Monday, 28 October 2013

Portrait drawing, Belfast

Yesterday I went to an untutored painting session, with a clothed model, to practice some of the things I learnt at the Grand Central Academy, New York, when I was there in August.

Clare, by Julie Douglas

Truth is I had a presentation to prepare for college - I'd done all the ground work but not yet assembled it. In the past, these preparations have gone on long into the night... So I hadn't time to do an all-day session, but decided I'd go along for the morning one anyway, and try not to feel naughty.. Imagine, using DRAWING as the best form of procrastinating!! (I recommend this. Instead of ironing and tidying up to avoid getting to your desk, use drawing to avoid the housework or any other cumbersome task..) 

It was a loft space, with plenty of room.  I chose an easel and fiddled about for ages deciding on just which spot to set it up for the best view - this involves negotiating with the person behind, lest you block their view. We got settled and the model sat down - she had chosen the outfit, and wore many layers of knecklaces. It was one pose for the whole morning, a different pose for the afternoon - if it had been one pose all day I would have got my oil paints out, but two and a half hours just isn't enough for me. So I was happy with my HB and a sharpener. 

Clare was an amazing model - I've never known anyone sit so still for so long. At her breaks, it was the students who did the most stretching, more than she did - standing at an easel is hard on the back, especially for portrait work as you can't afford to move any more than the model. By the end, I was racing to get it all finished. And I was... exhausted! I look forward to going again. 
Brilliant way to spend the morning, and the presentation was FINE! 

The only down side was the smell of turps, as one person was using oils. This was a terrible shame - there are plenty of odourless thinners available, and just for the record, all others are barred from my studio environment. By the last half hour I was feeling sick. So if you are working in a group situation, be thoughtful and use Sansodor as a thinner, and if you're not using HUGE amounts of paint, Vegetable Oil does a great, odour-free job of cleaning your brushes. 

Next up - intensive portrfolio preparation course, childrens half term art class. Belfast.  For details email

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