Over the past few months, Andrew Holmes has been further developing his figure drawings.
When possible, Andrew enjoys joining a life drawing group as this provides an opportunity to share the same space and ideas with other artists.
Based in West London, the sessions attract an eclectic and multinational group of people from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds. All have varied styles and skills and nobody is there to cast judgement.
Short five or ten minute poses start the evening off, allowing the artists to focus. Andrew says it is helpful initially to look for the basic shapes when time is limited. These are very useful short studies and frequently this time restriction can produce livelier work than the longer thirty-minute sessions.
In addition, models can adopt more challenging poses over a short period without drifting from their initial position; holding a physical shape over a half hour requires a sitter to have considerable stamina and the artists appreciate this.
Some models are students or budding actors who use the sessions to help build confidence, but others choose to sit for drawing purely because they share an interest in art.
Andrew’s practice is centred on an interest in painting and a curiosity in how contextualisation influences our perception and intellectual judgement of art.
These sketches form part of the preparatory work he hopes to discuss in more depth soon.
Over recent months, Andrew has further explored some earlier ideas of bathers on paper.
Initially only intended to be studies for the bather subjects on panel, as Andrew explored various mediums, this became an interesting process where several pieces have evolved into “stand alone” works.
Owner and Art Curator, Rebecca Crow opened the Jack House Gallery this weekend in Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK .
The new, Contemporary Art Gallery situated in the Old Town area, close to the Cathedral and just set back from the waterfront, launched their first show on Saturday 4th of April with works by the much travelled artist, Amartey Golding.
In preparation for any project, before committing to canvas or board, initial studies and sketches, using alternative mediums or methods are a common tool to help an artist consider a subject in more depth. This can help develop ideas and to liberate process, keeping the work fresh and engaging, without restrictions of expectation, minimising storage space and material costs.
However, by providing yourself a brief – limiting the palette, working to an unfamiliar scale or using large brushes – perspectives and ideas are examined in preparation for a new body of work. These are just a few of the ways to help develop technique.
It requires patience to search for your own expression or interpretation and although this may seem indulgent, encourages new observations which helps the work advance and valuable lessons are learned in the process. There are countless ways to approach a new idea and as a consequence not many artists achieve early nights or sleep in late!
Although the journey is frequently frustrating, examination of a subject demands this inquiry and perseverance. At times what first appears a failure reaps unexpected rewards, but not in every case.
Drawers of half completed work, not deemed worthy of further appraisal, are hidden away or even destroyed, never to be viewed – necessary at the time but no longer relevant.
As Andrew strives to further expand the abstract in an image and with several studies in mind, a considerable body of these sketches are accumulating and so an edit is looming.
Before being relegated to history, here are a couple of saved examples. We hope these might look interesting ‘tipped on’ behind glass.
Every week in West London, a life drawing group meet in a room above a pub to draw together.
The people who attend are from varied walks of life, spanning all ages, using whatever medium they prefer, to practice their life drawing and sharing this common interest. There is no judging of ability or style.
The group of sketchers includes artists, a handful of architects, actors, students building up portfolios, and in particular, one elderly lady who always makes the journey whatever the weather. No matter how knowledgable or experienced each sketcher is, sharing their interest and simply accessing this inclusive group is invaluable.
Mary Drummond, owner of the Dornie Schoolhouse Gallery in Scotland, has selected some of Andrew’s work to show over the coming months.
This is a small gallery tucked away in the Highlands of Scotland on the banks of Loch Long, within walking distance of Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic images of the Highlands.
Here are two oil on canvas – canal studies by Andrew, painted after a trip away with friends on their narrowboat. On a cold morning in February, the view of the dawn mist over the water on the Kennet and Avon Canal was stunning.