Project Two: Life Drawing

I have never attempted to draw or paint people before, so this term’s art classes have been really challenging. I thought you may be interested to see the various stages involved in particular projects. Even if I fear that the end products may not be particularly great, it has been an interesting journey…

Click on any of them for a bigger picture..

Firstly some ‘rapid draw’ efforts to start , each was around 20- 30 minutes and very much ‘speed drawn’

Firstly the guy next to me in the class. This is done in charcoal and white chalk on sugar paper. Then a less than flattering picture of another student who I am surprised didn’t hit me as the picture is way too ‘wide’ to say the least. Here the drawing started as white chalk on a shaded charcoal background, attempting to draw the light as opposed to the outline

.IMG_1755 IMG_1756

The following week we moved into colour with six studies of our model, all done in one long session, again about 20 minutes each picture. Charcoal and chalk on sugar paper. Each is about 25 inches by 15 A couple of them I am quite happy with, but I’ll leave you to guess which.



.. actually it’s 4 and 6. A really productive session. The next stage was to work some ideas into a full oil painting with the theme of movement. The instruction being to focus on shape rather than detail.

The following week saw an early stage painting with oils on an acrylic background on oil painting paper. This incorporated three of the images from the previous session – so painting from a drawing. I was trying to get the basic shapes down by painting rather than drawing with a pencil and then painting, which is my normal approach for watercolours. It’s quite liberating – obviously you can’t rub out shapes, but the oil can be moved around more than watercolours or acrylics.


The next week I decided to get a proper canvas – i.e. stretched across a wooden frame. This was a bugger to get to the class on the number 14 bus, but it got there just about unscathed.

This second painting is now halfway there, the basic shapes – four poses combined  – work OK, although it looks more like she is at a rave than a Degas ballet dancer. Some issues with body shapes particularly legs which I will attempt to correct in next week’s lesson, the final of the term.

Draft 3

I also revisited the painting from last week and sharpened up the background and used it as an opportunity to reshape some of the forms.

So tomorrow is the last session of the term, where I have three hours to finish off both paintings, but if time presses, then the square canvas will be the priority. If there is no further blog following this you will know they have gone horribly wrong….

Draft 2


One thought on “Project Two: Life Drawing

  1. Almost a Degas! Well done, I think you start to undestand why painters usually do sketches first! The girls look very Spanish dancers to me. All the best

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