The Deposition, Part 36
Another small adjustment to the crucified man’s head and then fine tuning his body, partly reworking and partly adding more details to the head and face of the right hand side man. Continuing down his body. I think it might start to work.
Drawing 37, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 35
When will I learn? So, the last two days I spent all this time trying the work out the face and while I am buried in the details I forget about the general position of the head on the neck. No wonder it looked weird – to say the least.
So now a complete rework of the head position and even though it’s still a bit off, it belongs much more to the body. Also what happened is, this head is not dead. It’s not crucified. It’s not hanging lifelessly, you could almost say it is contemplating something. And…well….I quite like that. Hmmm….happy accidents?
Drawing 36, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 34
Clarifying the crucified man’s body further and continue down the disaster path with his head. Ok, this is just not working.
Drawing 35, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 33
Adding more details across the board. But, as I do, I realise, I will not be able to maintain my initial decision to leave the crucified man’s face empty. I did not want him to have any features. Did not want to make a statement by the man’s features. However leaving him featureless is actually making a bigger statement that just giving him a face. So, without any preparations I start making up a face…and…well, I cannot say I am happy with it.
I also continue the work on the background blending, and with that, the eternal dance of value adjustments.
Drawing 34, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 32
As I did the background blending the values have shifted slightly. For example the insertion point of Pectoralis Major under the Deltoideus on the crucified man’s left arm (right arm from our point of view) lost the contrast it had in the drawing from the day before yesterday. This, of course, has happened across the whole drawing, I am just pointing out this insertion as a specific point.
So, a new value remapping is happening with adding more details to the topmost man’s body.
Drawing 33, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 31
This entire progress shot is dedicated to the crucified man’s body and background blending. I went as far as mostly swapping the outlines. What I mean is, in the previous version the outlines of the man’s shoulders and arms were created by a line. In this version the line melts into the background and the background itself creates the outline. The process of doing this needs to follow the light as it is designed in the drawing. For example I apply the blending much more on the lit side of the arms (the top of them) and as I travel vertically from top to bottom of the arm the outline creation reverses and so there’s a line again at the bottom of them.
Drawing 32, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 30
As I work my way across the crucified man’s body from right to left, I also include the background immediately behind the body. Now this is a bit tricky, because I do not want to flatten the image by rendering the immediate space behind the man as a drop shadow. What I want is to make the space behind and around him to be part of him. Let’s see if I can manage that.
I have done a basic value layout for the right hand side man’s right forearm and did a bit more work on his head and facial expression. I constantly feel I should have done more preparatory drawings. But…where do you draw the line?
Oh, and finally, I was able to take a better photo of the drawing, so the blue tone looks almost correct. ;–))
Drawing 31, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 29
Now all the stops are removed and patience is used in a different manner. I no longer need to curb the desire to add more detail at will. In fact, once a basic block-in is done I like to choose at will which parts of the drawing I develop and which can wait. I suppose it may have something to do with a degree to which I can hold the whole image in my mind while working on a particular area. Then after some time I have to check whether I can still see the correct values. If I remain for a long time in one place, the values will start to average, the darks will start to appear not dark enough, the lights not light enough. For me, that is a good warning to shift attention to a different part of the drawing. Otherwise I run the risk of overdoing the values – that darks become too dark and the lights too light and it all goes to pieces.
Also, I changed the right hand side man’s head – I think it is in a better proportion now, and his left arm – there was a bit of a problem where his biceps becomes a tendon at the bottom.
Drawing 30, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 28
So, here we go. The first progress shot of the final drawing. I am using Fabriano Accademia paper with a blue toned gesso ground for the silverpoint to work. The blue doesn’t show that well, there wasn’t much light when I took the shot.
Drawing 29, Silverpoint and Red Chalk on prepared paper, 63 x 48cm
The Deposition, Part 27
What can I say. The thought took hold. So, the very last preparation drawing is about several variations on the fourth figure. Thinking about the pose here, the gesture, the drapery / clothing…the bloody lot. ;–))
Anyway, no more delays, no more preparations, I’ll start on the final drawing. I’ll keep the fourth figure in mind and let’s see how it pans out. Very, very excited.
Drawing 28, Silverpoint and White Chalk on prepared paper, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 26
You remember how I was wondering about that diagonal created by the interplay of the three bodies in Part 21? Well, here’s the result. I think it might need a fourth body to balance it out nicely. It will have to be subdued though, otherwise the drawing will get too busy. Just a thought what it may be below.
