This is another big drawing where the ink washes have not worked as smoothly as I’d hoped. They are impossible to get even on this kind of paper. I’d hoped that with the additional pencil work layered on top they’d disappear or become less visible. In reality they do not look as strong as in the photograph but are still too dominant against the coloured pencil.
I am going to experiment further with some different watercolour papers – Arches Aquarelle, Saunders Waterford and Fabriano Artistico – all hot pressed and at 300gsm weights. Hopefully one of these will work better. So far the best paper I’ve found for this technique is wall lining paper from Wickes but the rolls are not wide enough and I worry about their long term stability.
This is my first attempt at a finished portrait. Others have just been quick sketches from life drawing classes or with family.
I have no painting materials here with the lockdown. The oils, acrylics and brushes are all in Suffolk, so I’m reduced to what I have – ink with coloured pencils and a large roll of Wickes wallpapering paper.
Somehow these restrictions take the preciousness out of making art. The ‘make do’ nature of materials and production are liberating as it is okay not to be perfect.
Working for a long time on one drawing is revelatory. As you make progress you keep discovering things that are wrong with it and not properly resolved. In the time between waking and sleeping the whole perception of the image can change. It is like the well worn phrase about learning – the more you learn the more you realise how little you know – and it’s the same with drawing.
Below is a gallery snap-shot of the images prepared earlier and more recently to help make the finished drawing.
The trouble with attempts at self-portraits is that I am always concentrating hard on making the images rather than on my modelling. This tension I’m beginning to now unflatteringly capture in my images. If only I could learn to relax and smile as I pose!
Another unique life drawing day at the Royal Drawing School.