Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back to the portraits

After a very fallow Christmas and New Year period when I found it really difficult to engage with art at all, I was dreading the the first portrait class of the year. I was fearful that any gains I may have made in the first term would have been washed away by the festive miasma. In fact it wasn't quite as bad and I did appear to have retained some of the lessons learnt, although there was the usual pain and anguish before producing one half decent drawing:
This was actually a half way reasonable likeness although I was in the end dispirited by the fact that my charcoal drawings are starting to all look the same. I apply the same techniques, go through the same tortuous process and end up with a very similar looking picture. So I want to address the question of how to get a fresher look, something a little more risky perhaps: less formulaic. I intend to broach this with James and perhaps try some other media as well.

In the meantime, I was motivated to try some more portraits at home and saw a display of Lee Jeffries fine portraits of homeless men and woman. I have since started to do charcoal sketches of one of these a day. So far it seems to be a useful exercise. Each of his characters are full of rich and quirky detail (he also jacks up the contrast which helps). Here are the first three:

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