Artist Name : Brian Murphy.
Membership Type : Life Artist : Reg N° 0338
A Member Since : March 2014
Location : Hythe. Kent.
Email : email@example.com
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
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
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.
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!
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