Tag Archives: Renaissance

One From The Archives 23: The Mirror

8 Oct

Reflection, musing on masculinity.  Having a large mirror in the life drawing room can add a lot to any drawings.

Mirror copy for WP

From a purely technical point of view it means you can draw a figure from the front and back at the same time without it looking like two separate drawings.

I also like to experiment with materials when I am drawing and this time the original study was drawn using Renaissance materials, inspired by artwork I did for a television series about da Vinci

Depending on the pose you can use a mirror to illustrate various emotional states. A man leaning against a mirror as if exhausted, naked, too close to see his own reflect with head bowed gives an impression of fatigue and introspection.

This image could be as simple or as complex as the viewer decides. The blacks are dark enough to be sombre whereas the line-work is deft enough to give the figure itself an air of lightness.

It is a photopolymer steel plate etching, etched and hand-printed using oil pigment onto BFK Rives cotton rag paper

If you want to find out more technical details about techniques I use please click here to go through to the technical section.

The monotype “The Gaze” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 22: The Gaze

7 Oct

This model gazes at the viewer, completely at ease and totally confident in her own skin.

the gaze

Most life models are by nature, confident about their bodies and have no problem with being looked at. It is their job after all. Usually though, they tend to look away from the artists. On a purely practical level his is because there will be a number of artists in a life drawing setting and the model cannot look at all of them.

In this work I have chosen to capture the gaze of the model, which gives her more of a relationship with the viewer. She is looking out, as if to engage with anyone who looks back. Although she is naked, it is her eyes and face that draw you in.

I have rendered the rest of the figure in a minimalist fashion to emphasise where the important part of the image is. She is as curious about you as you are about her.

The technique, known as direct line monotype produces a unique artwork in the style of a line drawing. I used archival quality oil-based litho ink onto Zerkall paper.

If you want to find out more technical details about techniques I use please click here to go through to the technical section.

The monotype “The Gaze” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 21: Nude Reflected

6 Oct

I love this printmaking technique. It has all the flexibility of painting with a healthy dose of unpredictability thrown in.

.Nude reflected

A full-colour monotype can be as simple or as complex as you like. This one started out as a very simple life drawing and just developed into something wild and wonderful.  This is a reduction method, which means you are removing ink from a plate before pressing it onto paper.

The beauty is that you can use whatever you like to remove the ink. A simple cotton bud or a piece of tissue are some of the more common implements but you can use your fingers, a toothpick, a toothbrush; anything really. The possibilities and combinations are endless as are the variations in texture.

Here I have used oil-based litho/relief pigment onto BFK Rives cotton-rag paper, as well as many improvised tools. If you want to find out more technical details about techniques I use please click here to go through to the technical section.

The monotype “Nude Reflected” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 20: Spiky Purple Hair

5 Oct

The first time I blogged this image was a turning point for me, as can be seen here. This painting featured in the last ever exhibition I curated at The Brunswick in Swansea. It is based on a drawing of one of our more colour coordinated life models.

Oil on canvas: Purple Hair [detail]

Oil on canvas: Purple Hair [detail]

He had a habit of matching his contact lenses with his hair colour which made for a very striking look. He was also able to get into quite dramatic poses and hold them for as long as necessary.

In this painting I have echoed the brush work on the figure with that in the background. Almost the only thing separating the two is the thick, dark outline of the model and the shock of purple hair flowing behind him.

Sometimes it is good to just play with the surface of a work and push the paint around to create effects. Most of the piece was done using oilbars and rags wrapped round my fingers.  It can be the subtlest of differences in the direction of the paint and colour that lift a subject and make it three dimensional.

The Painting “Spiky Purple Hair” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 19: Eve Sleeps

3 Oct

I love the versatility of this method. It has a fantastic range of darks and lights, as well as a dazzling palette.  A full-colour monotype is also a unique artwork because of the way the ink is applied to the paper.

Eve Sleeps

In this print I have used the warm, vibrant reds and yellows of the background to counter the cooler more sedate greens and blues of the foreground. This gives the feeling of a woman enjoying a deep, peaceful sleep as passion and turmoil stir at a more primal level.

Ordinarily the cooler colours would be used in the background to give a sense of depth or distance, whereas the lively colours like red would be used sparingly because they tend to jump out at the viewer.

By reversing this convention I have emphasised the hidden emotions and, at the same time, almost divided the image into two separate works. One below of a calm, sleeping woman and above, an abstract sensory overload.

The monotype “Eve Sleeps” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

 

One From The Archives 18: Rinascere #10

1 Oct

I often use the idea of an individual enveloped by darkness. I find it both isolates the model and allows me to focus on small, significant details or design elements. It concentrates attention on the central figure as well as exposing the nature of the materials used.

Rin 10 WordPress

Here, the dark washes show up the texture of the paper so it becomes a feature of the composition. The highlights, using white conté crayon, do the same at the other end of the spectrum.

