Fototransfer

Fototransfer is something that I have experimented with so long ago it seems like a previous life, transferring for example polaroids.  I keep encountering it in works that I really appreciate, like in a series in Robert Rauschenbergs exhibition inspired by Dante’s “Inferno”.  It is time to explore this again.

Techniques:

Coat both the paper and the image printed on a laser printer (not inkjet) with the acrylic media or transfer gel/gloss gel medium etc. and apply wet on wet.

Let dry for 24 h, or blow dry with a hairdryer if impatient.

Then wet the paper again with a sponge , let soak for a little while and rub off the paper back of the photo. Let dry, then repeat til all the paper back is gone.

Cover with transparent gesso or clear acrylic laquer.

Trial:

I created a few pages in Photoshop with various yoga related texts or words in sanskrit and had them printed with a laser printer. Inverted image as it will be mirrored when transfered.

I tried two different acrylic mediums. Reeves Gloss Gel Medium has a chewy, sticky, paintlike texture. The paper sticks well, but its difficult to avoid uneven surface if that’s important for the motive. Great to build texture if that is wanted.

Amsterdam Acrylic medium 012, gloss, which is much more liquid, so easier to apply without excess.

The transfer worked similarly well with both medium:

I started out thinking of this technique for creating background, but I really like the almost “skinlike” character of the paper and can well imagine a body out of this….

Here I used smaller pieces together with watercolor and ink for background experiments:

My trials with newspaper and these two acrylic media were less successful. The paper sticks too well and rubbing off rubs off all. The exception was the Arabic newspaper that has a more slippery surface than the others.

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I have tried transferring newspaper with lighter fuel and rubbing as Rauschenberg apparently did before, which works, but the drawings still smell so strongly you can not have them in your room two months later.

Foto transfer is a technique I definitely want to use for some of the layers in this Assignment.

 

Back to Life drawing at Pranotos Gallery

Today I went back to a life drawing class at Pranoto’s Gallery in Ubud.

I have spent months studying the human figure for Part 4, so I was very disappointed in my first 5 minute drawings:

But I realized I need time to warm up and was much more happy with the following 20 minute drawings:

And the final 2 times 20 minutes of the same pose:

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I realized I have learned a lot about proportions and feel more confident. In this last drawing I believe I captured both the pose and the expression. What I need to consider more and work on is cropping and finding a more interesting approach. Here I was still just focused on “getting it right”.


Second life drawing class today for this new part of the course.  Today’s model looked like a photo model and posed like in a fashion show. She had an unusually long elegant neck, accentuated by her short hairstyle. (To be honest I would love to draw a less image perfect woman, that feels confident in her body anyway, with some fat and wrinkles and everyday poses..)

Today I was in a better flow and found it much easier to draw the right proportions . I realized that I have learned a lot during this course! Again, I focused entirely on “getting it right” again, not cropping interestingly. I guess it really felt like that is what I want to get out of going there- being able to draw the human proportions correctly and fast.

I used only colored pencils (Caran D’Ache) , these are 5 minute poses:

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10 minute poses with slight cropping

A single 20 minute pose:

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Here I really struggled again and picked up my eraser although I really had intended to NOT use it. It was a frustrating drawing and looks like it too…

The final 3 times 20 min the same pose:

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I am happy with this last drawing. I think the different colours work here, the pose and proportions are ok. I like that I kept the cushion just lightly outlined.

All in all I felt much more relaxed and in control than last time. I see that the gesture drawing exercises are giving some results, so that is definitely something to continue .


Third life drawing class for this part of the course today. I really really liked the model who was choosing really original and interesting poses, instead of looking like a top model on a cat walk.

I struggled with the first 5 minute poses though- there seems to be like a necessary messing up of the first trials before getting into the flow.

I was much more happy with the following ones:

Then the first 20 minute pose- with a bean bag:

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The last 2 times 20 minute the same pose. Today I made a point of cropping some of the poses and not always draw the whole figure:

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I am happy with this drawing. The face worked well and the rest of the upper body. I like that I stopped on time for the legs.

