It was april 2016 when two of my favorite models and I worked intensively during a unique private life drawing immersion weekend. I had rented a vacation house in the woods for a whole weekend, to sketch & draw them separately without any distractions.
We agreed I was to draw everything, from the moment they arrived until they left.
This would be a new experience for us, how would it be, spending almost a whole day together as artist and muse? Would there be anything left to talk about after a while? Would I be able to create anything worth keeping?
On both days we spent our time inside during nude posing sessions and outside the house, where I sketched her during walks through the forest etc. I wanted to draw them in “normal” circumstances involving nudity. So for instance both of my muses took a shower while I was sketching (and trying to keep the paper dry). We had lunch, dinner, lots of good conversations and created lots and lots of art. If the resulting sketches are any good is not really an issue, both days were an experiment and as such a project as a whole.
It was very enjoyable so we decided to make this a recurring event!
All drawings, with handwritten citations of things that were said and text explaining the whole project, are now available as a book, just contact me to acquire it! Here are some of the drawings (click or touch to open an enlarged version):
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I needed to capture more than I could by drawing: the subtle nuances in light and dark and variations in color of the skin. So I started following oil painting classes, the traditional way and became fascinated…Initially my tutor made me create a practice piece, copying a part of a painting by van Dijck. But I soon wanted to use the techniques learned in my own work, so (after a failed painting, which I intend to correct later on) I asked dancer and model M to hold this pose for me while I was standing on the table, looking down upon her.
All my art is for sale, just contact me.
Here, in four stages, you can see the creation of this painting, measuring h70cm x w50cm. Clicking/touching a preview opens an enlarged version with the option to have a look at an even larger version.
It has been a long while since my previous post, I’m sorry for my followers…I have been very active on Instagram, posting life drawings daily en sometimes twice a day. It is a very fast and easy means of getting my art out in the world.
Yet I do like this blog, to extrapolate a bit about my motivations for creating my art and in general provide a bit more personal info than what can be done on Instagram.
One of the approaches I have used in my drawings the last few months is using compressed charcoal, conté a Paris (a sort of compressed pastel) on white and colored paper with a lot of shading in the drawing. I’d like to have more result per session so I am working with models who are fine with me taking a reference photo after I’m through with the sketch. This way a session results in lots of sketches which I can render later, using a photo for details (especially how her body/face is lighted).
Sizes are for the most part 50 x 70cm.
You can press the previews to open a slideshow/enlargement:
So I bought this fake lobster, a shopwindow decoration. I had a vague notion this could be an interesting prop to use during a life drawing session. My lovely and intelligent muse of the day, always open to experiments, agreed. The moment I put that thing on her back I was amazed: it looked beautiful and perfect, as if it was meant to be. She proposed that I take a photo, to show her. We both liked it and she is okay with me sharing this with you.
I think there is something fascinating, creepy and beautiful at the same time, about this combination of a soft, human body and this eight legged creature with its hard exoskeleton.
Also, after the restrictions of the Egon Schiele series, I threw a lot of “laws” overboard (like focus on line, not sketching, not using an eraser). I just wanted to simply enjoy drawing, use lighting and making my art very dark if the scene asked for it.
Here are some drawings, created with different models, most of the drawings are 50 x 65 cm – all are for sale. The series of three of the crotch-close ups I created as my entry in an international competition of erotic art. Again I am thankful for the easy way my muses and I cooperate. And I realized again, while drawing the last one (the torso) on this page, how glad I am I don’t create abstract art!
I hope you enjoyed this post, please comment, share and contact me should you be interested in buying my art.
Choosing the lineair Schiele approach, eventually creating fifty drawings based on his style developed gradually out of me wanting to challenge myself with creating direct line drawings. It was time to focus on line quality (again).
Before, as you can see in the archive of this blog, I used a tonal, labor intensive sketching style. I grew frustrated with it because I could only create a few of those during a regular private session (three hours including breaks). Also that tonal approach became boring, I found it was too easy and too much based on the old fashioned academic style, notwithstanding the unusual poses we sought with the foreshortening and rare viewing angles.
While I really enjoyed how my models and I reconstructed poses drawn by Egon Schiele, it wasn’t easy. Not that life drawing session should be easy, but for models some poses were difficult to do and maintain. It was not for everybody. I occasionally needed to schedule a session with a specific muse who enjoyed exposed poses just like any other pose.
For me drawing this way, more or less reconstructing existing art in an unforgiving lineair style, was more taxing and tiring than I could have imagined.
