Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nude a week - extra: An ipad painted nude - and an experiment to see if this connects to Facebook

Reclining nude painted on the ipad with simulated chalk and pastel - drawn using the Artrage app.

This nude is called "extra" because it is an experiment to see if it will link up to Facebook.  And Nick is writing the blurb not Jeanie.

Jeanie finds her ipad a wonderful thing for drawing.  You can take it out with you and you have a whole art-store full of supplies.  You can choose pastel, charcoal, oil, or whatever and any colour that the eye can see. The downside is the reflective screen which makes it really impossible to work in strong sunlight.  In time, no doubt, ipads will have an e-ink screen like the Kindle and that problem will go.  Another plus for the ipad, if you are drawing people or scenery, is that you can photograph the subject with the ipad and compare the painting with the photo.

There are half a dozen or more good apps for drawing on the ipad.  This drawing was done with Artrage which like most of the computer-originated art programs (particularly Painter) emulates physical media.  Brushes, the most famous drawing app, gives you a choice of different drawing options and does not equate them with physical art media.  Brushes was used by  Hockney for his ipad paintings. It was developed originally for the iphone and moved on to the ipad. Brushes and Artrage are both great apps and it will be interesting to see which approach proves most popular - simulating old media or just using digital marks.

Jeanie has produced a video tutorial on how she believes Hockney drew his ipad pics that were exhibited a few years ago.  See Youtube.

Jeanie uses both Brushes and Artrage on her ipad.  Text by Nick not Jeanie

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nude a week 9: Male nude in green chalk

A quick sketch in green chalk of a man reaching down and away
With very quick sketches the proportion sometimes falls by the wayside as I try to get the swing of the body.  In this case the swing of the pose was my primary concern and the proportions were secondary. As a result the legs look smaller than the torso.  When you draw with chalk there is no second chance.  Erasing isn't possible.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nude a week 8: A very quick sketch

Back view of a girl.  Conte crayon

Drawn in California. Back view of a girl standing with her weight on her right hip and swinging the spine in a curve.  Here you can see the construction lines across the sine.  Drawn extremely fast in a very brief pose.

Nude a week 7: Contortions

Conte sketches done in California
I like the shapes and rhythms formed by the limbs in these two extreme poses.  These were painted in California using Conte crayon.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Nude a week 6: Odalisque

Odalisque.  Wate- colour on water-colour paper.  43x50 cm.  A twenty minute sketch. Click to see this larger.
This is a water-colour on water-colour paper.  You can see the paper's rough texture on the bottom left corner where I've used dry-brush effect and also wet-in-wet flooding on this area.  Alexandra is wearing very exotic satin silk loose trousers.  Once again, I chose the position to draw the model so I could emphasise the strong C rhythm starting behind the ear and sweeping down neck, right arm, dark trouser shadow, to her right knee.  The arms fall into a lovely line moving from right arm, hand, over right knee and on to the left foot and toe.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A nude a week 5: Cut-out paper - nude with plant

Nude and flower: 32 x 40cm. Cut out paper

How I did this

Angela who organises the life drawing group, inspired by Matisse cut outs exhibition, had an  idea to bring the group scissors and glue and see if anyone wanted to work in this way.I hadn't seen the exhibition but I had seen his cut outs in St Paul du Vence many years ago and was deeply impressed.  I had never done this before but with brick red paper and the model, I cut away very fast, the pose was a short one.  Dark pillows, a light one and a potted plant beside her, and that was fun and refreshing.  I didn't draw on the paper before cutting.  I cut directly with the scissors. I had to work fast and where a line was needed inside a solid shape, I cut a sliver off the cut line so it would show. (At the hairline on the head and above the left thigh, for example.)  I worked on golden sand coloured paper, cut it all out and pasted it on another paper.

I tried to see the Matisse exhibition but I missed it.  So instead we decided to go to the cinema where there was a film of the exhibition.  It was very disappointing. To much of it was some old somebody talking about where to put what on which wall.  Not enough of it showed the pictures.  A big disappointment..

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A nude a week 4: Basking in light

Alexandra - bathed in light 30 x 25 cm. Black ink on ochre paper

How I painted this picture

I used a big sable brush with a fine point.  Once again I looked for the big C in the pose.  The spine from the back of Alexandra's head down her back, seat and thigh, accentuated by the intense black shadow.  The A shape formed by her arms and head and the serpetine line from shoulder, breast, left leg knees down to the toes and on along the mat.  I loved the deep contrast of light and shdow, any detail was almost superfluous but I touched in a fine profile line and the star shaped hand.  Gold tinted paper, a bottle of black ink, a brush and a lovely model that is all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In memoriam

Jeanie and Nick at the memorial to Yaani and Mimi in Minstead churchyard on the anniversary of their death.  We remember them. And mourn for them and all the thousands of lost children inthe world.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A nude a week - 3:Jill bathing

Pastel sketches of a woman drying herself and relaxing after a bath. I particularly like the curve of the spine as she bends to dry her legs and the long sweep of the towel on the right.