I had a little more time , so tried the same pose in pink Uniball pen:

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I like the scribbly effect and the color, the pose works as well. Here I chose to crop the arm as well which maybe looks a little creepy. I could have chosen a slightly different angle to let the arm be cropped more naturally.

I realize how much I am learning from these lifedrawing classes! This was my last one here as I am  moving countries next week and will have to find a new one there. Hopefully an exciting way to connect to a community of local artists.

 

Monoprinting

My tutor has suggested that I take a look at techniques of monoprinting, so I am curious to explore that here.

A definition by Tate:

“The monoprint is a form of printmaking where the image can only be made once, unlike most printmaking which allows for multiple originals.

An impression is printed from a reprintable block, such as an etched plate or woodblock, but in such a way that only one of its kind exists, for example by incorporating unique hand-colouring or collage.

The term can also refer to etchings which are inked and wiped in an expressive, not precisely repeatable manner; to prints made from a variety of printing elements that change from one impression to the next; or to prints that are painted or otherwise reworked by hand either before or after printing.

The beauty of monoprinting lies in its spontaneity and its allowance for combinations of printmaking, painting and drawing media.

This last sentence is what really captures my attention!

Two examples here:

Monoprint with Red Hand 1973 by Berenice Sydney 1944-1983

Berenice Sydney- Monoprint from cut perspex on paper

[no title] circa 1955-6 by Naum Gabo 1890-1977

Naum Gabo- Monoprint from wood engraving on paper.

Tate. 2017. Tate. [Online]. [9 June 2017]. Available from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/m/monoprint

Now to the more practical side- how do I try this out? How can I make an etching? a wood engraving? or what is cut perspex? This is really all new territory for me.

Etching:

“Etching is a printmaking technique that uses chemical action to produce incised lines in a metal printing plate which then hold the applied ink and form the image

I have watched the episode of the BBC series “What do Artists do All day” about Norman Ackroyd and his stunning landscape etchings.
Etching is definitely not something I can try in my own home without special equipment.
Wood engraving:
“A printmaking method distinct from woodcut in that the line is incised into the woodblock, rather than the background being cut away to leave a line in relief.”
Wood cut:
“The block is carved so that an image stands out in relief. The relief image is then inked and paper placed against its surface before being run through a press. It is possible to make a woodcut without a press (Japanese Ukiyo-e prints for example) by placing the inked block against a sheet of paper and applying pressure by hand.”
These two methods sounds rather like they can be managed at home. But woodcarving? This would be a whole new experience!
I have already ordered two small flat pieces of wood that will be ready soon 🙂
How about “cut perspex” like in the example above by Berenice Sydney?
A Google search teaches me that Perspex is an acrylic sheet and I have found various tips on how to cut it using various tools like “circular saws” and “jigsaws”. I will have to find some simpler version here, that does not imply investing in tools a month before moving houses and even continents.
What is thin enough to be cut with a blade but resistant enough for printing? How about trying my old yogamat?
And a stupid question.. Do I use normal Indian ink? Or is “printing ink” something different?
Ah yes- of course there is a whole world of printing ink out there. They can be waterbased or oilbased . They are thicker in consistency  than a usual ink and can be wiped off.  So lets see what I can find here.
My further research has led me to find some much easier “home” ways of creating monoprints:
Placing objects:
Apply a thin layer of ink on a sandpapered plexiglas sheet and then placing various soft objects on top. Cover with the paper and press. I do not have any kind of press but a high pile of heavier books may do the trick?
Also I can probably do something similar using the old acrylic paints I already have instead of searching to buy special ink? And not having a rubber roller… could I use and empty bottle?
Tracing
Another technique is to ink up the sandpapered plexiglas, place a paper on top of it and simply draw with the end tip of a paintbrush. This is getting more and more accessible!
“Kitchen lithography”
This method mimicks traditional lithography, but instead of using a copper plate, uses simple aluminium foil, and instead of chemicals uses carbonated drinks.
Place a sheet of aluminium foil on a plate of plexiglas, shiny side up, the foil slightly smaller than the plate and don’t touch the surface as the oil of the fingers will stay and make dots. Foil as flat as possible as the wrinkles print too. Lightly sand the surface of the shiny foil with a very fine sand paper to add texture and values. Mope it off with vinegar on a kitchen towel. Draw directly on the foil with a “lithocrayon”.
Pour cola fizzy drink over the drawing held over an empty bucket, the drink has to touch the whole drawing for about 5 seconds. Dab off the resting cola. Buff the image away using a sponge with vegetable oil.
Make the plate wet. Slowly use rubber roller to ink up the image. Keep the plate wet. Use damp paper. Place the paper on top and ideally use a press. (hm)
Probably the rubber roller IS necessary- to roll out the ink on a separate plate/plexiglass/ surface seems to be the first step of every of these methods.

