Life Drawing

A few weeks ago I went to four life drawing sessions. I had done some life drawing in first year, where we focussed more on mark making and the actual backgrounds we were drawing onto (which I really enjoyed) but this time it was more about making an image, and really looking at the model to create an informed and realistic interpretation of the model.

I really enjoyed working at an easel again, and drawing something which wasn’t a plant or animal (which my practice really centres around). Here are some of the drawings I made over several sessions. At the time I was quite pleased with them but looking at them now I can see lots of mistakes (mostly with leg proportion and a tendency to avoid details on hands and feet), so in the future I may revisit these drawings and improve them.

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Owl Eyes

Today I worked on finishing this A3 pencil sketch of an owl skull. I found the image online and thought it looked suitably creepy; those big empty sockets dominating the oddly proportioned skull and sharp, strong beak. In the first image below you can see the skull drawing with some of my earlier, ‘gentle’ artwork on the wall. I think these two approaches in my practice work together, as I explore the line between hybrids and what is unsettling and what is whimsical, like the whales with butterfly wings or the jackalopes.IMG_20150323_152903 20150323_152406 20150323_101116

I’m also developing early collage work, using vintage images of crystals and minerals collaged with drawings of beetles, to make these sci-fi, alien like insects.

Next on my list is starting work on my spidersaur wax diorama!

Bones and Insects

My work is starting to turn towards the creepy and curious, which hopefully will result in a 2D curiosity cabinet for the graduate exhibition. For this work I’m exploring how natural forms can be reassembled into frightening and unnerving creatures.

Firstly I looked at bones, and made these two drawings of a dinosaur skull (which I found strange because of two apparent eye sockets) and a frog skeleton. I thought the frog skeleton was fascinating because of the way the skull and webbed feet make it look almost alien-like, but in actual fact it is just a frog.

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These are both A3 drawings in fineliner; the dinosaur skull has a wash over it.


I have also been making bones out of modelling wax, which I will reassemble into skeletons of strange creatures. I’m thinking of setting the bones in plaster so it looks like an uncovered fossil.

These are inspired by fake fossils which are often passed off as genuine. Here is a link to an interesting list of famous faked fossils, which included both dinosaurs, trilobites and human fossils.

The bones are also inspired by Juan Fontcuberta, an artist who creates fake fossils of mermaids and skeletons of fictional creatures.

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Here are two examples of Fontcuberta’s work; a ‘mermaid’ and a flying sabre toothed big cat.

I’m also working on enlarging images of insects to a very unnerving level. Insects are one of the most feared things in the world, even though they rarely do any harm; most people are frightened or made uncomfortable by ‘creepy crawlies’. I personally don’t have a problem with beetles or butterflies, but I’m find caterpillars quite disgusting. Working on a large scale, focussing on alien like caterpillars and insects faces combines my own fear and other’s.

Insects are usually such tiny creatures we don’t see the details, but by enlarging an image of the face makes it seem very threatening and other-worldly. I am interested in whether people understand they are insects (real, live creatures on our earth), or see them as fictional, nightmarish alien faces.

Here are a few images of insect ‘faces’;

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