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May is for Sketching

May 6, 2011

I haven`t been too happy with my artwork lately and so have been keeping it to myself.  Wendy Shortland has invited me to join her Every Day in May sketching project, though, so it`s time to wake up a sleeping blog.

Here are the first few sketches, with a shoe instead of exercise equipment, as I don`t really use any equipment but I do walk a lot.  These were quickly done – maybe as I keep going I’ll find the inspiration to do something more elaborate, but for now I’m happy just to get it done.

The Loire

February 9, 2011

The Loire

Originally uploaded by csytoussaint

A postcard – sized sketch for a friend`s framing project. I`m trying to make a decent oil painting out of this scene as well.

Making Progress in Life Drawing (or at least trying to)

January 25, 2011

I’ve been doing pretty regular life drawing for a few years now. At first I made progress relatively quickly, having done quite a lot of life drawing when I was in my twenties.  But in the last few months I just couldn’t seem to do any decent drawings, and found my mind wandering, my interest waning.  It`s easy to find excuses – I don`t like the model, the pose times don`t work for me, it`s too hot in here….Of course I never actually bought into any of those things, but they do sort of float through your head when the drawing isn`t going well.

One thing I`ve tried to push forward is posemaniacs – last year I filled pages and pages with 30-second figures  – and this is an excellent way to get your speed up if you are disciplined enough to do it – which I haven`t been this year.

I also tried working through several life drawing books – most recently figure drawing by Michael Hampton. I filled pages with hands and feet (the hard bits for me) but again, I lack the discipline to work through it systematically.

And then, one evening as I felt myself wondering how long to the break, I decided to switch to my left hand.  This has been the most useful tool yet.  It forces me to concentrate, which focuses my interest – I find myself really enjoying myself and I like my drawings so much more.  They have a certain truth to them, even when they`re not  particularly accurate.  Here are a couple of 2-minute poses – not much time for drawing with the non-dominant hand.

Here are a few of the longer ones from the last three sessions – mostly 5-minutes but sometimes as long as 10 minutes. Once in a while I switch back to my right hand, but I`m not sure anymore which are which.  I didn`t always have time to finish, as you can see. While the drawings may not look generally better than what I was doing before, I can see definite improvement in things like hands – and I`m having so much more fun doing it, which is the main thing for me.




That`s what`s been working for me – and you?  I`d love to hear about what`s been working for you!

Caped Crusaders

January 24, 2011

I have 2 black and white cats, a very portly, timid male and a fearless female kitten, who bosses him around with no mercy. When they`re sleeping, they make pretty good models.


December 22, 2010

A friend of mine asked me to do some small drawings of her cat for a framing project she’s working on (she needs 3).  Here are a few preliminary ones.  I’m working from photos, and I find it difficult not to get fussy, so I’ll probably do a few more of these until I get it right.

100 Landscapes – number 36

December 17, 2010

cross-posted here

I’m calling this a landscape because there is a horizon in it, although it’s really just a sky study….The camera filtered out all the yellow tones for some reason, and made the clouds look green. I really need to learn to take better photos of my paintings.

Drawing from Life – with my Left Hand

December 16, 2010

I’ve been distracted while doing life drawing lately, which has had a negative effect on both the quality of my drawing and my enjoyment of the time spent doing it.  On Tuesday evening I could feel it happening again, so I decided to draw with my left (non-dominant) hand, to see if I could at least learn something.  Surprisingly, the experience became much more pleasant – I could feel myself instantly concentrating on what I was doing, and taking much more pleasure in it. We never do warm-ups in either of my drawing groups any more.  In one, we only do 5 to 7 minute poses, and the in other one we only do a couple of 3 minute poses, and not even in the beginning.  I’m happy to say that drawing with my left hand really seems to take the place of fast drawings for me.

Here they are – a little rough, but I find them a bit less boring than the more polished that ones I had been doing, they feel more authentic somehow. None of them are ‘finished’ as I draw very slowly with my left hand.  These are mostly 5-minute poses with one lasting 7 minutes.

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