A couple of weeks late with this one, what with moving blog and all. Anyway, another month, another 3 hour session at WASPS Dalry. A peculiar warren of a place, almost TARDIS-like in its bigger-on-the-insideyness, every time I go there I can't help but drift into a daydream of having a studio space of my own (along with some vague but reliable steady source of income, but never mind that). But enough fantasy! Stark reality calls!
The session was a good one, with a splendid male model able to hold some absolutely cracking 2 minute poses that must've had his muscles screeching, which hopefully you can pick up from these pieces. To shake myself up, and stop myself from doing the usual pile-on-the-shading that I can be so guilty of, I did the quick poses with brush and black ink. It's a somewhat terrifying way to work, in that (unlike, say, charcoal, pencil, even paint) once a mark is on the paper there is NO way of getting it back. The flipside is that those black brushstrokes have an immediacy to them, wonderfully stark against a white background – a little goes an awfully long way.
The ink paintings were hugely satisfying, even if a couple were pretty awful – it's an unforgiving medium, with no way of undoing a mistake once it's on the paper. But that very un-undoableness makes it all the more satisfying when it does work well, giving the piece a real sense of stark drama and permanence. It seems to be a better fit for short poses, as though the lack of time stops me from over-thinking or over-working the piece.
My work with longer poses was a mixed bag, painting with acrylics for the first time since the last century. The first became a muddy quagmire of greys, but the second found its way, using contrast to create something heavy, almost brutish.
The long pose painting I can't really make my mind up on – the figure itself is okay, proportions fine, and I really like the strong yellow light on the side of the body. But does it all come together as a painting? Not sure. Maybe a little colour study beforehand to suss out what to do with the colour and contrast would have helped – as it was, there was no real advance planning, I just went at it.
Still, it was a really satisfying session with enough pieces I was happy with to feel worthwhile, with a few of the faster ones now up for sale. Next time, in my ongoing campaign to stay in the discomfort zone… ooh, watercolours?
This session's soundtrack – nothing for the quick poses, then Untrue and the Kindred EP by Burial for the longer poses. Wonderfully dense, deep, cinematic music that you can lose yourself in, the many layers coming through a treat on decent headphones.