This latest work is a new stretch for me. It's been quite awhile since I have done any life drawing. Normally, I don't have the human figure in any of my work, exceptions are the Buddha paintings and the Gnome with beets painting. This new work is for a local, annual, juried show I want to submit to called, Unclad. I went to see the show last year and the ideas started to brew! I knew if I did something for this competition it would have to be in a landscape and trees would have to be involved, of course. I had the perfect tree that I wanted to use. All I needed to do was find a way to get a nude figure in it as the central focus. The "unclad" figure is after all, the whole point of the exhibit.
The figures are from an artist's book of model poses that I used as a guide. I played around with different positions in my sketchbook and had several studies worked out to see which would be best suited.
I drew the outline for my tree with some guides for the forest trees and border area on larger paper. The outline of the figure I transferred to a piece of film so I could place it on the tree and move it around for the best placement. The little blobs are sticky putty to hold things in place.
When I had the composition worked out, I put a sheet of film over my drawings, then drew them in with light pencil marks. I only use a basic outline of my composition because I create the drawing as I go.
You can see where I started to create some of the trees and foliage.
The forest is further developed.
I'm still not sure at this point if this is going to work and am anxious about the figure so I started to work on the area around her head. Normally I like to work from the top left and work my way across and down. It's very easy to smudge the graphite with your arm. I always try to protect what I have done with having a barrier between my hand or arm and the work, I use a fold of soft cloth. You also want to protect the film from indentations or scratches. I had to be very careful since I was working in an area that would be in the path of my arm when I did the area above!
Here you can see further work on the forest and foliage. I've also started drawing the upper branches on the central tree. I do use my reference photo, I have it up on my computer screen. It is mostly a guide for light and shape. Much of it will be changed to form my visual idea. This is many, many hours of work and at this point, I'm happy to say, I decided that the figure appeared to be progressing in the right direction. I will continue on!
Thank you for taking the time to read about my work. I hope you will return to see the progress continued in the next post, coming soon.
**When using film, the product is Dura-lar Matte film by Grafix.