So I have moved on from the Egon Schiele project and am currently working on larger, fast drawings with an expressive line and (in part afterwards) lots of black and shading, sometimes incorporating a prop by asking my muse to experiment posing with it. The result will eventually be shown here, of course.
Nevertheless here are some drawings which were created during those Schiele sessions but are not actual reconstructions of drawings of his.
Models are creative and love to add something of their own to a session. So these artworks are our go at working “in the spirit of” Egon Schiele. Hope you enjoy.
The Austrian artist Egon Schiele (June 12 1890 – October 31 1918) has been one of my art idols from the moment I discovered his work when I was attending high school. Especially his bold, sometimes explicit depiction of nude females, created in expressive, virtuoso pencil lines and the often rather dark quality of his art and life appealed to me.
During my studies to become an art teacher I researched some of his infuences (mainly Gustav Klimt and expressionist dance). To see these drawings for myself I hitch-hiked from the Netherlands to Vienna, Austria where I visited the Albertina museum to gawk at some facsimile high quality reproductions, slept in a depressing two person hotel room and left the next day. Being alone, a vegetarian and non-drinker at that time I felt totally out of place in Sausage/Beer infested Vienna…
Reconstructing Schiele drawings with life models
More or less half a year ago I started to ask my life drawing models to take on positions similar to those depicted in the drawings of Egon Schiele, and bring clothing similar to what his models posed in. This developed into a series, a kind of mission, some kind of research or experience from the inside by drawing. Fifty drawings, many private sessions and a session with two life models later I think I actually made some discoveries…
Here is a collage of works by Schiele we reconstructed. Below it are those fifty drawings of mine.
Just what are those “discoveries” I mentioned earlier? Read it after looking at the drawings. Clicking on one of them opens a separate window with larger versions for you to explore.
What we discovered while reconstructing drawings by Egon Schiele
We obviously had a very close look at the artworks, different from the casual art appreciation. Here are some random realizations my muses and I came to while trying to emulate the specific poses, originally depicted by Schiele:
Even a virtuoso line artist like Schiele sometimes sketched with very light thin lines before finding the final form;
Looking at his drawing hand, the way his lines curve etc. he apparently was able to create many drawings very quickly;
In working this fast he often sacrificed anatomical correctness: too large an arm, body parts which are partly hidden from view not connecting, choosing not to show (too detailed and laborious?) feet;
He sometimes used a nifty little trick: turning the drawing 90 degrees before signing it. Some of his at first glance standing models were actually lying down;
My models often found it physically impossible to exactly duplicate a position. Either some very flexible girls posed for him or he took many liberties in his depictions of the poses;
Each and every model had trouble finding the right pose because, looking at the art, it was easy to choose the wrong leg or arm. They really had to analyze which arm did what etc.;
Trying to achieve some of his quality in line drawing was often rather tiring. It is an unforgiving style where every mistake stands out. You have to know and decide where the line should be before actually drawing it. As a result I respect his work even more;
I am very fortunate to be able to work with a few models who have no inhibitions when explicit poses are concerned. Something I had never imagined to experience and it makes me wonder how Egon Schiele, who died when he was only 28, managed to do so very often;
The more I ventured into this Schiele derived drawing, the less “erotic” his art (which it supposedly is to many people) appeared to me. Of course he had the gaze of a young man but he often depicted his subjects in a harsh, sickly or detached way;
While famous for his expressive art where his muse almost appears emaciated, drawn in an angular fashion, I think his line work depended on his mood at that particular moment. A lot of drawings of his are actually after models having a fuller body type and were quickly drawn with long, fluent lines;
His output was very prolific. I see an urgency in his work, almost as if he was obsessed by femininity, compelled to draw these female subjects.
Now that this “project” of mine has come to an end I will appreciate the art of Egon Schiele in a new way. It has been an enriching experience working on this with nice and cooperative muses, in a relaxed atmosphere.
What do you think, looking at Schiele’s art? What about this series of mine?
On april 27 2016, which is (a national day off) King’s day in the Netherlands, I participated in a group exhibition in a special place: a local church. The space was so big, I thought it would be best to show some of my large drawings. Once they were in place I liked the “environment” that was accidentally created, with the cut-out figure and the large portrait in a corner. It was a nice day and a successful show with lots of people visiting!
I got to talk about my art, renewed some old friendships, played guitar which was highly appreciated and was unexpectedly invited to apply for membership of a society of select artists (one even world famous) and art collectors.
