Life Drawing

Following last week’s post about the arts and craft TV programmes I’ve been addicted to over the last few weeks, I convinced the family to take part in ‘Life Drawing Live‘ on BBC4.  It was the second one in, what appears to be, an elongated series and I hadn’t seen the first one, but I didn’t think that would matter too much.  I have only really done life drawing once before at school, I think it was for A-level in Sixth Form, but it was a very long time ago and I could be wrong there.

Anyhow, it was a two hour programme where we had the tv on as well as a laptop, as we could see the model on the laptop and hence, take part in the drawing challenges.

I can’t believe how quickly the two hours went.  There was a series of tasks, starting with short timescales and gradually getting longer, while the model changed pose for each task based on a well known painting from the past.

I am by no means a particularly good sketcher and people have never been my strong point, but it was good to have a try, although being very self-critical, there are many many issues with the form, perspective and sizing!

So here are my first few sketches.

These were different poses and the task was the sketch them in a very short time, from left to right – 30 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute.  So not very much time to get anything on the page really!  I can just about tell they are people I think.

The next one was a reclining pose supposed to be on a chaise longue.  I think we had  about five minutes to do this one, and I was doing alright until my daughter knocked her drink all over the lounge carpet in the middle of this one, so this is the result of about two minutes sketching.

We were encouraged to switch from charcoal (I’d been using a 2B pencil) to a red crayon for this next pose.  Again I’m happy with the shape of the head and the right arm  but I was really struggling with the proportions.  Fun to use something other than a pencil though.

The next pose was a lady with a cello.  Back to pencil here and I think this was about 8 minutes or so.  I quite enjoyed this pose although she looks like a strange sort of bodybuilder and she really wasn’t!

The Narcissus pose is possibly my favourite of all the drawings I did and arguably my most successful.  I was hoping to get to add his reflection into the water but didn’t quite get around to it in the ten minutes.  However, I think the proportions here are much more realistic than on any other.  

The final pose was one depicting Liberty. The lady had had a mastectomy and was very courageous in both her pose and what she had been through.  She wasn’t as bony around her shoulders as she looks  but I have a little more perspective with the stance then I have in other sketches. I didn’t really do her justice, but it was a reasonable effort in the nineteen minutes we had.

It was a great way to spend the evening, even if my results weren’t all that impressive.  I think I can see some elements of improvement over the course of the class and it was interesting to pick up some tips from the artists on the screen as well as seeing attempts by other people at home.

I was very aware of how long it has been since I picked up some pencils to do some drawing and I was feeling very rusty.  But the drawing pencils I have felt lovely to use again and I feel I really should do some more.  So I’m hoping this irregular series does have another episode in the not too distant future.

Maybe I will get around to having a go at drawing one of my cats one day.

Stay safe and happy crafting

x

 

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Lockdown arts and crafts

I have been thrilled to see a shift in the content of TV over the last few weeks.  I love TV at the best of times, but to see so much art, crafts and hobbies shown in the schedules has been a real tonic for me.  There has never been a better time to get into a creative hobby of some kind (in my opinion).  So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the programmes I’ve been watching / taking part in.

I was absolutley thrilled to see that BBC4 started re-showing some old ‘Joy of Painting‘ with Bob Ross.  I used to love this programme when I was younger and remember it being on around lunchtime I think.  It is such a soothing half hour and what’s amazing is that he paints an entire picture in that time too.  So, having introduced my husband and daughter to the joy of Bob Ross, I decided we should have a go at producing an artwork alongside the programme.  I have now done a few, of varying success and with different media, as yet I haven’t ventured into oil paints, as I don’t have all the necessary equipment and materials available.

Anyway, here are some of my attempts so far.

First we have some oil pastel –  a mountain scene with water foreground.  It looks a bit prehistoric to me!

Next I tried water-colour pencils for a beach scene.  I like the sky although it is more like a pink tornado approaching than some wispy pink tinged clouds.

I thought I’d give my drawings pens a try next and I think the sky turned out quite well here.  It is supposed to be waves crashing onto the beach, but I’m not too sure the wave quite worked out.

I used to love drawing with a 2B pencil, so I returned to my A-level 2B pencil for this mountain and hillside with stream.  This looks much more realistic when loked at from a distance (or a small copy).