Time to experiment!
I have ordered some wood to try carving but as it will only be ready in a couple of days, I start by trying to carve a rubber yogablock. It is softer than wood, but not as easy to carve as I imagined. The edges keep rolling up and the elasticity does not work in my favour.
I am carving feet, as I am pondering the saying ” I bow down to the lotus feet of the guru”, and have this idea with printing multiple feet in front of a small bowing figure.
First trials with acrylic paint and an empty glass bottle as a roller are not very successful. The rubber yields too much and it just gets messy, the grooves get full of paint and print darker than the “surface”:
 Despite the result, my taste for experimenting is awakened.
The wooden panels have arrived and I will try my luck with wood engraving:
 My little amateur tools are far too weak and the wood far too hard – my hands are red and bruised and I will not think of how much time this took and how disappointingly ragged my drawing is…
Also I have bought a rubber roller but still no luck in finding printing ink, so I will try with acrylic paint again, maybe it will work better with this hard wood.
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No, acrylic paint does not work.
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I really have to make some printing ink appear magically. This is one of the times that I would love to live in Europe and have an address…

A little more research and I discover that it is perfectly possible to use acrylic paints mixed with acrylic media and also wetting the paper to delay drying of the paint.
Time for more experiments:
I mix the acrylic paint with acrylic media and some water to create a still rather thick but very smooth texture that I apply on my wooden block with the rubber roller:
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And here is the first monoprint:
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Yay! It is working! It is messy and imperfect, but I am already encouraged to continue.
I thought the paint was too thick to be even , so I thin out the paint more and wetten the wooden plate before applying the ink. This proved to be the wrong way- everything just blended:
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I try again with a blue color and find the right thickness:
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I am monoprinting!
Now I grab the rubber yogablock and experiment with that as well:
This is fun! Now I start blending colors- printing one layer on top of the other:
And back to my wood block again:
I move on to the next type of experimenting: with a sheet of plexiglas.
First I scratch the surface with a fine sand paper to make the paint stick better:
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Applying the paint evenly still was a nightmare! The rubber roller just wipes it off instead of spreading it. I experimented with all kinds of ratio of paint/ media and still was just wiping the paint around.. This is the best it got:
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I then placed the soft objects on the plate , a piece of cloth and feathers, pressed the paper on top and covered by another plexiglass sheet and a pile of books.  Definitely failed! (and this sounded so easy!)
I then placed the ink stained objects directly on the paper instead, which created something more interesting:
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And finally I tried inking up the plate, pressing the paper to it and drawing on the back of the paper.
For the black one, the paper was too dry, so it stuck to the plate. The pink one was wetter and slipped off easily, but the paint was still very blotchy. On both I drew random curls or fantasy letters:
All of the above experiments were pressed by hand or with heavy books in my kitchen. None of the results are really good, but I feel so happy about having tried! I will save the “kitchen etching method” for another time. The main issue was really to ink up the plate evenly and I still haven’t figured that out.
I have learned A LOT about a subject I had no idea about and feel curious to seek out some courses that offer experimenting in various printing techniques with equipment and the right facilities.

 

 

SIKA Gallery visit

SIKA Gallery, Ubud Bali

Today I had the opportunity to visit an exhibition of several contemporary Indonesian artists in renowned painter Wayan Sika’s Gallery here in Ubud, Indonesia. My time here in Indonesia is coming to an end , so I want to make the best of this time here by exploring the inspiring local art scene.