How I painted these sketches

I liked the pose on the left where the model is is drying her leg., you can see the sweeping curve of the spine like half circle pointing up and to the right.  I drew this first then put in the arms and the lower part.  I used a violet pastel on thin paper.  Sadly we have not been able to photograph it well yet but you can still see the drawings.
With the figure on the top right , I liked the sweeping line from the hands along the shoulders and down to the towel clenched in the left hand.  Some strong accents are almost like pen lines.  Yet others, like the profile to the left of this figure, , use the pastel very gently with the hair almost like a water colour wash.
These five figures are all drawings of Jill, done very speedily and executed as she moved from one position to the next.  The overlaps don't worry me.  I love the way her hair falls.

How I paint nudes (part 3 of 7?)

In the previous post I talked about how I take a big selection of materials to the life drawing group and choose them, almost at random.

When I have made my random selection, I really am very open to what fate has handed me at that moment.  On another day I may feel like painting in acrylics and stick with that.
Each pose is different - some are very short - sometimes the model slowly and deliberately moves from one post into a totally different one so you have to work very fast and use your memory.  This is what happened with the series of poses above.

News:  I've now got a Facebook page

And finally a reminder: I hope to mount an exhibition of these paintings soon so if you can help it would be great.  Anyway please get in touch and if you feel you would like to buy any of the pictures, make me an offer.  We can probably do business.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A nude a week - and how I drew them

I have done hundreds of nude drawings and paintings, and I thought it was time to show them.  So this is the plan.  Over the next few weeks I will be publishing one of my nude pictures at least once a week and describing how  I painted that particular picture and adding a bit about painting nudes in general.  I hope you enjoy it.
Deeply relaxed.  Male nude, pastel on sand coloured paper 46 x 30 cm.  I like the way every aspect of the man is relaxed. Click on the picture so see it at a larger size.

How I painted this picture

This is a pastel I did at the group that meets in a village near where I live.  It was done on sand coloured paper using black, white, grey, soft brown and red-brown pastels.

You can see the curve of the spine from the model's bottom, up and over, along the neck and sweep down the arms with fingers dripping like molten wax. This is what I saw first and retained it throughout painting this pastel.

I used the colour of the paper as the main colour which united everything. You can see the colour of the paper coming through the flesh tones of the buttocks and where the light red-brown has an open quality because of the vertical grain of the paper.  I use a piece of pastel on its side pressing more on one end to to get the blending effect.  You can smudge with your fingers but it doesn't give the same sparkle.  Where the model's hair shone bright, I enhanced it with dark shadows beyond and did the same with his left hip.

How I paint nudes (part 1 of 7?)

What I'm interested in is the light and shade, the colours of the flesh, the body shape. the anatomy, bones skin and muscle  The way the neck sits on the body and the head on the neck, the fullness and the boneyness, the shadows and the texture of the cloth the model is sitting on.
I studied life drawing one day a week as a student at Liverpool art college.  We studied anatomy from a book and were tested on it in the first term.  At first I thought "I hate anatomy"  But thanks to the one day a week life drawing sessions and the skeleton hanging in the corner it has been part of my life ever since.

More soon with another picture drawn or painted in another medium.  By the way I hope to mount an exhibition of these paintings soon so if you can help it would be great.  Anyway please get in touch and if you feel you would like to buy any of the pictures, make me an offer.  We can probably do business.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Goshawk chicks grow up

Week 1: Feeding - after stripping the feathers and bones from the prey,the parent feeds the meat to the chicks
Three weeks ago or so we had a lovely walk near the reptile centre near Lyndhurst.  At the centre they have a couple of nestcams.  One is of a pair of goshawks.  These are pretty rare in England and the location of the nest is a top secret, not even known to the people who are manning the reptile centre.  Anyway I loved the look of them so much that I decided to go back and draw them (from the nestcam that is, the nest is up the top of an unknown tree!)  I brought my pastels to the nestcam.  It was interesting to hear the guides talking behind me as I drew and it was interesting to to learn a lot about the birds. I'm really proud of the results.  Four pastels.  Hope you like them.

Since then I have gone back twice and the chicks are now changed.  From little balls of white fluff they have changed into almost full grown birds.

