Reclining figure study using tone (Pastel ground, acrylic paint, Conté crayon)
I continued with my model, now finding a reclining pose. Reclining means: to lean or lie back with the upper part of your body in a nearly horizontal position. (Cambridge Dictionary Online – see here).
After the sitting pose my model felt tired and therefore chose this pose. So I think even laying down horizontally on your belly is a reclining pose.
Doing some sketches from different viewpoints:
Emotions & key words: tired, heavy, have a break
My emotions: sensitive, empathy
With that in mind I continued with sketches – adding colour to depict a warmer atmosphere.
With those sketches and some photographs I continued to contextualize the pose and colour usage.
With a limited colour pallete in mind I looked at the works of Michael Borremans. One work actually depicting in close up view the similar pose I sketched before. Another work I’ve found from Lucian Freud is showing as well a similar pose (with a second figure attached)
I looked further at works from Jenny Saville or her usage of colour against a rather black/white background. And another one that came already across my visual research on figure drawing is Guy Denning and his usage of Conté crayon in limited and tonal approach with some indicative line marks.
With a rather clear idea in my mind I did some larger scale sketches on A3. Testing pastel ground (colored), as my initial testing on this from previous project (see my post) was a bit shaky due to very rough texture.
I felt ready for my drawing, starting with preparation of my support paper (A1 – 300 g/sqm hot press paper).
I already indicated with a darker tone the space around the yoga mat my model was lying on. This leaning on the idea of Michael Borremans work with a rather flat surrounding space (Available from: http://www.zeno-x.com/artists/MB/michael_borremans.html)
With this settled I started with my tonal drawing of the figure, building with black, white and a light yellow and a blue the forms to create a three dimensional perception. I was careful to pay intense attention to the face. And rather keeping the lower part of the body (legs) rather indicative and expressive (inspired by Guy Denning). I had to adjust during the process several proportional errors (foreshortening effect), with wide swaps of white crayon and modulating further with the other colored crayons. At the end I think I made the proportions and relationships of the forms as observed.
I also worked in parallel in the negative space (mat) and carefully shaped the form and visual depth of the hair. As the light source was coming from top front (through the window shadow marks are on the left side of the body. By that I kept weight, and partly deepened it to enforce the idea of my heavy tired model.
Overall I am pleased with the process of finding the pose and contextualizing it
- Through my contextual studies I found that my chosen pose is a kind of popular pose (so not quite inventive). Nevertheless I kept it as I felt it depicted the mood of my model.
- Through scaling up test I was able to master better pastel ground preparation in the context of the composition (taken my learnings from previous exercises).
- Using a fine structured support made it easier to fix Conté crayon to the surface. Even using a fixative didn’t have the bad effect of destroying tone.
- Using partly line markings (legs, hair) made the drawing for me more interesting.
– Finding a more inventive pose (learning from my contextual study). However there is a certain limit on how much I could stretch my model.