This drawing is part of a series I did using the rinascere technique. Rinascere means to be reborn or to revive and is the root of the word ‘renaissance’.

My first blog about this drawing, along with others in the series can be found here. The background washes are my own addition to the technique and further enhance the impression of age and tradition.

I used Indian ink with a traditional dip pen and conté crayon on handmade paper, prepared with black and sepia ink washes.

The drawing “Rinascere #10” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to them or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 17: Leg Up

30 Sep

This model is very physically active and as a result, very confident about her body and the poses she strikes. Here she is leaning back with her leg up in a devil-may-care sort of way.

16 tonya

It always surprising just how much the physical presence of a model can reflect their underlying personality. My life drawing is a way of maintaining and expanding my skills as well as exploring ways of expressing this deeper meaning through the depiction of the human body.

You can see from my fist blog about this drawing here, that I was mainly concerned about the technical aspects of the process at the time. With hindsight it is easier to see the expressionistic nature of the drawing and how the choice of materials helps to bring out the drama.

I like to recycle materials, especially papers and mounting boards and I prepared this piece with an ink wash, dribbled randomly across it before I began to draw.

The drawing “Leg Up” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to them or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 16: Dystopia

28 Sep
man 1 adjusted

Dystopia

This is an etching of one of the male models I work with. It was developed from the nude study below, which I drew with Renaissance materials, inspired by artwork I did for a television series about da Vinci.

Each printmaking technique has its own advantages. This one allows me to indulge myself, using all manner of materials to make the image. I can push the ink around and draw as freely and as quickly as I like, knowing that the engraving process will capture all of the detail and subtleties.

I first blogged about this work in 2012 when I was introduced to the technique at Swansea Print Workshop.

It’s quite a bleak subject and I love the way the figure seems to be struggling to pull himself out of the darkness, into the light.  I suppose we all feel like we are surrounded by darkness at some point in our lives and art is not and should not always be about sunshine and landscapes. Sometimes it has to show us our fears and fragility.

Using more than one medium means I can explore a subject in greater depth and develop my thoughts and feelings about it as I go through the range of options available. You have to go deeper into a subject before you can come out the other side.

The print above is a photopolymer steel plate etching, hand-printed by me using oil pigment onto BFK Rives cotton rag paper.

The drawing below is in Indian ink using a traditional dip pen, on handmade paper, prepared with black and sepia ink washes.

Rinascere #1

Rinascere #1

The print “Dystopia” and the drawing “Rinascere #1” are available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the links here and here to go directly to them or click on the top right of this page to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 9: The Cushion

18 Sep

Cushion

Surrounded by symbolism, the interplay of shadows describes the form of the nude. This is an etching of one of the female models I work with and is developed from a nude study drawn with Renaissance materials, inspired by artwork I did for a television series about da Vinci.

This type of etching allows me to translate my line drawings into a more permanent medium. It gives me the freedom to be as expressive as I like and to draw using a fast, energetic style. The fact that I am taking a drawing onto another stage of development means I can introduce additional elements of design. The objects on the wallpaper behind the figure look like a a simple decorative pattern at first.

Look closer and you can see that they are skulls and petroglyphic animals, without being too arty you could see these as symbolising the brief life of the individual versus human culture; which can last for tens of thousands of years.

Cushion Detail

One of the main reasons we create art is to attempt to live beyond our allotted life span in some way. This coupled with the enormous emotional impact death has on the lives of each and every one of us makes it a massive subject.

In this piece I am also recalling the Memento Mori, a tradition in European [and latterly American] art, dating back to Roman times, where the viewer is reminded that death is the inevitable consequence of life, typically by including a skull.  You can see a previous blog featuring one of my other ‘Memento Mori’ here.

If you want to find out more technical details about the printmaking techniques I use please click here to go through to the technical section on my website. The etching “The Cushion” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the link on the right hand side of this blog to see other works for sale.

One From The Archives 7: Rinascere #7

15 Sep

Rin 7 for WP

The pose a model strikes can lend a lot to a piece of work. It is one of the reasons I work from life as much as I do. When I look at this, I see a person who is relaxed and confident as she sits in contemplation of her future. I might be reading that into the pose but our body language says a lot about us and when making decisions about how to represent someone artistically, it can often be the dominant feature.

The difficult part is creating an atmosphere in the rest of the drawing which enhances it. Here I have given the fabric she is sitting on a bright, chequered pattern. This allows me to use the full range of tones to lift the mood of the piece. Browns and blacks are not naturally uplifting shades but using the checks gives me the ability to introduce a bit of lightness into the work without the seat dominating the composition at the expense of the figure.

To the same end, the wash fades to white towards the top of the frame to reveal her head and shoulders as if they were in a pool of light.

If you want to find out more technical details about the drawing materials and papers I use please click here to go through to the technical section on my website. The drawing “Rinascere #7” is available for sale on Artfinder and if you’d like to find out more, please click on the link here to go directly to it or click on the link on the right hand side of this blog to see other works for sale.

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