Life Drawing Classes

November ’16 class

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January ’17 class

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Life drawing class has been a challenge for me.  Since the October class I have been wrestling with the idea of who I am as a painter, how I want to paint, what I want to achieve.  I want to explore finding my own style rather than continuing to paint habitually and breaking this habit is proving to be really challenging.

I have attempted to use thin washes of paint as I have seen many of the artists I have researched using, however I have not found a way yet to utilise this method effectively.  The nearest I have come to a ‘breakthrough’ in finding a new way for me to work was inspired by the paintings of Marlene Dumas.  My tutor pointed out the subtle way in which Dumas adds colour and detail to areas that the eye is drawn to – the face is the primary object of the viewers attention and she uses different methods to ensure that we are guided around her canvas in the way she wants. She uses background colour just around the face to draw the eye to there as well as pattern on clothing to the same effect.  She also has more detail in the face than the rest of the painting.  All techniques I could now start to consider when I am painting.  She also utilised different drawing styles within her work.  The face was most detailed, then the mid-portion next so but done in more of a drawing way, more fluid, less specific.


This painting was my response to the way Dumas paints.  It was a 30 minute painting and I have used my charcoal drawing as the structure to underpin the painting.  I have also added most detail to the face and become more fluid as I have painted further down the body.  Initially the painting was done in monochrome but my tutor encouraged me to add some subtle colours which has brought the face out further.  This is a way of working that I intend to continue exploring as I believe it can take me away from my habit and onto something new.

Key things to remember:-

Subtle use of colour

starting with monochrome and then adding colour worked well for me

keep switching between drawing and painting – I don’t have to stop drawing just because I have started using paint

consider the area of focus and make sure that has the strongest colours, the most powerful detail

Make sure parts of the body that are further away have more muted colour and are less detailed.







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