What struck me first is the very varied shapes of canvas used by the artists and a truly contemporary feel to traditional Indonesian subjects like village life or religious themes.

I Nyoman Suarnata is exploring the hexagonal shape that is appearing in the traditional basketweaving of Indonesia. Every household has a variety of baskets. The large hexagonal cavities are seen in baskets holding the loud cocks in every yard, they are used in every field to transport husk and used as lampshields. I found it original and interesting how the artist used this shape for the canvases depicting spontaneous scenes from a basket weaving village.

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These cube canvases are aimed at looking three-dmensional:

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I found it interesting how the artist uses one plane in color, one monochrome and one in black and white. Here I think the shape contradicts the subject though, as the baskets are all round, and it also lost the connection to the hexagonal.

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In some portraits Nyoman Suarnata lets the structure of the basket shine through, working on several layers. I am inspired by this layering of shape or pattern and main subject- something to explore.

Ngakan Putu Agus Wijaya is painting on round canvases, like here in his works “Night” and “Black and White”:

There is a fairytale character to his animal paintings that appeal to me and I think the round shape works beautifully with these stories the paintings are telling, making it more playful and eliminating the sense of what is up and what is down.

I Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto’s paintings really live from the three- dimensional canvas :

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The owner of the gallery- Wayan Sika has experimented with various supports like wood and metal, and shapes, like here a headshaped canvas:

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In this exhibition he presented mainly rectangular paintings though- but always with a layered, interesting surface created by gauze or other added materials:

Wayan Sika is also painting the “Yoga” theme that I want to explore for this part of the course, through an Indonesian Hindu viewpoint.

This very clear “yoga /meditation/ religious” symbolism is exactly what I want to try and avoid in my exploration of the subject , and then I must admit that I am very drawn to it. The mandalas- the round shape- the exploding light beams- yes, I am drawn to it all. It will be a tricky path to navigate between pre concieved symbolism and kitch and a real expression of my own experience and exploration .

Visiting this exhibition today has inspired me to go past the obvious rectangle of the paper. It also made it clear that I need to tread carefully not to fall into obvious symbolism while exploring the subject of human movement through yoga poses.

Assignment 4

FIGURE STUDY USING LINE- Seated model in an upright chair

MAGIC GARDEN

I am inspired by this little drawing that I saw in the exhibition by Jose de Almada Negreiros in Lisbon. Like here, I want to draw in ink , a very detailed darker background and the figure in light lines in front of that.

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I used to love drawing imaginary leaves and flowers and forests before I embarked upon this course and decided to learn how to draw from reality. Now I imagine a background of a magical forest with leaves and flowers as an intricate pattern and then my own whole figure in front of that. Because of my recent experiences with breast cancer, this figure is skinny and scared and suddenly foreign elements like an X Ray or a syringe appear in between the foliage.

I would never have imagined I would like drawing self portraits and have always been the person hiding behind the camera lens , but in this chapter I have looked more on myself and drawn my own body and especially torso and breasts more than I would ever have expected. It has felt like a way of dealing with body, illness, body image, fear.

Reading the description of the assignment again, I realize I have to use a chair of some sort, which was not in my original vision. But maybe I can crouch on it or saddle the chair in some more unusual manner. Sitting there calmly crosslegged does not fit what I want to express.

First tentative approaches to the composition in my A4 sketchbook:

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Getting seriously frustrated about having to use a chair.. I had so much fun with the figure drawing and now this chair is challenging me again!

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Chair , chair, chair..

I have asked my partner to take some pictures of me on a kitchen chair. I need some reference to study the poses on the chair. I already know that I want to use ink as it gives me so many beautiful options of different intricate lines.

 

I chose a pose with one outstretched leg as I really like the composition with the strong diagonal it creates. This is A4:

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I am debating if I have a face or not and decide that not. I want the figure to be very white and clean, expressing the human form with just this single clean outline. This pose expresses perfectly many feelings I have. It is somewhat trapped but still rather relaxed and confident. There is a stark contrast between the empty light figure and the wild full background.

