Art Nouveau Drawings

Last Monday we had an experimental session with the theme Art Nouveau. This was the first time I had experienced this theme during life drawing, however I was vaguely familiar with some of the more famous images.

It started with the usual three minute poses, three fifteen minute poses and then finally two twenty-five minute poses. Unusually, the poses up to the two twenty-five minutes were clothed. This made a nice change for me as it was possible to see if I had learned anything about drawing clothing from the background fabric I like to fill in!

Third fifteen minute pose.

As normal, I completed my drawings in pencil, although we were encouraged to use pen and ink, I found that I was not confident enough to jump right in – especially without the ability to rub out! I can’t help feeling that this is my OCD neatness coming to the fore!! Although seeing how strong the images can look when outlined in pen, I decided to outline the pencil when I got home and could take a little more time on it. Also, remembering the lovely red flowers in Frankie’s hair, I decided to accent the flowers, belt and the roses positioned in some of the poses, in red. I had forgotten how nice felt-tips are! I have to admit, I am really quite pleased with the outcome of all the images as they seem bright and striking to me.

For my final twenty-five minute pose I decided to work on my colouring success and looked up patterns for a border in Frankie’s kindly lent Art Nouveau book, and google. I think that surrounding the figure in black has worked quite well – it is something I have seen Nick do a few times in the last few weeks and I have been struck each time by the way it seems to push the figure out at the viewer. Hence, I finally decided to try it out for myself. In the end, I think that the border has a slightly Indian art vibe by accident due to the sculpted patterned edging. Regardless of the deviation from the theme, I am pleased with how the pattern encompasses the figure.

Experimental: Art Nouveau

Monday night is experimental methods night – they started last week with monoprinting, and the idea is to try a new material or technique each week. This week, however, was more of a themed session – Art Nouveau. We had this theme last week on thursday, and I am greatly enjoying it along with the fantastic reference books provided by Frankie. To make things slightly different, the first few poses were lightly costumed, and I definitely enjoyed drawing the contrast between the looseness of the fabric and the smooth curves of the body.

Although the evening was more of a theme, Jake encouraged everyone to use pen or ink to draw their pictures, where recently I have been the only one drawing consistently with ink – it was nice to see the ink and brushes being put out centrally, even though not many people used them. I used the bright red ink to add to my usual plain black, inspired by some of the pictures in the Art Nouveau book.

Three minute poses

Given the experimental nature of the evening, I decided to try things differently, and try to draw with a little more of a deliberate style. It started with the three minutes, where I tried to at least start out with a different style, even if I slipped into a more regular way of drawing. One of the recurring things in the Art Nouveau books we have is the recurrence of patterns, and after the second pose I decided to join the hoop Frankie was posing with into a chain that tied each pose together – something else that I have been trying to do lately.

Second Medium Pose

We then had a set of three fifteen minute poses. I tried to use the extra time to try to draw in the style of the session, but was having difficulty in restraining myself from adding detail in the body sections (a lot of the art nouveau pictures seemed to have very sparse body detail, but lots of detail in the surroundings). So, for the second medium pose I decided to draw Frankie as a silhouette, with only detail in the fabric she was wearing. This forced me to avoid drawing any body detail, though I had to be careful with the shapes of the edges. I’m pretty happy with the result, and will definitely try to emulate this style again in the future, though it’s not something I would want to do as a prevailing technique.

We then broke with tradition and had two 25 minute semi-long poses, instead one long 50 minute pose. The first I left black-and-white and spent some time working on the patterns – I think the picture works, and like the pose and expression, even though the face doesn’t much look like Frankie. The second semi-long pose, I decided to try a little more impact – I tried to visualise a spotlight on Frankie lying in a pool of blood, and although the end picture doesn’t exactly evoke that, I still like the end result.