Monday, 21 April 2014

Resolution 6 (tangential experimentation)

Carrying on from the  last post  where I was experimenting with reworking a couple of portraits,  I finally reached a version of this lady........

that I was happier with...

I think so anyway, there is a danger that the more you refine something the less spontaneous it becomes.  Although there are faults in the sketching of the first one, I think it may show more character, just by not being symmetrical.

The more I work on this project, the more issues it seems to uncover. 

For instance, does having an open-ended time limit for completing a project take that energy away from it when the deadline approaches and there is a need to finish it, before the artist has time to reflect on and adjust the outcome?

The only thing to be said in regard to the above, in this particular case, is that it has enabled me to see what would happen if I reworked the portraits and which version I like best. I'm definitely leaning towards both originals, but the test will be to see how they look when they are stitched.

I've been able to work on the digital embroidery again lately and have finally resolved the design for the ladies pulling the rope.

This has been worked on a nylon sheer, not organza, as it's too expensive to experiment with on a full size piece. As you can see the rope isn't in quite the right place between the first and second lady, I need to rework the digital design and resolve the registering issues when multi hooping the work.

As I can only fit 3 ladies into the width of the panel, and retain the scale, I returned to the idea of mixing loose hand stitched figures with the machine embroidered ones. Janice very kindly suggested a mix of different styles on a comment she left on one of my posts.

I'm not sure if they work, or considering that this panel will be behind 2 others it may be able to sustain the void at the top.

Or maybe the hand stitched figures need more attention, they were very roughly done as an experiment.

Which brings round to the tangential experiments I have been working through as a result of trying to get the pose of the 3'rd lady launcher in the rope line up correct.

I discovered a brilliant book in the library Practical Anatomy for Artists Peter M Simpson  in which he refers  to " The inside out approach....."  to figure drawing. This involves drawing the skeleton first, then the muscles and finally the body contour.

I've found it really reassuring to have the that 'scaffolding' in place before sketching the figure and it will be very useful in the future for drawing figures from memory or from imagination, something I've always wanted to do.

The above sketches are taken from the book, and the one below is an experiment using the technique on a photograph of my son.

I'm looking forward to working my way through the muscle section....

I appreciate that this is a tenuous link to the work I'm doing on this project, but it did come about as a result of difficulties in getting the shape of the figures correct. This is an avenue I wouldn't have had the luxury of exploring If I'd been working to a deadline.


  1. I'm sure your work on the figures will be well worth the effort. I've never been able to draw anatomy and moving figures very well at all, so tend to avoid them. I wish I put the practice in like you. Looking good.

  2. My second attempt at posting this comment - as often seems to be the case when I comment on your blog some technological disaster comes to pass when I click 'Publish'!

    Anyway, just wanted to say - regarding the question of deadlines... I would consider the lack of deadline an advantage. After all, you're doing this for personal enjoyment. It isn't as though you're producing an endless set of unfinished objects. What you're doing is going off on related voyages of discovery as the need arises. I think the sketch of your son made after working from the book is excellent, and this will feed into the rope pulling women, who you still want to tweak. They, too, are looking great in their latest format, and the absence of a deadline has enabled you to spend time working out what works best as a drawing that can be handled by your machine, as opposed to one to be executed in hand embroidery or even one that will stand alone as a stitch.

    So what if it takes twice as long as a taught MA would? - Just enjoy!!!

  3. love the drapery in the lower images Sharon....deadlines? I used to like them because I could sample forever and never complete or make a decision. Having said that, playtime is never wasted, you will have a vast library of information to draw on always.