Sunday, 7 July 2019

Portrait drawing and colour study, 'Christie, graphite pencil.

One of the most important parts of my painitng practice is the preparatory drawing stage. If I skip this  step and go straight to paint, I am always sorry. And in many instances I will put the painting on hold, and complete a drawing study before returning to the painting. 

Why would you bother?? Because 'drawing' is 'information gathering'. 'Drawing' is familiarising your eye with the subject, both in shapes and in tonal variations, and on a subconscious level it helps you make ALL the decisions that you will have to make during the painting stage - but minus the colour. The better your drawing, the better your painting will be. Bearing in mind the millions of decisions being taken while producing a painting or drawing, it is NOT quicker to sidestep the drawing stage. Instead, it is more painful, as all the decisions are being made at once. 

These photos show stages of my drawing of my son Christie. A very handsome fellow, I know! 

The drawing took many hours over several weeks. The fabric took the longest time! I drew using 2H, and F pencils, on A3 cartridge paper. The next stage is the colour study, and this is the BEST fun! 

The point of a colour study is just that - it's not a mimiature version of the final artwork. This little painting, around 6 inches x 3 inches, took about 45 minutes of blobby heaven, and is much more detrailed than need be. I showed it to Christie, who thought he looked like he'd been stung by lots of Bees. Well, perish that thought! This is straight to paint, no drawing, just mixing colour and setting it down, keeping planes clean, and separate from each other. 

With all that preparation I am sorry to say that I have started the final painting twice, which is one time too many!! I oredered linen, but it was thickly toothy and I didn't like it. I put down an under layer, which took about 3 hours, but decided to stop. It's so much better to listen to your own gut - and quicker to start again early in the proceedings, than torture yourself for days before conceding. 

Upcoming workshops- portrait drawing and painting 22 - 26 July
Oil painting 22 - 26 August
Life Drawing Friday evening 19 July
Life Drawing weekend - Fri 26 & Sat 27 July
For info email

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