And another go with the B set of pencils which I liked until I got the perspective on the hut completely wrong!  Ah well, more practice needed.

I haven’t really drawn anything since leaving Uni back in 1994, so I was quite pleased with how some of these have turned out.  And I did only use the thirty minutes of each programme to do them.  It’s amazing how relaxing it is to do and I aim to do some more maybe of things in my own garden over the rest of this year.

A few weeks ago now, there was a daily episode of Kirstie Allsopp doing crafts at home using items she has in the house (Keep crafting and carry on).  I loved this hour long craft session and spent a lot of it catching up with some of my own works in progress.  It was a real shame it only lasted for a couple of weeks as I would love to have a go at several of the projects she showed us.  I was particularly impressed with the tin can animals and the letters for her son’s bedroom.  But so far, the time has run out on me and I haven’t got around to anything from it yet.  I did make some little birds though to put on some gift cards for us to use.

Also adding to my crafty/arty weekday TV is Grayson Perry’s Art Club.  Another Channel 4 production and a very different type of crafting.  It started with a real feel of everyone taking part being a professional artist, but seems to have begun to include more amateurs in the mix.  I am loving the stories about Alan Measles, Grayson’s teddy and how he is being used as a saviour for humanity amidst the pandemic.  It’s also interesting to see the processes used in producing a piece of artwork.  I was particularly intrigued with the sketching of his wife for her eventual portrait on a plate.   This, then followed by his ‘animals’ theme and I am inspired to try to sketch one of the cats – if they ever stay still long enough for me to try or at least take a photo!

Now we have Sewing Bee and Gardener’s World on TV as well, I am well covered in the TV schedules, I just wish I had more time to be able to do all of the things I would like to.

I’d love to know of any other programmes I could tune in to, so if you know of any more do let me know.

In the meantime

Stay safe and happy crafting

x

 

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Garden joy

Over the last few weeks, I have been spending lots more time in my garden.  We saved up a couple of years ago and last year had the garden re-landscaped to a design of mine.  It had been devastating over the last few years as the amount of rain increased and the time taken for the water to drain increased with it.  At some points I think we were flooded for several months at a time.  We even had a regular heron visitor, but the icing on the cake was when we had a pair of mallard ducks swimming around where the lawn had once been!

We took the decision to do something which had to include some drainage solution and I put together a few sketches of ideas we could work with.  It was certainly a big plan and one we couldn’t have done ourselves, but our landscaper was fantastic and he was able to do all the drainage works and (with a few modifications) put my sketches into place.

The garden has now been put into zones.  We have a patio (using stones from the original garden), a border, a wildlife area and a grassy arbour with seat (daughter’s zone).  And I love it.  It’s such a great space to be and somewhere I’m thrilled I have in the current times.

We reused as much as we possibly could from the garden -well what had managed to survive the constant waterlogging anyway and it’s been great since to see what is popping up around the place.  Some of the offcuts from the sleepers used to raise the zones were used to make a seat and a little raised bed which we planted with strawberries and they are doing fantastically this year – we planted the runners from the original plants and they are obviously happy.

Equally happy are the cats.  This is Lily enjoying the sleepers, we often find her hiding under the plants or rolling about on the lawn, which is also doing well now we have better drainage.

My wildlife pond looks good too.  I’m amazed how much life there is in it considering it’s only been there for a year.  We have found several frogs and newts too, as well as lots of little bug life – pond skaters, water boatmen and whirly-gig beetles are a regular sight.

I have taken the time to plant some seeds this year too.  We have a patio up by the house and the rest of the garden is down a few steps and as we face south it is a fabulous sun trap.  So I have decided to see what comes up from several old packets of seeds from the garage.  I love poppies and I was pleased to see this little beauty pop up in a trough of seeds for the bees – although not much else seems to be joining it at the moment.

Before we ended up in lockdown, I bought some seeds from Aldi which had several different vegetables and herbs in.  I only planted these broad beans about a week ago and they are already showing their faces.

I am so pleased with the way everything is growing so well this Spring.  And I hope I will see some more flowers soon as well as the blossom on the trees.  Fingers crossed we also get some rain to add to all the sunshine as I could do with a few days indoors catching up with all my indoor projects too!

Stay safe and happy crafting

x

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