Wrap-Up of Watercolor Painting and Figure Drawing Studio

Watercolor painting turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would. I figured there would be a lot of boring landscape painting with dull, transparent colors. I’m so glad I was wrong! Watercolors can be so vibrant and are so versatile. The most important thing I learned about watercolors was to work extremely light (with lots of water), even when I wanted vibrant colors. Colors can be layered continously over each other to create some beautiful effects, but only with a little paint at a time. When paint is applied to thickly/darkly it’s very hard to pick up off the page.

I understand what place this medium has for me. It allows for blending that would be more difficult with acrylics or copics while drying faster than oils. It’s good for smaller works like tattoo art or for situations where you don’t want to worry about cleaning up afterwards. Rinsing your brushes with water is enough, here. I’m looking forward to mixing this with other mediums as well, like colored pencils.

Watercolor Painting 1

Watercolor Painting 1

Here’s where I stand with the first painting from class. I’m going to be honest; I really don’t like it. Painting the eyelids was a mistake. I wanted to make her look less like a child but now she just looks… well, stoned. I’m unsure of whether or not I’m going to continue with this. If I do, I’m not opposed to doing some really drastic/crazy stuff with it.

Watercolor Flowers

Watercolor Flowers

Once I got sick of working on the previous piece, I decided to follow the rest of the class and paint from a photo. This one is quite fun but I keep reminding myself to be patient with it and work in very light layers to achieve those beautiful colors in the flower petals. I think I’m going to give this to one of my grandmothers for the holidays and paint something else for the other one. I may bring some white acrylic into this for highlights once it’s done, I haven’t decided yet.

This class started out more structured with discussion of the color wheel, shading techniques and color theory and then turned into a more studio-type environment where we’d bring in our own projects and ask for help/critique. We were given the essentials needed in order to use the medium and told to have fun with it. I’m happy with this class and feel like it’s opened a lot of doors for me I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Onto the Figure Drawing Sessions! These studio sessions were not intructor-lead. We were simply given a nude model and had 2 1/2 hours to draw him or her in different poses, ranging from 60 seconds to 30 minutes in length. Despite the lack of instruction I learned a lot just from drawing the human form regularly. I learned to expect certain curves and became more familiar with proportions. I think that, even in seven weeks, improvement is visible comparing drawings from the first few weeks to the last few. Here’s some of the work I did:

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 1 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 2 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 3 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 4 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 5 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

Nude 6 by Jess Lingley

As you can see I experimented with quite a few different mediums. My favorite by far are copic markers. Pencil felt a bit restricting here as I was trying to describe depth and shadows. Maybe if I had more experience with pencil rendering I might have had a better time of it, but for most of these classes I only used it for the quick gesture drawings. I played a little with charcoal and pastels but they are messy and I don’t have enough control over them, yet. Watercolors were much more fun but weren’t drying fast enough for me to layer shadows onto which leaves the copics. I was able to show muscle structure and shade effortlessly with them. I really enjoyed playing around with different color combinations as well, rather than sticking to flesh tones.

I would recommend Life Drawing to any artist looking to improve, regardless of your level. Becoming familiar with the human figure lends itself in all different forms of art. It’s one of the most beautiful and difficult things to draw and master; no one person is the same as the next. Each night was a different challenge for me; some nights I felt I was doing great and others I really had to push through. Over all I’m very satisfied with how they went and now have a huge portfolio of work to look back on (there are at least 7 times as many photos as what I’ve shown here).

I’m really looking forward to checking out some more classes in the new year! I think I will go in a different direction though to try and expand my horizons. I have always wanted to learn how to sew…

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