I was seeing this in blue or turquoise all along, but once I started playing with the inks, a beautiful old “goldgreen” ink became the only answer.

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I start by outlining the figure and chair, using the eraser so much that I spoil the first sheet of A1 paper, which I then just played with and it became this “happy accident” drawing, filling in small creatures where the paper is ruined..

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So I learned to use very very light marks and no eraser for a second go, and had a chance to fix the front foot and the chair.

This is the final drawing on A1 aquarel paper with Rohner & Klinger Old gold green ink nr 754 :IMG_8101 (1)

I am happy with this drawing. I dreamt it, I planned it, and then drew it. I spent a very long time drawing leaves compared to the figure, but I think it works well together. Also the leaves really allowed me to experiment with all kind of marks.  Although the figure is made up of just a few light lines, I believe it has a real three-dimensionality too it.

There is a mix of reality and fantasy that I like in the drawing.


FIGURE STUDY USING TONE- Reclining model

ISA

My dear friend Isa has come for a visit and is ready to be my model. We are looking at drawings by Toulouse Lautrec and Egon Schiele and talking about the nude and the role of the model, about prostitutes and the image of “cheap girls” and seduction.  Isa pulls out a pair of black bas from her tiny suitcase, an accessory adding to this story. I am interested in exploring the (almost) nude with the eyes of a friend and a woman. Isa is exquisite and elegant and I love her dearly. Will this still be visible? Or where will the story carry us?

I really liked this first pose when she just fell back on the bed , but was not happy with how I managed to capture it- something to practice with more patience.

I decided to develop the pose to the left.  I like the more dynamic diagonal it creates and connects to the creases of the sheet. She is curled up and protecting herself, so it is not at all a seducing pose. What has happened? What does she feel? Small test:

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I use A1 carton brown wrapping paper- I like the feel and surface and also the freedom that comes with using cheap sturdy paper (after spoiling the above A1 aquarellsheet). It is also another part of the story- cheap girl on cheap paper.

A1- I start by using coloured pencils in pastel tones. It is too soft and gentle. I had the idea to use white ink to give the skin a sheen, but am afraid the paper will get wobbly.

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Finally I switch to dry pastel pencils in more vivid colours:

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The proportions worked out well. There is something sweet and cocooning in the pose that makes me want to protect her. But I am not happy with the technique of this drawing. It is neither rough nor detailed. I decide to heighten the contrast and add some brown, also to hide the face with a curl of hair and add the shape of the bed:

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This got a little more interesting. But I decided to explore my initial idea with black and white ink and not worry about the paper getting slightly wobbly:

A1 carton paper, black and white Windsor and Newton ink:

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I think the atmosphere of the drawing is much better captured in ink. It is drawn rather roughly, not detailed which also works well with the paper and the subject.

I decide to try the second pose and be braver, drawing even less carefully.  I look at Tina Berning’s drawings of  “girls on cheap paper”  and am trying for a more “modern” look.

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I am much more happy with this drawing. I think the more rough markmaking in ink fits the paper  and the subject. I like how it is clearly made up of blocks of tone. The proportions are not perfect , but the atmosphere and pose are strong. It is not a seductive nude, it is a personal moment witnessed and has a lot of potential stories behind it.


 

A PORTRAIT OR SELF- PORTRAIT combining line and tone

Giacometti and colour

I loved exploring Alberto Giacomettis portraits for the research section and decided to try drawing inspired by them, following lines over and over again. The idea came when I saw my own reflection in the kitchen window on a dark night and as all the details fell away, I clearly saw the patterns of lines that looked like a Giacometti drawing.

IMG_8015First trials in the sketchbook, then I immediately switched to A1 with enthusiasm:

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I really like how the kitchen turned out, but I am not so happy with the figure here. And I really need to take off those headphones.

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I like this last one closer up the best (Conte sticks on A1):

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It really looks like me, and at the same time I believe you recognize that it is aiming at Giacometti’s style. I had so much fun drawing this!

