09.30 – 12.30 One session
Today’s session was one sitting and concentrating on attitude and gesture, this time of dejection, depression and generally down on your luck. Usually we wouldn’t have a lot of time to sketch first, however, Chris got into pose and character early, almost unnoticed. He was raised up on a chair on a low table, so was a little higher than my eye level, I made a quick compositional sketch and worked out where I wanted to place the figure and how much I wanted to include.
Starting as usual on an acrylic ground, this time of raw umber, yellow ochre and white mix. I blocked out the figure and the general attitude of position in dilute raw umber, adding darks and mid tones. Once happy with the position I began to add flesh colours and tones of his clothes. Chris wore a baggy shirt that he seemed to have shrunk into with torn jeans. It was important to create the background in a way that emphasised the down and out character, Mike suggested that vertical brush strokes can evoke that atmosphere, and that using a dark colour at the top and lightening it towards the bottom can also assist. I decided to use exaggerated dark on the left of the figure and run dilute paint down from the top right. This gave the feeling I was after, symbolising a downward direction and maybe even tears. All colours were kept sombre. I was particularly drawn to Chris’ hands, they were hanging in complete submission and were a little gnarled suggesting that they had worked hard all his life to no avail. I was hoping to make more of them, however, in retrospect, the unfinished effect made the face the focal point.