Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sketchbook - women's heads

While I spend a great deal of time painting or working with encaustics, I also enjoy drawing and sketching. 

Since I started out painting before learning how to draw, I find it challenging but rewarding and I'm still a rank beginner at drawing.  But sometimes it works and I've been happy with some of my pieces.
Lately I've been doing more women's heads, some perhaps for the Victorian women series in my encaustic

work, but some I'm trying to do as contemporary women.  I use photos as references since I've never been to a class where they have live models for figure studies.  Classes have been held  here occasionally but they never worked out for me.
I've been using some of Julia Margaret Cameron's black and white photos since she focuses on Victorian women.  She was one of the first serious female photographers in England and spent hours on her compositions, developing her photos at first in a chicken coop.
I like the way she poses the women's heads and takes photos from different angles.  They're more interesting than just full on front poses with the subject looking at the viewer.  Her women are often pensive or even melancholy.  Because her models were people she knew, they translate well to a contemporary look when not sketched in costume or the clothing of the turn of the century and with their hair down and natural.
Some I've done in charcoal and some in pencil.  She uses a lot of shading and high light and dark contrast. .  I chose to play it down in case I want to use any of the sketches for transfer onto beeswax and I'll be drawing the women in either charcoal or conti crayon which comes out much darker than pencil. . 

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