Part 4, project 2, exercise 1

Quick sketches of live model.

For all sorts of reasons finding a model to sit for drawings has and will prove difficult but I do have one that’s always available and generally cooperative – myself. A couple of weeks ago I bought a large mirror that’s easy to move around and can be propped against things in the house, and maybe in the garden too. Today, I felt more confident in proceeding this way rather than fretting about being unable to locate a third party. These are the quick sketches and already after the first two, the lines become looser and the shapes more fluid.

This group was the first, before I’d settled on this course of action. They were somewhat in a vacuum and felt redundant at the time. I’ve posted them elsewhere but now their relevance has become apparent in that they set the precedent and broke the self portrait duck. The first two are conte on gesso-prepped cartridge and I’m sitting on a stool in the utility room sideways on to the mirror, a position my psychologist mind interprets as slightly dismissive. The second is in soft black pastel, also on gesso-prepped cartridge, and I’ve given my knees quite a Rego-esque makeover. At the bottom I’ve used a dark violet soft pastel and blended it into the gesso. The pastels are a new acquisition – short and stumpy and nothing like the twee little things I’d been used to. These are robust, solid, own their space, and have much more substance. I’m becoming a fan.

Today I’m in a more motivated frame of mind and actually taking account of the task requirements now I have a plan I know I can put into action.

Charcoal pencil on cartridge. Took about fifteen minutes. Interestingly, while I can see my image in the mirror very clearly, I can’t see the paper very well but actually that doesn’t seem to matter. I’m not aiming for photorealism, more volume and an idea that movement is possible.


Again, charcoal pencil, slightly different sitting positions, and rather quicker to execute.


This is soft grey pastel, blended with a stump and accentuated with black charcoal pencil. This was a very quick sketch and I’ve edited out the sketchbook. I don’t know if anyone would recognise me from this but then I think the shapes and feel of volume are more important. Would her friends necessarily recognise Celia from Hockney’s 1984 drawing of her? I’m not so sure.

Initial sketch in pencil, water + inks + Derwent soluble colour pencil added in ‘post-production’. Wishing I’d left the right arm and hand without emphasis.



The task asks for notes about measurements and planes but I don’t do this although I have with the architectural pieces earlier in the course. I don’t have a facility for this, focusing on that kind of detail distracts me from the whole, and I’m hoping to develop and rely on a more intuitive approach. Maybe technical accuracy has a value that I’m missing, but it bothers me that I might lose the freedom of movement that gives an image life. I think I will be happier to make ‘living’ images in the context of good-enough planes and measures than to make photographically accurate images that are essentially static.


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