I have become captivated by this image of Audrey Hepburn. Her class, and humanity seem to shine through. I’m also very interested in the fact that these two drawings I did, very quickly, live in class on the overhead, both seem to capture her personality whereas, the official version I did in the studio (in the next post) has completely missed her personality. I think there is a bit of a message in that.
This image of actress Helen Menken was done for my drawing class. Because the students in the class are progressing so quickly we now take accuracy for granted and are working on expressing the feeling of the portrait. This particular image speaks to me of quiet contemplation. I’m also experimenting more with a cross hatching approach rather than my normal method of smudging the graphite for shading. I started trying this in order to speed up the process and am finding now that I really enjoy the more direct nature of cross hatching.
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at Eleanor Lowden Pidgeon’s DVD and her bold use of colour. The sun hitting the hedge in our front yard seemed tailor made for a bold use of colour as the sun sparkled in the yellows and reds of the hedge. I like the feel as if someone has just been sitting in the chair and has briefly left the frame.
This image was a true pleasure to do. I wanted to try drawing on a toned background and letting the toned background be the mid values so I only needed to add the dark values and then the white highlights. It was done on a pastel paper with a pronounced circular texture. The entire drawing tool only about 45 minutes 30 of which were for the drawing. The shading was fast and easy and when I added the white charcoal it just came to life. I was literally blown away by this process and will definitely be trying this again.
Our second portrait was of Don Knots from his days on the Andy Griffiths show. I was very surprised that some of the younger people even knew him, though he also was on some more modern shows like Three’s Company. Anyway, for this portrait I enjoyed the surface used which was matt board. There is a very definite texture which allows some of the white board to show through. I used a different shading style just because I didn’t have the time to do my usual smoother smudging technique. I’ve used a cross hatching style which was much faster to do. It’s a little more muscular than smudging. These two approaches to shading with graphite are very different but each is equally effective, it’s all about finding which approach you enjoy more or perhaps it’s best to know both so you can use the most appropriate one for the particular drawing you are doing.