Life drawing 8 November 2016

I’d ummed and ahhed about going life drawing this week, not keen on the prospect of cycling home in snow (forecast but never appeared). But it was a fortnight since the last time and I knew staying at home would just have led to spending all evening on Twitter fretting about the US election. So off I went.

Good thing too! Turned out there’s only one more session of All The Young Nudes in Dundee – then that’s it until 2017. So if you’re anywhere near, next week is your last chance for a fair few weeks. Alas, I’ll be otherwise occupied next Tuesday, apron-clad and cake-baking.

This week I packed pastels, paste paper and assorted pencils, as Operation Colour Work continued from last time’s watercolour floundering. It started pretty well, using terracotta Conté on lightly toned A5 pastel paper for a trio of 5 minute poses.Wish I’d worked a bit faster though, and using white for highlights was a mistake with the paper too light for it to count.

5 mins, Conté pastel
5 mins, Conté pastel
5 mins, Conté pastel
5 mins, Conté pastel
5 mins, Conté pastel
5 mins, Conté pastel

With longer poses I moved onto A4 sheets and colour pastels, starting with a pretty simple two colour study…

15 mins, soft pastel
15 mins, soft pastel

After which I had a go at doing a (relatively) full colour piece for the 30 minute pose. I soon found myself stumped trying to determine what colours I could see, particularly the shadows. When I’ve produced colour work from figure drawing in the past, the model has usually been very brightly lit, often with natural light. The subterranean club environment of somewhere like the Redd Suite is a different kettle of fish altogether, and although I’m able to factor that in when working in monochrome, working out which pastel to pick really threw me. Still, it’s been a goddamn age since I’ve even used soft pastels, so that lack of familiarity is probably a far greater culprit than the lighting (which is fine really, just different from past experience). Really messed up the face too, so some practice needed on that.

30 mins, soft pastel
30 mins, soft pastel

I cheated a bit with the next piece, switching back to just two colours. Worked nicely though, I’ll probably put this one up for sale soon.

20 mins, soft pastel
20 mins, soft pastel

So that’s potentially it for naked scribblings until the new year, unless perhaps I wangle an afternoon in Edinburgh and swing by my old haunt in Dalry (although a day return from Cupar ain’t cheap). I’m already looking forward to returning to All The Young Nudes in Dundee next year, wherever they end up (hopefully within a 15 minute walk of the train station). In the meantime, I’ll try to commit myself to producing some kind of figure work on Tuesday evenings – whether it’ll be anything worth sharing here or not, we’ll have to see. I’m particularly excised by my failure to accurately draw female faces & heads just now, so Loomis’ Drawing The Head And Hands seems like a good place to start if I want to get myself in better shape for next year.

Choons! Herobawz was on top form with an exceptional playlist, even by usual standards. There was a definite Trainspotting theme with a sizable chunk of the soundtrack, no doubt inspired by the T2 trailer, with Blur’s wall-of-jangle Sing a highlight, though my favourite version remains the roaring live set closer broadcast on Radio 1 back in 1997 – I’ve dreamed of hearing it since my tape of it vanished into history and, saints be praised, it’s on YouTube! GET ON IT!

I’d forgotten how sodding good the Chemical Brothers/Hope Sandoval collaboration Asleep From Day is – time to dig that beauty out. I also loved hearing the pounding sass of Janet Jackson’s What Have You Done For Me Lately thumping through the room (why did I never realise what a stomper it is until now?), Morrissey’s dreamy Suedehead (forever tied to the memory of Now That’s What I Call Music Vol 11) and a beautiful Icelandic hymn that lifted the Redd suite to the icy heavens. Here it is, performed in an Icelandic train station.