My initial sketches and experiments of ‘figure & head in activity’ did not work. I started by sketching my son hoovering at home in a few mediums but I found it hard to interpret the body in action and because I was trying to capture my son moving around while sketching it was obvious the more abstract images worked better. I did this by using various mediums from wax relief, ink, watercolour, pencil etc.
Above, two sketches (of a few more) of my son hoovering in mixed media, sketchbook A4
I was not really capturing my sons movements and so still needing practice on capturing the body moving I had a rethink. My son is a handy model and not so long ago he has taken up climbing, both indoors and out. This encouraged me to start again aiming for more interesting poses. So I played with styles and mediums not producing anything very good, in fact, I began to panic until I saw a thread emerging in my log. I noticed this thread after I had copied Matisse’s, The Dancers and had further abstracted it with white gel on black paper. I saw how the effect of a few lines were on the page and yet they still gave the impression of movement. I saw I could go back to basics and try out the idea in my life drawing classes too. From here on I started to enjoy the research much more. In fact I intend to continue a little more with the ‘figure in activity’ not only in my sketchbook but also on individual pieces. My research led me to fascinating works by all sorts of artists, from the Renaissance to contemporary, who managed to interpret movement. I also found The Bauhaus School drawings of dancers and Eadweard Muybridge first motion pictures really informative as well as visits to galleries such as, Museum of Art in Leipzig in Germany, to a few exhibitions at Tate Britain, Van Gogh in London, etc (all in my log) and not forgetting life drawing classes. Below a page from my log;
In my log I enjoyed not only looking at artists but also copying small pieces of their work into it. I sought inspiration for my own technique, especially with regard to the later stages of my ‘figure & head in an activity’. I found by doing this, continuing to sketch, attend life drawing classes, all really helped towards my objective of getting more energy and an expressive feel into my work. Something I can continue to work on, together with the accuracy of my subject. By studying, copying and collating other artists I am beginning to make connections to patterns of themes I am currently drawn to. Below are most of the small copies I made in my log using various mediums and paper.
I had decided my son climbing was the image I was keen to try and capture. I sketched him in situ (see below pics) from photos and in life. Although the initial climbing works lacked energy and flair I found once I had sketched him outdoors I was able to come home and inject my observations into larger pieces, eventually working towards the acrylic A1 of him holding on with one foot against the rocks.
On the left sketches of my son climbing indoors from photos and for some I asked my son to adopt climbing poses indoors too! The sketches on the left, like many of the other preliminary pieces for Part 5, are static compared to the sketches outdoors on the above right.
My son climbing at local climbing rocks and me sketching him!
I also took the opportunity (with permission) to make some head portraits of my peers from my life drawing class. I did my first watercolour only portrait of lady called Anne-Marie and really enjoyed it and want to create more pieces using watercolour only, the rest were a mixture of mediums.
My first watercolour only portrait on A3 of Anne-Marie. All above portraits made during a couple of art classes.
On commencing Part 5 I decided to start a scrapbook with cut outs, print-outs, etc of any image that I like, to help me with noticing patterns that appeal to me. I plan to continue exploring the figure & head as I have found a couple of amazing drawings by Italian painter, Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594) and more contemporary artists for the figure in an activity. I am also aware I need to develop portraits and need to practice more sketchbook drawings of the head and its features. I found the beginning of Part 5 daunting but as I went along I really started to enjoy finding connections from one thread of interest to another, reading about artists, trying and failing with differing materials, etc. I am not sure what is next but while I send off my work to my tutor I plan to continue exploring around the theme of the figure & head in an activity, which is a broad theme in its self, and see where it takes me!