Sunday, 13 November 2016

Lots of life

Those dark November days, when the last leaves splat to the ground - you have to look for warmth and life inside.  [Leaves in Vancouver do not "flutter" or "tumble".  They get soaked on the tree until their stems give up, then they splat.  On a quiet day, you can hear them splatting.]  Luckily I'm part of two life drawing groups, with great models and warm, lively company.

This one was a forty minute drawing during a longer pose, done in compressed charcoal and dry pastel on mylar.  It's a luxury to have time to get the basics down, then be able to think about what to emphasize.  I did a fair bit of exaggeration, trying for a strong, monumental look.  My personal jury is still out on whether it worked or not.  

Series of two-minute gestures drawn done together with some sense of space always seem to tell a story.  I'm not entirely sure what the story is, but this one seems like an epic.

This longer pose looked familiar somehow, but I couldn't place it until I saw my drawing the next day and immediately thought "Christina's World".  Andrew Wyeth's iconic painting has a totally different model, setting, media and artistic quality(!), but the same expressive posture.

Our new model got dire warnings from the group when she started this similar 20-minute pose: "Your arm will fall off!  You won't survive!"  No problem - models are tough.  This drawing was about the rhythm of that upper leg and hip, and the twist in the back.  And figuring out how to draw blonde hair with black charcoal!

And finally, some California dreamin' on such a winter's day.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Dr Sketchy holiday

Dr Sketchy's is a great escape from interminable fall rains - crowded, hot, loud, and full of randomness.  And exotic creatures.  You'd think you were in the tropics.  I'm often the source of the randomness, as I occasionally have art-supply management issues.  (It's hard using a pen, two brushes, an ink bottle and a watercolour tray while drinking beer...)  But this time I was at the receiving end.  First a brush came flying in from who-knows-where and added a big black splot to a drawing.  Then the girl next to me dropped a wet painting face down on another drawing.  Finally, another person's lapdog, who was being used as an easel, spilled her (the person's, not the dog's) beer, although that one missed any of my beleagured masterpieces.  I didn't win a coveted Dr Sketchy's prize, even with my "best incorporation of a leopard" contest entry, which I was pretty proud of.  But just getting three hours in the local tropics is a prize.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

New York 6: Coney Island

The final stop on the New York drawing circuit was Coney Island.  It's somewhat resuscitated after a decrepit spell, but it still has a strong sense of by-gone about it.  And that seemed perfectly appropriate on a warm October day with an end-of-summer feel.  Big kites were flying on the beach, in front of the 96-year-old rickety Wonder Wheel.  That was the only ride we went on.  The newer ones all looked like they had been carefully engineered - what's the fun of that?

The boardwalk is the scene, probably looking much like it did 50 years ago.
But one thing has changed - a Coney Island microbrewery.  So it wasn't all holiday, I did work on my future career as a beer illustrator.