Drawing Faces

The Sunday Drawing Club that I conduct at Heart Space Studios, continues to surprise and fascinate me..this week 2 old and trusted classes in totally different ways of drawing portraits  – with  difference. In the morning we began by using make -up to draw with, so no long sampling sessions to get the skin colours, but a real battle to manipulate the media.

We started with self portraits….the difficulty for most women who are attuned to wearing make up is that they draw what they want to see, as if they are applying make up to the page for the same reasons they apply it to their own faces – to enhance themselves instead of using it as another drawing media.

Mike did not have this problem but found the blending particularly difficult as modulating make-up on paper is surprisingly hard, some of the foundation lotions are really greasy and do not blend happily with one another .

The slow build up of the subtle colours, above, was interesting to watch because eventually the tacit knowledge of applying make- up for years results in carefully modulated tonal drawings. But eventually  gestural drawings developed as people started to realise the potential of media. the drawing below has been made without using the techniques to apply  of make- up.

Everyone started drawing only using their fingers….

The next stage is to sketch in the eye brows and mouth using appropriate coloured make up…eyes brow pencils and lipsticks

So now to draw other people….

the group split into couples or threesomes…and took turns at drawing one another – this is so much harder and much patience and ingenuity is needed to be a good sitter and drawer both at the same time.

The gradual build up and refinement of the drawings was developed slowly when the students were “allowed” the use of more conventional media…I am a strict mistress when I teach drawing.

The necessary degree of concentration for this way of working  shows in both drawing and model above, but  also look at the mouth. I had talked about how Hans Holbein completely captured the character of his sitters by drawing very precisely the line of the shut mouth…this example is well observed.

But for some unfathomable reason all the people who drew bespectacled partners omitted the glasses from their drawings!

The in the afternoon session, something completely different,  I started everyone stitching the eyeball but no drawing allowed only stitch – I am even stricter when I teach stitching.

The complete change of media and type of drawing really achieved some remarkable results, slow but immensely concentrated studies resulted from the short session. Often stitching is a release for people who imagine they cannot draw, no-one ever has high expectations for the outcome of this exercise.

Not all the people who come to the group are stitchers, so it was fascinating to see how they tackled another unusual drawing media.

At the end of the day we had made a good start on the stitched work and several people vowed to finish them, I will post them later if they do. But I am interested in the variety of stitches applied to this exercise and I feel that some of the group could develop their own work using stitch – but I would think that wouldn’t I? In fact I would like to have another class that involved both of the day’s exercises on one portrait…maybe later in the year.

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