11 January 2013

"Talk & draw"

Fridays at lunchtime at the National Gallery, 40 chairs are set out in front of a painting in one of the rooms, and drawing materials - paper, pencils, boards - made available. At 1pm there is a talk about the chosen painting, after which people start drawing it. At 2pm, those who wish to, put their drawings on the floor in front of the painting, and look at how others have approached the task.

Today - the first time I've been to the "Talk & Draw" weekly session at the National Gallery - the painting was Gainsborough's "Mr and Mrs William Hallett ('The Morning Walk'), painted in 1785. Read about it here -
The couple are both aged 21, and are to be married that summer. Her dress of ivory silk is possibly her wedding dress; he is carrying his hat to show off his powdered hair. Their dog is a pomeranian sheep dog.

A good tip - use the decorative elements  of the frame, conveniently centred, to help with placing the figures. This experience was a challenge - 18th century figures, and faces of any kind, are not my favourite subject for drawing, and as for the loosely-painted foliage, and other textures like the hair of the dog and the folds in the silk dress - phew! But I definitely benefited from the sustained looking, especially at tonal values, and the judging of the relation of one element of the painting to the others ... though the linked arms definitely aren't quite right ... is it that his face is too big and his torso too small? -
Not a brilliant "result", but I feel a session like this isn't about the result - it's about looking ... and also about being with people, never mind that they are strangers, who are motivated to do the same thing.

Next week - Rubens...

1 comment:

Pat said...

Thank you for this post Margaret, found something I didn't know I could do.