed Figure

This was a nice short section. The first task was to arrange some fabric and make two 15 minute drawings. Then i was to focus on small parts of the fabric in 5 minute sketches done in 15cm squares.
This was quite good fun. I love drawing the folds of fabric as I think they can, quite quickly and easily describe the underlying shapes as well as being interesting subjects in their own right. 
I'm quite pleased with my attempt and I can see how this could become a time consuming and highly pleasurable subject to paint and draw. Even for me, the most impatient artist, I could have spent ages doing this. As it was I had to drag myself away and I'm pretty sure I ran over time in my pencil drawing.
For my first drawing I wanted to give Lord Leighton's technique a go so I chose a coloured greyish sheet and a dark and light pastel pencil. The photograph hasn't shown the cream colour very well, in real life it's much lighter and represents the highlight a bit better.

Black and cream pastel pencil on pastel paper A4
 Then I drew the same fabric in my A4 sketchbook using soft pencil. I think graphite works quite well for this subject because it can be applied heavily for the darkest shadows and sharp edges or softly for the changing tones over the folds.

(right) Pencil on white paper A4   (left) upper - pencil, lower willow charocal A4
upper - compressed chacoal,      lower - conte pastel pencils  A4

Then I focused on parts of the fabric within 15cm squares. It didn't actually work out like I planned. I originally wanted to zoom in more and focus on a smaller section but each time I ended up drawing more than I wanted. The first two I used pencil and charcoal and the second two I used a compressed charcoal stick and then green and red pastel pencils. I thought the knot was interesting becasue it was all compressed. In hind sight however I would have zoomed in further and had less creases. 

While I was on this section I wanted to give Henry Moore's technique a go. I did a very quick copy of one of his shelter drawings using a white oil pastel overlayed with a wash of ink. If I tried it again I would apply the wax a bit harder but other than that it worked quite well. When you are putting the white crayon on the white paper you don't have much idea how its going to turn out so I was relieved when I put the ink on and it wasn't just a blob. It would be good to get some thinner crayons to get greater detail.


Oil pastel and india ink on watercolour paper A4


The final piece for this section draped some fabric over my husbands legs while he was sitting on the sofa. He had one leg half up on the sofa which has maybe confused it a bit. I spent about an hour on this and focused completely on the material of his top and the cover, leaving the head and arms very rough. The cover was a much stiffer fabric than his top and I think this has come across in the drawing.  

Final study, Pencil on paper A3
Elaborate depictions of clothes and fabric have been a constant feature in art throughout the ages. The grand portraits would had layers of luxurious satins and velvets which would show the wealth of the sitter. Artists must have spent huge amounts of time on painting clothes and drapery and I can see why.


Check and Log

Did you approach the figure as a whole? I'm not sure if I have. I concentrated on the fabric too much to the detriment of the whole figure. In fact I didn't even leave enough room for the feet.

Did you manage to create volume in the folds of fabric? I think the fold in the fabric can be seen due to the highlights and shadows.

Can you sense the figure beneath the fabric? Yes I think you can. It is possible to see the shape though the fabric, particularly the t-shirt which is softer material. The fabric draped over his legs was stiffer and didn't cling so much but I think it's still possible to see the shape of the legs and the bend at the knees.





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