Souvenirs of mo(ve)ments secret mission
What a great afternoon! The opening of my exhibition of drawings based on moving life-models in Paviljoen pOp, Utrecht, was a huge success. On show were my (pencil/brush) drawings created almost automatically during movement life-drawing sessions, described in detail in this previous post . It was a wonderful saturday afternoon on april 30 2016. Many people came to see my art and were curious about the announced improvised movement by the wonderful dancer, clown, body artist and performer AgA Wi, accompanied by my guitar soundscape. We did not rehearse anything and didn’t consider to rehearse either, having worked often as artist and muse and being confident of each other’s abilities.
However I wanted the guests to do more than just look at the art: I wanted to share with them the experience of sketching/drawing a moving nude life model. So before the start of the 15 minutes performance I invited them (=obliged them!) to take one of the many sketchbooks and pencils present and draw!
There was a high level of concentration during the performance, people were really into it and AgA did a great job improvising beautifully. Once it was over everybody started chatting and admiring their results. A very positive vibe.
This was a first for many of the attendees, of whom several told me they now appreciated my drawings even more, now they knew what it took to create them…secret mission accomplished. Lots of positive comments afterwards on Facebook.
Three drawings were sold during the opening! The exhibit Souvenirs of mo(ve)ments will be on show for the rest of may.
Update june 4, 2016: this exhibit ended up to be a very positive experience. The opening performance with drawing was enjoyed by many guests for whom it will be a good memory. During the exhibition I had meetings with several people who were genuinely very interested and in the end six drawings were sold!
Apart from A4 and A3 format drawings also on display are two large (70cm x 100cm) brush drawings I created during a moving life drawing session with this wonderful muse.
She especially likes the one on which she made an extra contribution!
Please leave a comment, share etc. I love to hear from you!
Group exhibition in a local church
During a very special life drawing session we created the life-size drawing below which will be displayed in this manner during a group exhibit on King’s day in a local church, along with the big portrait and the jumping girl – so no nudity there, it is a church!
The sitting drawing and the “jumping” girl were created by having my muse stand against or lying on the large paper, and me tracing her outline with a pencil taped on a tall stick. Once finished, she posed next to the outline drawing so I could fill in details with charcoal and pastel.
The third drawing is a work in progress, I’m not yet sure about the / if it should have surroundings for this pose.
I’m excited to have a solo exhibition in a cultural centre in my town. I’ve hardly ever exhibited my work (i.e. illustrations, because they generally appear in books already) and now a committee of well known art people has selected my free work for exhibiting in that venue! So stuff that I’ve created out of sheer passion instead of commissioned illustrations were chosen by people in the know, how is that for recognition! My drawings based on moving models will be displayed (see this blog entry for examples) and a wonderful muse of mine (who is also a dancer, clown and performer) agreed to improvise moving while I create a soundscape using my electric guitar during the opening of the exhibition. Here is an image of the invitation.
Private life drawing weekend
Every one of my private life drawing sessions is also a meeting, an intimate event of sorts.
I’m enthusiast and looking forward to a very special drawing experience!
In my continuing quest of examining outside the box approaches to life drawing,
this weekend I will spend in a small vacation house in a wooded part of my country and totally dedicate my time to life drawing.
On each day a valued muse of mine will work with me for the greatest part of the day. Of course we’ll go for a stroll in the beautiful nature as well. Maybe we walk into some deer, wild boar or the sheep that are herded on the heaths…
That will also be sketched for I will draw everything she does, from the moment she arrives to the moment of her parting and between I will draw and draw small sketches. In this way the whole meeting will be documented in images, which will be turned into a book for each day. Both of my models enjoy working with me and are very much looking forward to this. When I mentioned I hope they will use the furniture and various rooms of the vacation house for posing (as I intend to incorporate the decor) one reacted: ah, then I know what room I will surely use: the shower! So apparently I will be making water colors as well during this life drawing immersion 😉
The weekend will be a unique experience to my muses and me and for others to enjoy later on in drawings!
I like to explore different approaches to life drawing with female muses and find out if a certain technique, combinations of drawings or unusual poses is interesting for me. Having always – among other aspects of drawing – focussed on line quality, I started to draw without sketching, using a firm pencil line. This is a very unforgiving way to draw as mistakes stand out immediately, but should a drawing succeed it can also be very rewarding.
Apart from trying to achieve a certain quality I think of my drawings as reflections of the special moment we, my muse and I, share. This includes mistakes, for these are part of the whole experience. So in these examples no erasers were used.