In the sketchbook section, I played around at drawing inspired by Egon Schiele :

And now I have this idea to develop a portrait with the lines of Giacometti but the colours of Schiele.

First attempt with colored pencils on black paper A4:

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I quite like this as a portrait in crazy colours, but it has lost the initial idea. I am confused by the description of the Assignment brief saying that the face needs to be in believable proportions and not face front. I guess this takes away all likeness to Giacometti already as his faces are facing front and elongated…

Second attempt with oil pastels on black A4:

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Lets try this elongated but still inclined:

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I switch back to colored pencils A1 :

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Next attempt, A1 coloured pencils again:

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Terribly serious despite the colours and too small on the page.

Final attempt in oil pastels on A1- with more wild lines and the long thin neck of Giacometti, while the head is still tilted.
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I am ready to give up this idea , and approach the portrait from a new angle, but it was a lot of fun on the way.  I will leave these pictures here here on the log as a curious detour…

I decide to focus on colour patches again instead. Here are some trials in sketchbook:

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on a brown paper bag that feels like skin:

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This page with mostly “normal” colours feels best (A4):

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I decide to develop that on A3 with more normal proportions for the features:

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This is just a little too boring, so I switch to a french newspaper background :

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SCRIBBLING

For exercise 3 ” a portrait from memory or the imagination”, I drew this “scribbly” portrait in orange Uniball pen in my A4 sketchbook.

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I really enjoyed this and want to explore this “scribbly” loose drawing style in various colours further .

I tried applying this to the drawing of a staircase and outdoor scene on newspaper for Assignment 3, which did not work out so well, so I am curious to explore it for the portrait instead.

Sketchbook pages:

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It is interesting to mix different colours, in similar tones or contrasting ones and just scribble several layers as I tried here above.

I decide to develop a portrait of my partner in mixed blue and green. I like that gentle colour combination on the white paper, the scribbles are readily visible and as a side note, these are his favourite colours that he wears all the time.

A3, Aquarell paper, blue and green Uniball pens:

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I am happy with the scribbles and the combination of blue and green, also the combination of finished/unfinished. I also captured the expression well and the contrast between his long feminine hair and soft lips with the other angular masculine traits of his face. The proportions are not great though. He had a very slight forward tilt that I did not handle well.

For the next round we tie the hair back in a ponytail:

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The proportions are off again. I have captured the expression well, but the features are not correct. I liked using all different marks to indicate the different textures.

I have to admit to myself, that I am still at a stage where the face has to be looking straight forward for me to fully handle the proportions of the features correctly. After all this experimenting I still like my little imagined orange fairy portrait the best, so I decide to draw this here again.

A3, Aquarell paper with pink and orange Uniball pens:

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I have really learned a lot this part of the course again and I have loved it. I still need a LOT more practice. I would like to continue practicing the human figure and especially the moving figure for the personal project of Part 5.

For the portrait- I jumped too quickly into trying all kinds of experiments instead of focusing on the basics. The features are still out of proportion and none of all the drawings is one I really want to send as THE assignment piece. This is a lesson too 🙂 I would have benefited from choosing one idea and developing it calmly to more perfection instead.

I have looked at a lot of artists for this chapter and have tried to imitate the style of some, which has been a lot of fun, and I learned so much.

There are two techniques I still have not found the time or space to explore- monoprinting and phototransfer, so I hope to try that out for the next chapter instead.

 

 

4.6.3 Portrait from memory or the imagination

For this exercise, I chose to draw a character from imagination. I am reading fairytales in Portuguese now to learn the language and enjoy imagining the characters. The children’s books are already illustrated, but with very romantisized classical drawings and I chose to draw a very different version that I believe fits the character.

This is the fairy Oriana- she is naughty and not very fairy like at all, with a scruffy look and messy hair, so I draw her scribbly and messy, A4 in sketchbook:

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I am strangely happy with this little portrait. Although this was not really intended, I can clearly see my daughters younger face in it, and also the messy fairy Oriana. I think the expression is serious but not unfriendly, she is sincere but naughty.