Thursday, 9 October 2014

Artistic Explorations: Drawing sculptures

On average I see my parents, who still live in the place where I was brought up in The Netherlands, about three times a year. But once a year I spend another couple of days with each of them individually, either in Holland or in Scotland. It's really great to be able to spend quality time with them like that. Recently I visited my dad who has the same interest in sports and art as me. I brought my sketching materials so that we could draw together somewhere. He suggested to go to Beelden Aan Zee Museum in Scheveningen ( and ). I had never been there before even though it was a stone's throw away from the office where I used work.

I was happily surprised to see that they recently renovated the promenade. A part of it was now only accessible for cyclists which gave it a very spacious, tranquil and clean atmosphere. From the promenade, in front of beach bistro De Waterreus, we could see lots of surfers and kitesurfers in action or arriving by bike (with their gear on the back and board in one hand). Walking further along to the Museum we were first welcomed by a fishermen's monument called  "De Scheveningse Vrouw" (= Woman of Scheveningen) created by Gerard Bakker and offcially installed in 1982.

"De Scheveningse vrouw" by Gerard Bakker
Then further along we saw the quirky Fairytale sculptures by American sculptor Tom Otterness (1952). 

Fairytale sculptures with "Herring eater" in background
by Tom Otterness ©Fenfolio2014

Me and fairytale figure ©G.Wolters 2014

Fairytale sculptures by Tom Otterness
In front of Beelden aan Zee Museum there was a beautiful sculpture of a face. The combination of the bright blue sky, the soft autumn light and the dune grass waving in the wind in front of it shaped the sculpture in the landscape beautifully!

"Light of the Moon" by Igor Mitoraj ©Fenfolio2014
The interior of the museum is very light and spacious and the first exhibition we saw was from the French sculptor and illustrator Henri Laurens (February 18, 1885 – May 5, 1954). Initially I was not very inspired by his work displayed here but when I saw a few smaller works my eye was drawn to one figure; "L'Aurore".

"L'Aurore" by Henri Laurens ©Fenfolio2014
My dad and I installed ourselves here and started drawing in our sketchbook. It was a really good exercise to try to get the tones right in order to have a realistic representation of the sculpture. I used a black charcoal pencil on A5 paper.

Sketch "L'Aurore" ©Fenfolio2014

Although it took quite some time to finish it (my dad produced three sketches in the same time!) I really enjoyed the process. I was so in the flow that I didn't notice a group of people were looking over my shoulder from the patio outside. When I realised I was being watched while drawing, I first got a bit of a shock but when they all smiled and one of them even gave me a big thumbs up, it felt really nice to have an audience!

After all this hard work it was time for a lunchbreak. You haven't experienced Scheveningen completely if you haven't eaten fresh fish at Henk Kraan!

Me eating fresh fish at Henk Kraan
©G.Wolters 2014
The second part of the day we chose to draw the almost real looking figures of French sculptor Daniel Firman (1966). For "Duo" he made a mould of a dancer's body, then that of another, juxtaposed with the first. After this first duo, he placed a third dancer beside the mould of the second, continuing in a similar way on the principle of the "exquisite corpse" until he had six duos. It resembles a set of photographs. Firman asks: "Can a sculpture be an image? Can an image be a sculpture?" 

"Duo" by Danile Firman, ©Fenfolio2014

"Duo" by Danile Firman, © Gallery Perrotin

"Duo" by Danile Firman, ©Fenfolio2014

I chose to draw the lying woman because of the nice tones and curves. This sketch was done in mainly white conté on A5 black paper. I really enjoyed the process of focussing on the light, dark and midtones of the dark grey sculpture and bringing out the body from the black paper.

Sketch in white and black conté on A5 black paper ©Fenfolio2014

The next day the weather was too beautiful to stay inside and we continued our drawing in my parents' garden. They have quite a few sculptures, but there is one in particular I have always admired: "Brain Drain" by Gladman Zinyeka from Zimbabwe.

"BrainDrain" by Gladman Zinyeka  ©Fenfolio2014

For the first time I used Canson Mi-Teintes paper which I bought recently. It comes in beautiful natural colours and the paper has a rough sandpapery texture. For this A3 drawing I used Cretacolour Chunky Charcoal and Graphite and sealed it with a few layers of SpectraFix. I think the stone of the sculpture comes out really well on this type of textured paper!

Drawing in charcoal and graphite on A3 Mi-Teintes paper

We finished off with a still life of a few zinc garden buckets we set up in the garden. This time I wanted to experiment with my new Derwent Graphic Line Painter. These are fine nibbed pens and contain waterbased pigment so you can make washes with it too. It took me a while to get familiar with them and some colours were better washing down than others for some reason, but after a while a started to feel more confident with this medium. 

Sketching "en plein air" ©Fenfolio2014

Still life of zinc garden buckets ©Fenfolio2014

Sketch with Derwent Graphic Line Painter pens and waterbrush

My wonderful mini holiday in Holland was over before I knew it. Time flies when you're having fun is what they say and it's absolutely true. I already look forward to our next drawing/painting/photography session together!