Tag Archives: portraiture

An Inky Threesome

23 Jun

23 monotypes

Had a hard day at Swansea Print Workshop today. It was very busy with 6 printmakers working flat out. I was working with Gayle and Chris developing some 3-colour reduction monotypes. I wanted to get in a bit of portraiture practice, working directly from a simple black and white drawing, while the other two wanted to start developing some pieces for the Print Workshop’s themed exhibition later this year on the subject “The Industrial Valley”.

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It’s a long process involving drawing directly onto three separate inked plates, then printing them one on top of the other. You can find out more about the technique on my website here. The process produces one full-colour monotype and a secondary ‘ghost’. We used Intaglio Printmaker’s oil-based pigments in Process Yellow, Red and Blue onto BFK Rives 250gsm paper. I’ve been on my feet all day and now I’m going to slob out in front of the telly!

Drawing With Silver

3 May

Portrait in silverpoint.

I’m very lucky to have been invited to study on an intensive two-day course in Renaissance drawing. Today was day 1 and I did some work in Silverpoint. I’d heard about it and admired reproductions but I’d never seen a Silverpoint tool before. The handle is a smooth barrel of wood like an etching needle but the point is a piece of silver wire, apparently 99% pure. It can be used flat or as a very sharp point, but you have to be accurate because it can’t be rubbed out. It seems that Renaissance artists didn’t use the technique for quick scribbling, it was for careful studies. The paper is coated with a special Silverpoint Medium; I don’t know what’s in the modern one, but back in the day it was supposedly ground bone in some sort of animal glue. Nothing wasted eh?

The drawing room was very full so I moved in close to the model. She wore a wig which had been elaborately plaited – daVinci was particularly fond of drawing plaits. I loved it. It helps that I normally draw directly in ink, without sketching in pencil first, so I had the confidence to get stuck in without worrying too much about accuracy. It’s a small drawing, about A5 onto prepared hand-made paper and took about 20 minutes.  I like the technique so much I might put a Silverpoint tool in my letter to Santa. 🙂

Head Hands and Feet

27 Apr

Ink sketch.

Went to my weekly life drawing group at Swansea Print Workshop last night and had a really good session with three drawings that I think I might be able to work up eventually into large monotypes. Towards the end I sat back and just had a bit of a practice with the head, hands and feet, always the problem areas for me. This model has a very striking face which I find hard to draw so it’s good for me to get in a bit of practice. It’s a reasonable likeness. His hands were in a very complex clasp and I’m pleased with the way they’ve turned out. I used a Faber Castell Pitt pen size S into an A3 Bockingford sketchbook.

Today I helped interview artists for the upcoming residencies for the ‘Drawn To Print’ project at the Print Workshop. We had an excellent shortlist and appointed three fabulous artists who base their printmaking practice on fantastic drawing competence. The first one starts in a few weeks and I can’t wait!

Here’s a bit of trivia – Heads Hands and Feet was the name of a British rock band in the early 1970’s.


Suffering for my art!

5 Apr

Portrait of a man.

Just a quick blog tonight as I’ve only just got back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop and I want to go to bed! Here’s out fabulous model who is also a soldier in the Territorial Army [army reserves]. He’s just become a ‘poster-boy’ for the TA’s and we walked around the corner the other day and saw his face plastered over a telephone box on a large recruitment poster. Quite a surprise. Being a fit soldier, he holds some extraordinary poses and I did some drawings I’m really pleased with tonight that I will work up into large completed drawings and full-colour monotypes.

I got carried away with this one and it’s come out quite 1930’s, a bit Art Deco, maybe even a bit Tamara de Lempicka. It was fun – I did it for my warm-up before I got stuck into some serious stuff, before we squished him up into some horribly contorted poses. Poor guy suffers for our art :). It’s drawn with a 9B graphite block into an A3 Bockingford sketchbook.

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