You can see the nestcam live at:
.And that site can lead you to more information about goshawks.  The ones that I drew were probably related to a pair brought from Germany for falconry that then went wild and started a colony in the New Forest 
Week 1: Eager chicks wait for their food their adult feathers beginning to show in places.
Week 1 A chick flaps its very long fluffy white wings
Week !: The chicks wait for one of their parents
Week 2:  The chicks are much bigger now and have started to grow a few adult feathers particularly at the tail.
Week 2: Another drawing of the chicks a week later.
Another week later.  Now they have almost complete adult plumage and soon will start to fly

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jeanie shows you round her exhibition

Hi my exhibition "A lifetime of drawing children" is going well.  Lots of lovely comments.  Thank you everyone.  Anyway Nick and I have made a Youtube video where I show you around the pictures.  It's the first time I have  done any editing work on putting a video together.  Hope you take a look. You can click on it above and see it full screen by clicking on the "box corner" thing at the bottom right of the pic. Love  Jeanie

PS:  Hoping to do another vid soon talking about how I set about drawing children and giving a demo and the original non-moving website is still here

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A lifetime of drawing children - Jeanie's exhibition

Hi Jeanie has a new exhibition up in Minstead Church - it's called "A lifetime of Drawing Children.  It shows 40 or so of the hundreds of drawings of children she has done in her lifetime.  The church exhibition will come down before Palm Sunday (April 13) the online version will stay until google goes bust.  (Is that judgement day?)

Here's the link.  

Take a look and let us know what you think

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Birth of Abstraction

Playing the "Abstraction" drawing game

  The pictures above are the result of playing the “Abstraction Game” at a family party. This game fascinates me as it lets you see an abstraction develop from a simple picture. It is like “Chinese Whispers” where a circle of people each copy their neighbours drawing without looking at the original. The differences between the first and last picture (there were ten pictures in all) are amazing, but you can follow each feature through the series.

Above is the complete sequence. Below is the final picture with annotation so you can follow the various features through the series.
 The results are much more interesting if you do not give the game away too early in the drawing. For this picture I started with the front knee and then down to the boot. I didn’t put the head in until towards the end as it would give the game away. It is a self portrait of me acting the part of the doctor in our Mummer's play (English Folk art.)  You can watch the changes on the video that is at the end of the post. (coming shortly!!) Or study them in the picture above.
.In this example the drawing starts with a man running and drinking and ends up as an abstract pattern. The head loses all importance but the front boot looms large. Look at the result. All the main features are there throughout the series. Look at the forward leg and see how the boot gets elongated. The buttons of the tailcoat front are now pointing upward, the back foot is still there, but is now hanging off the front leg. At picture 6 the head is now near the top left.

How you play the game

We, as a family, love to draw and this is a favourite game we always play at parties. This is the result of our party last week in London. The group's ages ranged from 10 to 86.
We gather pens and paper and books to rest on and position our chairs in a circle or 'C' shape with paper over books resting on our knees. Don't allow erasers as there is no rubbing out. Arrange the chairs so everyone can see and copy their right hand neighbour's drawing. Ask everyone to number their paper on the top left corner so the order does not get lost at the end. Numbering should start with the leader as 1, the next person as 2 and so on. Numbering at the top left also helps with getting the paper the right way up.
Ask if everyone can you see their neighbour's picture, then start. The leader draws a simple picture bit by bit so that the subject of the drawing does not become obvious too early in the game. As soon as the leader has drawn a line the left hand neighbour copies it and the copying continues all through the group. Left handed people need take care their hand does not block their neighbours view. The original should be simple like a cat on a mat, the cat and the fiddle, cow jumps over the moon, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, etc. and should not be abstract.

Similar effects on old coins

In ancient coin making, I've been told when a new batch was needed they would take an existing well-worn coin and copy it. Then when that batch needed renewing, they would do the same again, copy the existing well-worn coins and make a new batch, by then the image had altered and the original design become obscured. The design of the original coin showed a king's head on one side and a horse on the other. After centuries of wear and several copies being made the design looks nothing like the original and now looks like a series of blobs and lines in an abstract pattern.

The coins shown coins from, the Hunter collection Glasgow and Andrew McCabe on Flickr. The coin design originated in the Macedonian empire of Alexander and were used throughout the Roman and Celtic worlds.Top is a Roman coin at the bottom a Celtic one from the South of England.

Help us find a website of coins and show us your pictures

 We cannot find a website that follows the changes in design of these through from the original. Can anyone help? Also I'd like to see any series of pictures you produce playing the abstraction game.
Jeanie Mellersh. Jan 2014

PS our first ebook coming soon!

We are starting experimenting with e-books and one of Nick Mellersh's pantomimes "Snow White of the South Seas" will be available soon on the ibook store.  Download is free at the moments so be sure to grab a copy before Nick learns how to charge people.

Exhibition "60 Years of Drawing Children".

We are preparing an exhibition of Jeanie's children's drawings that will be on show in Minstead Church in February.  Be sure to come.  Watch this space for more announcements.