Due to taking over a year to complete Unit 2, I have had to rush to complete the last three units in the overall two year time limit for the course. This has meant I have only done the set exercises and have not allowed myself to be distracted by any side alleys, no matter how interesting or worthy they might be. For example, during the self-portrait project, The Book required studies of the neck which I undertook even though studies of the eyes would be far more important to me. After I’d put my shirt back on, you could hardly see my neck anyway. My droopy right eye was still there though, staring back at me from the mirror. There are no studies of hands or feet, except as part of the final assignment pieces, even though they are the bane of many a life drawer – including me!
One major thing has puzzled me throughout this unit though. ‘If you have someone who will pose nude and you feel comfortable about it, great …’ and ‘If you can, find a life drawing class to go to in your area.’ I am fortunate in that I have a personal friend, Sandra, who is a life model and who was willing (at her normal fee) to model for me on a one-to-one basis. Most students do not have this luxury and I wondered what they do. I raised this on an OCA student Facebook group. The husband of one student was a bit of an exhibitionist and was willing to strip off, while another managed to get her husband to take his shirt off. A third was trying a ‘I’ll strip for you, if you strip for me’ search for another OCA student in his area. Others seemed to adopt an ‘I can’t get what they want so they’ll get what I can get, even if it doesn’t fit the bill’ approach.
I also attend a life drawing group regularly. However I have only submitted three pieces of my work from it for two reasons. Firstly, The Book wants the model to sit or stand in a certain way, with the light like this and a pose for this long. Now I’m very friendly with Julia who runs the life drawing group and she would accommodate my request to a certain point, but there are limits.
The second reason is that my style just does not fit in with the requirements of the course. It is much looser and expressionistic, often using the side of the charcoal in 3-5 minute drawings. It seems I draw one way for the course, and another way for myself.
I have tried in this unit to keep away from my standard fine liner pen on A4 and have used either a soft graphite pencil or charcoal stick on A3 more often, with attempts at more tone and less line. (In fact I found the exercise on drawing draped clothing in line very tricky without adding tone!) I did use my fine liner for very quick gesture drawings though.
One difficulty of using A3 rather than A4 is that I have had to use my camera more than my scanner and this has resulted, even after processing in Photoshop, in grey paper backgrounds.