Sunday, 11 December 2011

Catching up with Channel 4's Life Class: Today's Nude series.

A quick sketch done during the John Berger/Maria Muñoz episode.    I really need to go to a regular life class.  As you can see! 
But I found Maria - dancer and one half of Mal Pelo- so fascinating to observe  - her tough yet elfin androgynous grace. 
All episodes are intriguing though. I loved the encouraging guidance and sensitive comments by tutor Judy Purbeck in episode 2.  Once begun, I had to watch the lot in one session. They are only half an hour long each and as I was drawing along each time, they really sped by!  My only criticism would be that there was sometimes too much commentary in situ. I was quite happy for silence to reign, sometimes artists (Hume and Ocean specifically) seemed to feel an obligation to speak (very distracting for the artist and observer both, I think) rather than just leaving us to observe/draw.  Perhaps an occasional split screen might have been more useful at certain moments to reveal how the featured artists were progressing along.

Watch series one here (UK ONLY? Probably)
There's also a great flickr pool of others' drawings in direct response to the programmes here

As Maggi Hambling (the artist who accompanies us in episode one - a definite highlight!) and others emphasised: although the series makes a great introduction to life drawing, it's a completely different experience - a privilege actually - to really draw "from the life".
Why not have a go?  Is there a class near you?

Friday, 2 December 2011

New silver clay ring

Here's a new ring-in progress, formed by
carving the silver clay at the dry stage.
After firing in the kiln it was dipped in
Liver of Sulphur solution to darken the lower
areas giving greater contrast to the burnished
upper surface.

Part way through the carving process I began to make
smaller scored lines and notches in some areas trying
to echo and amplify the lines and irregularities seen in
the surface of the fingers. I like the idea of pieces that
sit well with the characterful fissures of use and age.
This is one interesting aspect of making it up as you go
along, you allow space for new things to come up.
I was also using the irregular slight dips and hills of the
simple clay shape to determine where and how I was
carving into the clay. The deeper carved areas set up
natural weaknesses and tensions in the clay which can
cause cracking when you fire the piece, and this happened
in one place on the inside surface.
but this can easily be righted by refiring with oil paste
in the gap, which forms a very strong bond fusing with the
surrounding metal.

The look here is influenced by work
made using lost wax casting technique, something I
would love to have experience of and access to, but with
silver clay I enjoy that you often find your own ways around
technical difficulties to make a fine silver object without much
equipment, it can all be done in a very small kitchen.

more silver clay jewellery here

metal clay info

Abstract in progress