Preparatory work has helped my decide that I want to do a full length figure using a darkish paper and do this in pastels. I plan to start by laying in the highlights and then start bringing in the darker tones and working on detail.
Studies for final piece
Years ago I did a painting of my husband crouched almost in a circle. I really liked this pose and I thought at the time I'd like to revisit this so I tried drawing this pose again.
I think the original painting was at a different angle, I seem to remember it being more front on. Although I still like this pose I think its too difficult for the model to hold for such a long time.
I decided on an easier seated pose and tried a couple of angles.
I toyed with the last pose and I liked the triangular composition. I knew the face would cause problems so I tried a close up to practise.
I was quite pleased with the profile, I think this is the most life like I've ever drawn my husband. Ultimately I decided that I preferred the first pose though. I like the way he was twisting rather than straight on.
For the final piece I chose a dark brownish/purple paper.
First of all I drew out the figure using pencil in order to get the proportions correct. I then laid out the highlights using a white pastel. I quite like it just like this, without finishing it!
I then added more colours, a creamy yellow and an orange/red. I love the way this orange colour makes the shadows come alive. I knew this couldn't be the final colour for the shadows or it would look like he was sitting next to a fire but hoped this colour would eventually show through the darker colours. There was some reflected highlights from the white furniture on his left arm which I've included.
I then started on the purple cover he was sitting on. I chose purple because of my experiment with purple paper in the tonal piece. I knew there wouldn't be much paper showing though in the final piece so rather than use a coloured paper I thought including the colour in my drawing might increase the intensity of the yellow tones in the figure.
At this stage I realised I stopped and looked at the drawing from a distance. I realised that I'd made the figure too thin so I had to go back and erase some of the cover.
I'd placed the model so that the light wall behind would form a background for the shaded side and the door way through into the dark cupboard would be behind his side that was highlighted. This would make the shaded side seem darker and the lighter side seem lighter and thereby create drama.
I spent the rest of the time finishing off the drawing and trying to get the face right. I knew it would cause problems! I finished by adding some light hatching over some of the areas like I'd seen in Degas and Rego's pastels. I put small amount of blue and purple in the shadows which really helped to make them recede. I used a yellow pastel to bring out the highlights on the purple fabric. Then I put a "glaze" over the lighter areas with yellow which didn't work so well so I stopped at that point before I ruined it!
|Final Piece -|
I wanted the mood of the drawing to be quite contemplative to match his thoughtful pose. To this end I wanted to keep the colours quite muted which I think I've done. I faintly drew in the chest of drawers in the cupboard and I think it's worked really well. It gives a sense of depth to the drawing and makes the viewer wonder what is in that room that the model is turned away from. In actual fact the left side of the door frame should be there but I've left this out so as not to confuse the composition and detract from the figure.
I'm quite pleased with this drawing. It's certainly the best I've done with pastel and I've enjoyed working with this medium. In future I would like to develop my technique and become more brave with the colours, learning which ones work on top of others to give broken colour. I would also like to learn how to use fixative. I've just used a spray fixative but I've read it's possible to use liquid ones and to use turpentine while you are drawing to give different effects.