The Big Picture

This year the BIG PICTURE chosen by Lucy Parker, our instructor, was WORK by Ford Madox Brown 1852- 1863. Many members of the Dupont Art Club met on May 25th, 2017 to choose and paint a square of this complex piece. It was a fun day and learning experience as Ford was a very skilled  artist and draftsman which we tried to emulate. Wickopedia gives an excellent description of this famous work.

“Work (1852–1865) is a painting by Ford Madox Brown that is generally considered to be his most important achievement. It exists in two versions. The painting attempts to portray, both literally and analytically, the totality of the Victorian social system and the transition from a rural to an urban economy. Brown began the painting in 1852 and completed it in 1865, when he set up a special exhibition to show it along with several of his other works. He wrote a detailed catalogue explaining the significance of the picture.

The painting was commissioned by Thomas Plint, a well-known collector of Pre-Raphaelite art, who died before its completion.[1] A second version, smaller at 684 × 990 mm, was commissioned in 1859 and completed in 1863. This is now in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It is closely similar, though for the lady with a blue parasol the face of Maria Leathart, the commissioner’s wife, replaces that of Mrs Brown in the Manchester version.[2]

The picture depicts a group of so-called “navvies” digging up the road to build an underground tunnel. It is typically assumed that this was part of the extensions of London’s sewerage system, which were being undertaken to deal with the threat of typhus and cholera. The workers are in the centre of the painting. On either side of them are individuals who are either unemployed or represent the leisured classes. Behind the workers are two wealthy figures on horseback, whose progress along the road has been halted by the excavations.[3]

The painting also portrays an election campaign, evidenced by posters and people carrying sandwich boards with the name of the candidate “Bobus”. A poster also draws attention to the potential presence of a burglar.[4]

The setting is an accurate depiction of The Mount on Heath Street in Hampstead, London, where a side road rises up above the main road and runs alongside it. Brown made a detailed study of the location in 1852.”

Following are photos of our group painting this BIG PICTURE.

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Life Drawing Deomonstration

Life Drawing
On March 1st Dupont art instructor, Caroline Marsland gave us a lecture and demonstration on life drawing.
She started out by advising us that we need to decide at the beginning what we want to say in the picture. We can be accurate, want to accentuate certain features, show certain emotions, etc.
She recommends that we do several quick sketches first before doing a large drawing.
Look at the general shape of the figure. Don’t start with the head. Draw the shape of the back, the shoulder placements along with the hips, and legs. See if you can see shapes in the body. identify points on the body to line them up accurately, look at angles of these shapes.
Perspective is important with accurate drawing. A child’s body if approximately five times the size of it’s head while a man’s is seven times the size of the head. There are three heads size to the waist and hands fall to the thighs. For head measurement, from the palm of your hand to your finger tips are usually the measurement from the chin to just above the eyebrow.
Look at negative shapes to assist with accuracy. Build up shadows for shape. Squint for these shadows. Always step back from your drawing to judge the accuracy.
In order to judge the size, hold your pencil out with a straight arm against the part of the distant  body you are drawing and compare it to other parts.
Use any paper which has tooth to it. Charcoal and chalk are dramatic and charcoal and watercolour work well together. She warned us that some of the charcoal sticks available now are quite scratchy. She recommends the Windsor and newton ones  give a smooth finish.
This workshop is a precursor to an all day workshop which Caroline will be giving to Dupont members in June, 2017.

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Mixed Media Demonstration

Caroline Marsland demonstrated the use of mixed media to the Dupont Art Club  class on January 18th, 2017
It is important to chose the media to match the painting. Layering is the key to mixed media.
She pointed out that almost anything can be used in a this type of painting.
Suggestions for the first layer could be regular or water colour paper which could be painted, layered in tissue which is glued on, or use of old maps, newspapers, fabric, canvas, wood, metals, old books, etc.
Layered materials which can be used are all types of paints, inks, pens, pencils, charcoal, pastels, chalks, waxes, as well as fabrics, pieces of wood, leaves, wire, modelling paste used with stencils, etc.
In her demonstration, she chose a photo of a Maori painted face which she drew and layered with stick charcoal using a child’s birthday wax candle to highlight the eyes and added water colour to the face. She glued on hessian for the hair and painted it black.
She encouraged everyone to search online for demos using mixed media to find new ideas and other sources of inspiration.

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