In a bid to add a bit of variety to my paintings and move on from the usual landscapes, I've been to a number of portrait and life drawing classes over the last year. I've spent many an evening sat in front of a model trying to get their limbs and features in the right place which is not as easy as it sounds. The nature of these classes has meant I've come away with very few finished pieces to share with you but I have learned a lot.
When I joined Farnham Art Society and read through the program of events, "the Figure in Dance" caught my eye and I put my name down for this workshop with Jamel Akib. We worked from photographs with a focus on bringing movement into the picture, something I don't do at all with a life model for obvious reasons. After a couple of warm up sketches we moved onto our first picture. The aim here was to use the background to help introduce that movement before we had even started on the figure herself. As my other teachers will tell you, backgrounds are often a bit of an afterthought. I may add a chair leg to stop my model from floating in mid air but I rarely give it much more thought than that so this was a very useful exercise. The background here is done using acrylics with the figure then added in pastel.
In the afternoon, some of my fellow artists moved onto pictures of birds in flight with some amazing results. I was enjoying the dancers though so decided to stick with that theme. I love the shapes that they make and I was particularly taken by the photo of these two where the lighting made it hard to tell where the dancer ends and the background starts. I decided to give it a shot for my second painting. I used acrylic and pastel again. I didn't manage to finish this one during the workshop but took it home and continued working on it. I'm pleased with the end result as both pictures are quite different from anything I've done before. I think the first one is my favourite. I came away from the workshop with hundreds of ideas so watch this space. I would like to say a big thank you to Jamel and to Farnham Art Society for organising a thoroughly enjoyable day.