Sunday, November 07, 2010

An exercise in posture and floor polish

Watching people: Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition, Mall Galleries
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Molsekine Sketchbook, 8" ax 10"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I went to see the Annual Exhibition 2010 of the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition which was back at the Mall Galleries last week - for one week only.  The last day is today so you need to get your skates on if you want to catch it before it closes

A review will follow on Making A Mark however this is about my sketch done as I watched people looking at the paintings.

The above sketch, across double page spread in my small Moleskine, is an exercise in drawing people and trying to capture their postures in just a few seconds.  In other words, how real can I make people look when there is no time at all and they're not posing for me.  It made me glad I've done life drawing classes with warm up exercises of a few seconds for each pose! 

It also reminded me of the tip which I first read about in a Charles Reid book of making sure that you go for the big shape when drawing groups of people.  You know they're separate people but often the lighting doesn't separate them effectively.  Thus trying to draw them as separate people can make them look a little unreal - while joined up they look perfectly normal! 

The people are not all there at the same time.  I did them one by one and filled in gaps as people came and went.  The trick was to make sure I got the height right.  

Towards the end of the sketch I got very distracted by the highly polished floor - its colours and the shadows from the people as they moved around the room.  It soon became clear to me that what would make the sketch 'real' would be to try and capture the multi-colour and diffuse nature of the coloured shadow shapes on the floor.  What do you think?

That floor was fascinating - I could really get into drawing shiny floors!


  1. I think you did it brilliantly - the floor really brings the sketch to life!

  2. Thanks Tracy - I must confess the sketch took on a whole new life with that floor!

  3. I remember visiting the 'Sensation' exhibition at the Royal Academy and being captivated by a stretch of floor that reflected the subtle colours of a painting beautifully. I enjoyed seeing that nearly as much as the exhibition. I really like the sketch and the characters that you have caught with their reflections.

  4. Thanks Lisa - I think highly polished floors in exhibitions are a greatly under-rated image-making machine!

  5. Shiney talent.

    Came to you via Spitalfields Life and am very happy to have found you.

    Think your observation of highly polished floors, which are very individual, is the mark of all artists no matter of what hue.


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