Beach studies

“Ocean and sky study”, Adriana Burgos sketchbook study in oil pastels

Looking through my old camping journal,  I found these studies done at Hunting Island South Carolina. The first is in oil pastel which is a very fun medium for a painterly approach. The format of the drawing is 5.5 x 8.5 so there is not much room for details and meticulous drawing when using the oil pastel. It was a cloudy summer day and the water was choppy.

The drawing below was done with water-soluble watercolor pencils by Derwent. I really liked this set of colored pencils because the colors were not too saturated. There was a good number of earth tones, and greys. Here I drew the landscape first and then quickly captured the figures of the kids through gesture drawing. The children in the drawing are my boys Nicolas and Felipe with Raquel from our adopted family in Savannah with whom we share great memories.  I really like this piece as a study for a large drawing or painting. The great thing about sketchbooks is that you can revisit them and if a study stands the test of time it might be worth developing into a large piece.

Kids on the beach

“Kids on the beach” Adriana Burgos, sketchbook study in water-soluble colored pencils.







Progress on large format drawing

I had a blog post prepared narrating progress on my drawing and I did not get to post it while I was working things through. Now the drawing is completed and has been in exhibition at the faculty show for a couple of weeks. It was so energizing to work at a large scale!

I would still like to share what I wrote as I worked on the piece back in August since the process was the focus of the post.

“I’ve been back in the studio working on the “Physiotherapy session” drawing. I have drawn and re-drawn the two figures several times now and love the effect that this restating has on the drawing. The first correction I made on the piece was the pose of the therapist (figure on the right). I felt that the pose was too rigid, not graceful enough. Although static, a standing pose is powerful and can have a  lot of movement. I set out to adapt the figure so that it helped my composition and counteracted with the stiffness of the figure to the left (my dad). This took working from memory and imagination because I was getting away from the reference image.

In the decision-making of how to adapt the pose I looked at some old masters’ drawings. I was particularly looking at the work of Jacopo Pontormo whose work shows powerful gestures and graceful figures. His exaggerated contrapposto and angle shifts in the joints helped me improve the pose for the therapist. I emphasized the forward tilt of the ribcage and backward tilt of the pelvis and changed the position of the legs to add more angles. These subtle shifts really helped the movement in the image.

detail progressThe next session I set out to re-draw the figure of my dad. I was happy with it originally, then I re-drew and the figure lost its original stance, so I went back and corrected. I am still indecisive as to how much I want to show the movement of the different exercises. Looking back at last week’s stages I really respond to the pose where he is holding his hands above his head and would like to show this a little more…

Working on the poses themselves has commanded my attention, but so has the over all composition of the piece. I am working on simplifying the value patterns, at times they seem patchy to me. I am looking for a nice flow and a simplicity to add solidity and power. To work through this, I printed the drawing at one stage and drew into it, exploring different value options on a small-scale. In regards to materials, I introduced some grey and white pastel to show build up some surface on the lighter values.”

Now that the drawing is finished I must say I really enjoyed working large and the constant erasures and corrections. Once I finally decided on the gestures of the figures, I spent a lot of time working the surface of the space around the figures. I loved  manipulating the values to fade and pull out different portions of the figure.   This is only the first of a series of large format drawings. The challenge will be finding storage and ways to exhibit such large pieces, but it will definitely be worth the trouble.

Collaborative journal entries from sketchbook project

A while back I posted some mixed media work from the sketchbook project journal I worked on in 2010-2011. The theme I chose was dirigibles and submersibles. This week I am posting some collaborative sketchbook entries I did with my son Nicolas (then seven). Working collaboratively can enhance creativity. In this case the sketches were very meaningful for me, because I was collaborating with my own son. These include collage and drawing as well experimentations with overlays. This brief post leads into an upcoming post about children and drawing. Look out for it soon!