Tag Archives: soldiers

One From The Archives 5: The Warrior Prone

13 Sep

Full colour reduction monotype

I did a small series of full colour reduction monotypes a few years ago, working with a young soldier I know who is also a life model when he’s on leave. He loves modelling and he’s really good at it. From an artist’s perspective, it’s fascinating to work with a man in the prime of life who is in the best possible physical condition, not overdone like a body builder but as fit as it’s possible for a human male to be.

But apart from that, what resonated with me is the danger of his job. He loves what he does, which is difficult for me as I abhor war, but I also accept that some humans are born to be warriors and this man is one of them. And he is a son and a grandson and a brother, as human as the rest of us. All my monotypes are based on original life drawings. I do many in my sketchbooks but only a few make it through to development into something else – a monotype, etching, screenprint, painting etc… When I chose the drawings to develop for the ‘Warrior’ mini-series, I focused on my own feelings and showed the vulnerability of the model. Warrior he may be, but he’s also fragile flesh and bone and his life could be snuffed out so easily.

Warrior prone small

The original drawing, charcoal into an A3 sketchbook


The full-colour reduction monotype process produces one piece with deep, jewel-like colours but I also put another piece of the gorgeous BFK Rives paper through the antique etching press at Swansea Print Workshop to take a second – ghost – impression. This technique was beloved by Impressionist artists Degas and Monet and they often worked over the ghost monotype with oil pastels. But often, the untouched image is quite beautiful without any more work, the oil pigments break up slightly like an Impressionist painting.

The 'ghost' Warrior Prone

The ‘ghost’ Warrior Prone

If you want to find out more technical details about monotypes, please click here to go through to the technical section on my website. The “Warrior Prone” 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.


Contorted Man [parental guidance]

28 Apr

Ink sketch: male nude.

I had a really productive session at life drawing group on Thursday, getting in some good practice pieces and also some drawings that I’ll continue to work on to eventually turn into full-colour monotypes. Here’s one of them. Our model is a young soldier who poses for us between tours of duty. His army chums think he’s really brave to do life modelling; he reckons it isn’t as bad as being shot at! Because he’s very fit, he’s able to hold difficult poses, especially contrapposto – the ones that twist the body and put muscles and joints under a lot of stress. He held this for thirty minutes. I don’t think that artists’ models get the credit they deserve. It’s a hard job, much harder than most people imagine. The pay is OK but not brilliant and it’s difficult to do it as a permanent career.

I concentrated on trying to get the relationship between his head and hand right. It was tough because of the twist on the arm, which was quite severely foreshortened. But I like being pushed. Just as well really 🙂 It’s a Faber Castell Pitt pen size S into a 30cm square Bockingford sketchbook.

In The Life Drawing Studio #3

26 Dec

Ink life-drawing in A4 sketchbook.

Another one of my life drawings where I set the life model within the wider studio and record some of the artists who come to the life drawing group. We have a good range of models of both genders and all ages and shapes, but that also applies to the artists as well. They are women and men, teenagers to octogenerians, mostly professional but with some students and keen amateurs. We’re all united in our love of drawing the human body and continuing an ancient tradition into the 21st century. The nude has figured in art since the Greeks in Europe and before that, in Egyptian art.

This is the life drawing studio / gallery space at Swansea Print Workshop. Our model is a young soldier who models in between tours of duty in Afghanistan. His fellow soldiers think he’s incredibly brave to pose for us. He tells them it’s nowhere near as bad as being shot at!

The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt pens sizes S, F, M and B into an A4 bound sketchbook, opened out to A3.

ps Dad-in-law, who was the topic of yesterday’s blog, is doing very well in hospital.

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