Final pieces

Assignment 4

I spent a while looking at figures and examples of work I found interesting. It's too easy to just plump for an obvious pose or angle and I wanted something more interesting to engage both me and the viewer.

I actually did these two works in reverse: I did the tonal drawing first. The instructions suggest not placing the model to look directly at the viewer, but I like this angle, it's very direct and engaging. I looked at David Hockney's '82 Portraits and 1 still life' and while the sitters aren't all facing the artist directly, many are. I liked that the chair on a platform: often when the subject is seated, the artist is looking down on the subject, but I liked that the subject is looking down slightly on the artist and viewer, which intensifies the look and makes a more unusual view - the artist is subject to the sitter's gaze, and therefore so is the viewer.

For the figure study using line, the brief was for the model to recline, so I chose an angle with strong foreshortening and again, quite a direct angle in relation to the subject who is reclining on a sofa, but this time with the artist and viewer looking down at quite a sharp angle.

Subsequently I feel frustrated with the poor observation on my part - the crooked angle of the eyes in picture 2 for example. But the brief suggested retaining spontaneity in the drawing which I did by using a brush and ink, so there's no means of correcting the work. The other image I drew first in pencil so had more scope for corrections. I think I need to spend longer over each work however. I like working rapidly but on the whole the results are more accurate if I spend a lot more time and having established the overall form, then spend a long time drawing each part as I did earlier in this section where I concentrated on just eyes, then just lips.

I began with some sketches, including continuous line drawing, not lifting the pen from the paper and sketching without looking at the paper... perhaps frivolous, but I find it a good way to warm up before more carefully observed and recorded observations. When visiting the National Portrait Gallery, I noted that artist, Colin Davidson, who painted Ed Sheeran, produced over 20 preparatory drawings as well as photographs before starting the final piece.

1. Figure study using line

2. Figure study using tone

3. Portrait or self-portrait using line and tone.

I had endless trouble with this piece, as you can see: for some reason, I kept slanting the drawing to the top right corner - I redrew the eyes on separate paper and stuck it over the top... and still it slants. I seem to look like Vladimir Putin!

Also I used graphite on paper, a simple and perhaps too obvious, mundane medium which tends towards a very tight finish. I should have used this as development and gone on to do something much more interesting, more creative media or approach but the deadline was looming. So here it is... me as Putin.

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