10 December 2016

Saturday-morning routine and Friday-night interlude

It's a grey day in London town, as I sit with my "free" waitrose coffee, watching traffic on this dull, dull stretch of the Finchley Road. Perhaps these other people feel the same, on the way from here to there/wherever -

In the background is the beep beep of the checkouts ... people's phone conversations ... the rumble and vibration of the Underground, under ground ... though at least the eternal swooshing of tyres on wet roads is drowned out. It's about being private in public, sitting here with ipad and emails, the interlude a little treat after filling my two bags, one for each arm, to carry back on the Overground.

The Saturday ritual also gets me a "free" newspaper, which will supply bathtime reading throughout the week. Reading that goes in one ear, as. it were, and out the other. This morning, for instance, what remains in memory? Ballet Boyz's film, Gerald Reve's 1947 novel, exhibition of Victorian art at the Watts Chapel in Surrey, the working day of the author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a poignant book about dying by Cory Taylor ... all these from the review section, an old one. Better housekeeping is called for. Fresher reviews, being up to date!

Sitting here, I feel a little niggle that says "at least you can use this time to practise drawing people". Drawing people, especially faces, is a bit of a problem for me, something I want to get more fluent, more confident, with ... and the only way is to DO it, again and again. This morning, sitting here, my excuse is that with these glasses, it's very difficult to SEE people well enough - if they are near, they pass by too quickly, and if they are across the street, they are a bit of a blur.

The desire to Get A Grip was brought on by a quiet sketching session at the National Gallery yesterday evening, at one of their late openings. Maino's Adorations, huge panels painted in Toledo in 1612-15, influenced by Carravaggio, as Maino studied or worked in Rome before returning to Spain. Sumptuous fabrics in them; his father was a cloth merchant.
After Maino's Adoration of the Shepherds, on loan from the Prado
That baby! It just won't do.   I started drawing at the top of his head, and worked outwards, leaving no room for Joseph (in splendid beige knee-high suede boots, rather impractical you'd think) or for the the two shepherds in the foreground, or the three angelic boys borne on a cloud at the top of the panel.

The composition was laced together by the interplay of hands and limbs and flesh, the luminous bits, and underlain by fabric and other materials which provided a sort of inertia, or perhaps grounding is a better word. It was lovely to be in that darkened room, the walls painted a rich purple, with the glowing paintings ... in another world.

Meanwhile the traffic continues, and my coffee is finished, time to move on.

I'm going to start the people-drawing with some static images, drawn upside down so as to see the relationship of shapes, areas, whatever - rather than interpose what I thinks "should" be there.

1 comment:

M said...

Good idea to try upside down drawing. Would be interested to see the results!