Drawing 27, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 25
One more test for the left arm as it presses down on the crucified man’s lower left leg. And also a bit of a facial expression study. Hmmmm….I quite like the blending of the silverpoint and the red chalk. I think I might stick to these two and I think it would work well on a cold (blue) prepared background. Not long now and I start the real thing.
Drawing 26, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 24
Still drawn from the model. Here are a couple of studies for the left hand side man’s torso and his right arm holding up the crucified man’s right leg. I am also testing a bit of rotation of the torso. Wondering what would serve the composition better. To see more of the back or more of the side. More decisions to make. Hmmm…
Drawing 25, Black and Red Chalk, Pen and Ink, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 23
Model time! Now, here are two studies of the crucified man’s left leg. There a few problems here. Since I did not ask the model to climb a cross, he had to stand on his right leg. So, I will still have to make up the position and rotation of the pelvis and the only relatively usable parts of these studies are parts of the left leg and perhaps some of the folds created by crossing the leg as it pushes on both the external oblique and rectus abdominis. There’s also quite a difference in how the sartorius practically disappears as the leg is pushed further over. The second problem is, the lower leg is not in the same position as it will be in the drawing (and I could have put it there!!!), so, again, the groove of the fasciae latae and the bulging of the quadriceps will have to be somewhat invented. Mr Richer, here I come…
Drawing 24, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 22
Invariably I am drawn to focus more on the body of the crucified man than on the two figures supporting him. He was a bit neglected while working out the lower two poses. I really like the position of the two hands of the crucified man. A palms up palms down variation. I do not know why is it working for me and I am sure I could come up with some intellectual justification of the connection between heaven and earth, an “as above, so below”, but that’s not how it came about. It just worked instinctive level from the get go. There was an early variation in Part 4 ( BTW I love the play of the shoulders on that one ) and then from Part 6 it remained unchanged. I feel there will also be a play with the foregound / background blending / standing out of this body.
As the composition starts to settle I am really noticing the anatomical shortcomings and do the three arm studies looking at my own arms in a mirror. We have all been there and know how much attention so needed for the drawing itself goes out the window as cramps set in holding the pose. But…better than nothing. Time to make an appointment with the model. Woohoo!
Drawing 23, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 60 x 42cm
The Deposition, Part 21
In all previous drawings, as I progressed from one sheet of paper to the next I pretty much stayed within the same scale with the figures. Tried to avoid scaling up or down as just another variable I don’t have to worry about. I only realised this now and I believe I was quite lucky that I used a larger paper when drawing one of the earliest double figured images (Part 7) and could just stay with the same scale as I progressed.
So, larger drawing, now with the 3 figures. The diagonal is nagging at me. There might be another figure in this picture that hasn’t materialised as yet. Hmmm…
Drawing 22, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 60 x 42cm
The Deposition, Part 20
So I got some light going…and….I am disappointed. It’s a bit of a mess. Way too busy. No priorities. But the problem does no lie with the arrangement of the limbs. It lies with the lack of attention directing using light and possibly colour. That sends me off on yet another tangent (will all the tangets ever come together?) – colour. I think I’ll use a blue tinted paper which will work well with the red chalk and possibly with silverpoint. In which case it will have to be a blue prepared paper to work with silverpoint.
But first things first. Need a larger version with the crucified man in the picture so I can see how it works with all the bodies in view.
Drawing 21, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 19
I am focusing here on adding a bit more detail to the drawing, adding some light to see how it all holds together. I think I’ll first just draw the two men holding up the body and then I might do the same with all three of them on a larger paper. These few drawings will then be my base for working out what I need to study from a model. I want to have at least one more model session to start clearing things up.
Drawing 20, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 18
On this sheet I am bringing back the left hand side figure and working out the interweaving of the limbs. The crucified man has found his right leg and pretty much sits on the right side man’s shoulder who is wrapping his arm around both of the legs. I think this might start to work. Ok I need a more detailed drawing now.
Drawing 19, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 17
Ok, now we’re talking. So I really like the progression of the pose from left to right. The right arm wrap remains a constant, but I swap the legs in the middle drawing and that gets rid of the dance move, the body sits on the shoulder, the arm wrap is lowered – true, the figure is very rigid / static, but it is a great stepping stone to the figure on the right. Two things happened. One, the left arm is raised and the grip to hold up the crucified man’s legs dramatically improves. Second, the pose shifts its centre of gravity and is almost pushing forward, which, considering the weight handled would be the case, since on the other side of this limp body is another man doing something very similar, so they kind of help each other pushing towards each other and up. Also like the mid step of the right hand side figure. It’s no dance, but it has the element of searching for stability. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Out of sheer excitement I quickly sketch my own hand resting on my thigh at the bottom of the sheet.
Drawing 18, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm