Why ten minutes can be too much

Why ten minutes can be too much

When you look at a face what do you see? You notice the eyes, the mouth, the nose, in that order, then the lesser features like the chin, cheek, hair, forehead, and all of that makes up the face. And each face is so individual, even though they all have the same features, noses can be large or small, mouths can have large lips, or thin, the subtleties and vagaries of faces is immense, and that’s before you start thinking about different skin colours or ethnic variances.

And of course age affects all of it as well, making the skin looser around the chin and adding wrinkles at eyes and around the mouth.

As does lack of age. A small child has hardly any features, only little snub noses, and small mouths with tiny but noticeable teeth, rounded chins and cheeks and large foreheads.

So, when I agreed the other week to do “ten minute portraits” over the course of a busy art exhibition weekend, I knew that I would have to have lots of practice drawing faces before hand, to make sure that I was ready for the job on the day. But where to you get a load of different faces from to practice on first? I know I’d have lots of funny looks if I went up to people in the street and asked if they’d got a spare ten minutes for me……. I can hear the answers now before the police move me on for loitering with intent “Yes, love, if you’ve got the inclination, I’ve got the time!” 🙂

So that’s why I’ve spent the last few days practicing drawing faces from magazines, taping each photo to a board infront of me, and capturing the image in ten minutes. And boy does that make you think quickly! But that’s the time I’ve got to do it in. Ten minutes. And you know what, I noticed that I was doing it in five. Which means that I had quickly ascertained what was important and how to capture it in the pencil. But, it still needs to look like the person in question, it can’t just be a face, it has to be a particular face, and that’s the part I have to hone now. And I’ve noticed that its the eyes and mouth that need to be darker than the rest since its those that are the main points of a face. I’ve also found that if I leave various parts of the face out the picture is far better than if I draw absolutely all of it. Less is more.

But its also helping me to decide what medium I want to do them in. They’re drawings, of course, but need to be done with a point that is both soft, and hard. Soft for the soft edges of variances in tone, and hard for the fine detail around eyes and mouths. I haven’t fully decided yet whether it will be charcoal or conte pencil, or pastel sticks.

Its hard work, but I’m enjoying facing up to the challenge…..

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.