23 July 2007


Arches HP 300gsm 14" x 10". 2 hours.

i met stefanie at the weekly figure drawing group in sebastopol, and after a month or two i called her to sit for me. although she is a fine figure model i found i was more interested in doing portraits with her. she is german, grew up on a farm, and has a genial personality and very clear outlines. her eyes really are a striking clear blue.

the charcoal drawing was done from life, and the watercolor added that evening, painting in our kitchen. the hot press paper holds the line and accentuates pigment textures. i did three portrait sketches of her in all, but only this one was an agreeable painting.

Strathmore drawing, 9" x 12". ~15 minutes.

i will describe how i work with models in later postings. but i like to start sessions by drawing hands. i don't find much use for the two minute "warm up" poses, because i draw in outline; but asking the model to hold long poses at the start is physically straining. hands are easy to pose and hard to draw. the artist can look at them very intimately without discomfiting the model, and the model can watch how the artist looks. hands are a way to reconnect and establish mutual space for later work.

hands are also the crown jewels of figure painting: it's very hard to be "good enough" at drawing the hands. it's amazing how many competent figure painters saddle their work with hands that frankenstein couldn't use. in his meaty book "the nude", kenneth clark says that the face is the keynote of a figure nude ... i think the hands play an equally important role.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Yep, hands can make or break, and have made and broken so many. Someone suggested Whistler didn't finish the hands on the White Girl because he knew he couldn't equal the rest of the picture...better to quit while you're ahead I suppose. The hands in the Maestro's The Misses Vickers and the Pailleron Children write the book for me.
I like this drawing very much - a big hand for the little lady!