Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Street Sketches

montage - figures between 5-16cm high

We live in a flat above an office, about fifteen feet up, and an angled window bay looks up the street. I often stand or sit there and draw people as they walk past. A lot of the sketches simply don’t work out, but these are some of the more successful ones. (Best viewed if you click the picture above – you’ll get a much, much bigger version).

I use whatever medium comes to hand. It just so happens that I have the watercolour gear up at the window just now and am trying to improve my technique with oriental brushes. These are great for drawing because you can go from a very fine mark to a great splodge in one stroke. The mass of hair holds a huge amount of paint, and you don’t have to keep replenishing the brush every few seconds.

The observable period of the passers-by is usually about 60 - 45 seconds, during which they will have changed aspect. Then you have a little bit of ‘memory time’ before forgetting things and inventing. I have the full palette of watercolour available, but it’s fastest to paint in monochrome - normally Payne’s Grey or Sepia - and if need be, write colour notes afterwards. The paper is ordinary A4 computer paper, and wrinkles very easily when wet, but it’s very cheap and convenient for these exercises. The paint quality, though, IS important, as lesser paints fade and pale disappointingly when dry, and the denser artist’s stuff always goes so much further.

I don’t know who any of these folk are, except one. I’m glad to say that Madam recognized herself as the figure in the bottom right corner.

(Coat, trousers, shoes – black. Scarf – red)

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