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Life Artist Review :


Our Member On Review

Artist Name : Brian Murphy.


Membership Type : Life Artist : Reg N° 0338

A Member Since : March 2014

Location : Hythe. Kent.

Email : pastelandcharcoal@gmail.com

Description :
A Kent based life Artist.
Charcoal and pastel his preferred media.


I am a self-taught artist with a lifetime passion for drawing and painting. My subject interests are eclectic but, over the past several years, I have developed a particular interest in life drawing. Working mainly in charcoal and pastel, my preferred style reflects a fondness for chiaroscuro.

Arguably, the finest examples of this technique can be found in the work of Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. To them objects were defined not by lines but by form and cast shadows. (A form shadow is the shadow which occurs on the unlit side of an object. It gradually darkens as light is lost. A cast shadow is, as the name implies, the absence of light on a surface adjacent to the lit object.)

The images shown in this review have been produced using a mid-tone paper (Fabriano Tiziano 700 x 500 ) and varying grades of black charcoal and white pastel. In each case the subject was illuminated by a single light source. I find a simple continuous lighting unit of the kind used by photographers to be ideal. The ambient lighting was kept as low as possible but, in some cases, a reflector or low luminance secondary light was needed to lift the unlit side of the figure. Drawing in low light conditions generally involves the use of a suitable easel light. The daylight lamp supplied by Jackson Art (http://www.jacksonsart.com/blog/2013/12/06/daylighteasel-lamp-offer/) is ideal as it’s possible to direct almost all its output onto the drawing board, keeping the scene free of any unwanted light. (I promise I’m not on commission!)


nude artwork by Brian Murphy
nude artwork by Brian Murphy
nude artwork by Brian Murphy

As chiaroscuro can be a little slow, I often produce a series of gesture drawings and develop these later with the help of a reference photo. A photo, of course, can be particularly helpful for recording dynamic poses which may be difficult for the model to hold for any length of time. Most continuous lighting units used in photography come supplied with fluorescent low energy bulbs. These are fine for photography but depressingly cold for life drawing work.


artist brian murphy

High output LED lights produce a much warmer effect and are generally far more suitable. However, when taking a photo under an LED light, the camera white balance should be set to incandescent. I use manual mode and an ISO of 200, adjusting the exposure by trial end error rather than relying on the camera’s exposure meter. A photo, of course, is no substitute for a drawing. A well executed gesture drawing is essential.

If you feel there is merit in my work and fancy an afternoon in Whistable, Kent, I shall be exhibiting at the Fishslab Gallery 8 - 15 March 2016 and at the Horsebridge Gallery 26 October - 1 November 2016. Please do come along. It would be great to meet you. May I end this review by saying thank you to the many life models who appear on this site. Their skill, patience and creativity make life drawing such an enormously fulfilling experience for those of us who have the privilege of working with them. They’re brilliant!


Thank You for viewing my review page.
Best Regards. Brian Murphy...
Contact email pastelandcharcoal@gmail.com





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