It was good to finally meet Fitzy this week after many emails back and forth and a few phone calls inbetween. I’d got a clearish few of him as a person, and a clear idea of what artwork he wanted from me, and a feeling about his thoughts regarding it. And I knew he was a little nervous at the thought of sitting for me. Its understandable!!! LOL But I try not to be too scary……… and I do know what I’m doing………..and I have had lots of experience of these matters………….. so … I wasn’t nervous, and I knew I had to allay his fears as much as I could.
Its like any new experience, the many thoughts in your head usually outweigh the reality!
So, we finally met, face to face. It was far easier for him to come to me, since I’ve got all my “tools of the trade” here. First tool …… a hot drink! Tea for me!!! 🙂 Coffee for him. And a chat, about anything really, because that communication is important for two people to get to know each other, you look at the body language, read the face, listen to the connotation in the voice, look at the eyes, and get to know about the person better. It makes for a good working relationship, for me, certainly. Because if I’m going to paint someone I like to know abit about them, it helps to be able to put that image of the person into the pose for the artwork. I’m not just creating an image, I’m looking for the essence, or soul of the person, to put that in too…..
So, on to work. Fitzy wanted three pieces of artwork doing – he loves the “Living flame” painting and wants a painting of himself done in that style. So, I needed to take photos of him to work from for the painting. It takes a long time to do that style of glazing painting, so its totally impractical to work from life for that painting. So, you would think taking photos would be easy, and it wasn’t! Because I had to get the light right, and make sure I picked up the nuances of muscle tone, make sure I’d got all the detail in that I wanted.
Then on to the second piece of artwork that he wants – a Fantasy Willie painting. Infact he will be my first fantasy willie, which I’m very excited about! But because of that, I wasn’t fully sure what I was looking for in the photos. With the fantasy fannies, they are abstract in shape to start with, so its easy enough to hide the image in the abstraction. But, a willie is more obvious! So, it took a few photos until I was happy with the image I’d got, and how I was going to create a painting from it! Success!!!
After a short lunch-break, it was time for the main reason for the visit – the sitting, whilst I drew him. I know he’s had health problems and the very pose itself was probably going to be difficult for him. We discussed a standing pose as opposed to a sitting pose, and decided on the latter. But when I asked his thoughts on a pose, and he showed it to me, I knew from past experience that he would be in agony within five minutes from it. We discussed ideas and quickly settled on a simple seated pose, that would be comfortable for him, and would show to good effect his long legs. He also wanted a white on black drawing done, and to set up the lighting for those is a bit challenging, as I had to make sure that the light was creating interesting shapes on his skin, without lighting all of his body. This usually entails a low light off to one side, and although I have proper lights on proper stands, it turned out that the light itself had to be on a book, on a larger book, on a low stool, to create the correct lighting to satisfy me!!!! It might look very odd, but it worked!!!! LOL
On to the drawing…………… I started with a blank piece of black card, and with a conte pencil in one hand, and a rubber in the other, I started. I know I’m a quick worker, but afterwards when I explained to Fitzy the thought process that had occurred through the drawing, I was surprised myself how much “thinking” I do. I first look at the pose, and work out the angles within it, I look at the blank paper and envisage those angles on it, I measure with my pencil, to make sure that the body that I’m drawing will fit on the paper (I sounds silly, but I’ve seen enough amateur artists miss out the feet at the bottom of the paper because they’ve not done this simple exercise!). Then I start to draw, to get the basic overall shape in, check the measurements again, and if need be adjust anything. Then I start to build up the body shape, gently drawing in all of it, slowly, bit by bit, until its all there, and then use the rubber to remove the parts I don’t want. These are the bits that cause the interest. The pencil and the rubber working in conjunction with each other, to create the effect I want. And all this is done whilst the model sits still. And it helps enormously if the model CAN sit still. And Fitzy could, beautifully! He’s a natural! So that helped greatly, that I could see the tiny details that I needed to put in the drawing to make it interesting.
Whilst all this is going on, I played my “art music” – thumping rock, bouncy pop, throbbing dance music, it all helps me to work quickly and easily and for the creative energies to flow. No music, and I’d be a lot slower!!! Fortunately Fitzy liked listening to it too, and said afterwards that it had helped him to get through the sitting, whilst he played a musical quiz in his head, as to which band was singing which song! He only needed one short break, but was able to sit long enough for me to produce this drawing. Its called “The thinker”. I had originally thought that Rodins “The thinker” might be a good pose, but Fitzy thought it might be too reminiscent of Bruce Forsyth! MMM…I know what he means!!! LOL Anyway, here is the image I did of him…….
We sat chatting afterwards, about all sorts of things, and that was good to do. I know exactly how I’m going to do the paintings now and can’t wait to get started on them……
Since then, Fitzy has emailed me to say a lot about his experience of being drawn by me, and is happy for me to quote some of them here:
“I was drawn to the title of one of your recent blog entries â€œEmpoweredâ€ and it certainly was an empowering experience, but really it was so much more than that, I felt a great sense of achievement in becoming part of something that will last, well longer than me really.
I also found it a rather liberating experience as well.
…..your mention of a friend that works as a therapist, and they thought your Fantasy Fanny paintings could work well in a treatment room as a means of improving body image and perception about an intimate area of the body….. Anyway, that struck a chord with me as I have always had a very negative view of myself for all manner of reasons …. but I do feel so very positive about what I was able to achieve on Thursday and this is thanks in no small part to you. Now whether there will be any lasting benefits of course remains to be seen, but for the moment at least I really do feel very pleased and proud about what I have achieved and your drawing of me really is so much better than I could of ever hoped for, so thank you so very much for that and it was worth it at any price.
That reminds me of something I said to you a while ago when I joked about paying you thousands of pounds and do you know what, it really would have been worth it.
The day really did have such a profound effect on me and for that I will always be grateful, so thank you very much”.
So, it looks like I didn’t scare him, too much, and he, like my previous sitters, have found it a very positive and uplifting experience! That’s good then!!!! That makes me happy.