Life drawing with Orme Art

I had the great pleasure of spending the day drawing my friend Eve when she came and modelled for us at Newcastle Fire Station. One of the art groups I’m in, Orme Art group had booked he as a clothed model for the day.

Here are my attempts at drawing her. The red dress was really spectacular and hard to draw! I felt really out of practice but I felt like I was getting into it more as the day wore on.



This is some old flooring which may be tiled. I don’t think it’s actual parquet flooring which is a type of wood block flooring. Usually laid in a herringbone pattern. The floor is then buffed to a shiny finish. I saw this floor somewhere in the recent past, and it reminded me.

We had a floor like this at the gym at school, and then in the life drawing room at college. I remember painting and drawing many models there and trying to draw the floor pattern from lots of different directions. It made the pictures more interesting and once you got the hang of it quite easy to draw.

Anyway I was doing quite a bit of life drawing early last year but things got busy. But I’m going to try and go back. I also want to learn some new drawing techniques. I think they have parquet on the floor in the hall where they do life drawing. Things do come round full circle.


Portrait session

We had a lovely sitter tonight called Debbie McAndrew. She is an author and play write and also sometimes acts. She wrote a brilliant play called “dirty laundry” that was on last year . It was set in the past and was about the history of the potteries.

We had an entertaining session drawing her and discussing all sorts of things, including how she got into the theatre and acting and how the group got into drawing and painting.

I really enjoyed the session and think that I got some relatively accurate portraits from it.

I used pencil, charcoal pencil and black ink to do the drawings.  The sketches are in a small sketch book with good thickness cartridge paper.

I like drawing in these books. There is enough room to fit the drawings in, and they are small enough to hold so that it is not a struggle to hold the book. Other people were using A1 or A2 sheets to draw or paint on but I prefer the smaller size. About A5.

Anyway I shall just leave you to decide if you like them…


Tonight’s life drawing model was called Richard.

When I’m feeling out if sorts I like to go to life drawing. I can sit and draw without worrying whether the picture is saleable. I suppose I could frame up some of these but I don’t really want to.

I find nowadays that my eyesight isn’t as good so I look through my glasses at the model,  then over the top of them to see my sketch, half the time my glasses are slipping down my nose, which probably looks comical.

I tend to use a small sketch pad but if I go for a4 or bigger I use the back of a chair to rest it on. I used to use a donkey at college…a long thin stool you sit astride with a rest that pulls up which you can lean your sketch pad or drawing board on. the advantage of these is you can be seated without having to mess about propping things on a second chair.  If you use a large easle its generally easier to stand up, as the legs of the easle can get in your way if you sit. Drawing on a flat peice of paper means that when you lift it to the vertical the image stretches and ends up elongated, this does not look good when you are doing figure studies.

Anyway, going back to the class, I did 7 drawings tonight…they call me prolific!



Life drawing

I go to a life drawing class on a Wednesday night. Last night was hard work. I lost my eraser during my second drawing, it turned up in my pocket. Then I dropped my palette half way through the last pose and someone had to get it for me because I was sitting too close to my easel and couldn’t stand up without knocking over the person behind me.

I don’t know about anyone else but I had trouble with the proportions. On one drawing I made the model too wide and also made her hands too large on another one. I had taken a couple of little canvases with me so I spent an hour on a small painting. I made the mistake of drawing the figure out first in burnt sienna, when I came to add paler colours it showed through! I was trying to use zinc white to go over the lines, but ended up using titanium white to mask them. By the time I had sorted that out 20 minutes had gone and I only had 40 left so ended up with an unfinished painting.

The class is held in a little village hall out in the countryside. Most times when I drive home it is dark but the sun was just setting and the trees were beautifully  sillhouetted against the darkening sky. I wish I had taken my phone with me to get a picture of it, but it was at home getting charged up.

Sometimes things don’t go exactly as you want them to, last night was like that, not a disaster, just a bit frustrating. I should be painting now but I’m giving myself a rest.


Wednesday pen and ink studies

I did not have my soft pencils with me last night..I was drawing at the life study class I go to on Wednesday evenings.

So I used a fine knibbed ink pen instead. It made shading the figures more difficult, using more cross hatching than I would do usually.

I also had to solve the problem of sketching in a small, square, sketchbook because I could not find the one I usually draw in. So for the standing figure I turned the paper at an angle so that it fitted in across the diagonal of the paper.

I recently was given an old book of anatomy for figure drawing for student artists ( I will have to check the title)… the drawings look so old fashioned and precise.  I’m afraid my eyesight these days prevents me from being as accurate as I used to be, and sometimes I get the proportions of the figure wrong.

A case in point is a small painting I did of this model in acrylic on canvas. I decided to block in the colours first, because she was sitting on a vibrant red/pink cloth and there was a yellow carpet and floor, with strong diagonal staging behind her.

Unfortunately I ran out of time on this. I may try and make her head larger as clearly it is too small.

I quite like the composition. The diagonal angle of her body contrasts with that of the stage.

I will continue to draw and paint figures. It helps to work out how people are “put together”.


The painting is too sketchy. I dont know whether to shorten her legs or her body as well as enlarging her face. It’s a conundrum which I want to solve. But not today.


Last night…at the beehive

Last night was fun. Went to listen to the Boatband at the Beehive pub.


It is a monthly treat to go and listen to this local band. They are excellent musicians and have played gigs all around the country. They play at Glastonbury and other venues. Brilliant to listen to and audience members often join in with songs or playing their own instruments.

I took a sketchpad because I usually do life drawing on a wednesday evening. So this was an opportunity to still draw from life, although they are rapid sketches.

I’m also a member of an urban sketching group, so I was is killing two birds with one stone. I like the fact that there were so many people there but I only managed to draw two of the members of the group as the other two were obscured by the crowd.

I have to say drawing an old plastic skeleton, draped in old clothes, which sits in a corner by the fire, was an interesting challenge. I called that sketch “the regular” at least it kept still!