The Deposition, Part 16
Ok, the focus is on the right hand man and his pose. I am keeping his right arm wrapped around the crucified man’s thighs and working with the left hand and it’s grip. Not that convinced (despite of the red chalk’s beauty) about the pose. I am missing the weight carrying and also not happy about an almost dance like step he’s doing. More work required.
Drawing 17, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 15
Perhaps it was for the best not positioning the model exactly in the pose required, as it gave me a need to come up with a different composition. The left figure is now kneeling / crouching which freed up some space for the right hand side figure. This one now has enough space for movement so it doesn’t have to stand all the way upright. Working with the interlocking of the limbs. Suddenly it seems there are too many even without the crucified man’s right leg. Also need to bring the legs further over the right hand man’s shoulder. They almost need to sit.
Disregarding the inaccuracies and anatomical blunders, I think the left hand figure is headed in the right direction. I need to work out the right hand man’s grip on the legs though. I like the right arm wrapped around the thighs, it’s the left one that needs a thought. And I need to reshuffle his feet. Hmmm…
Drawing 16, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 14
Reworking the figure drawn from life to fit my needs and making variations on the head looking upward. I think the leaning back of the middle figure (the one leaning back) in the bottom row could be a start of something else.
Drawing 15, Silverpoint, Red and Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 13
So, the time has arrived for the first model session, and, well, the body looks much more believable than the made up ones, however, in the excitement of having a model I don’t watch the lack of struggle in the pose. I believe I can still save some of the gained study though.
Drawing 14, Silverpoint and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 12
In this drawing I am pulling together the parts I have so far thought of as fitting the image, the composition, the elements that (simply put) I just like for no apparent logical or intellectual / conceptual reason. You could say that I attempt to balance a centre line curling somewhere between the conscious and unconscious fields of landscape. Is that good? Is that the way to do it? Frankly, I have no idea. I am just going by a mixture of self criticism and a feeling of satisfaction. I know, self criticism, right? Well, let’s see where it leads. ;–))
So, still working without the use of any models, I just use whatever knowledge I have accumulated, which often leaves a fair bit to be desired in terms of realism, anatomy and proportion.
Here, I draw the right hand man using his both arms to support the crucified body. I got the legs on his shoulder, however, still undecided whether he should be looking up at the figure he is supporting or focus on the irrefutable force of the ground – gravity.
The left hand man’s posture is a mixture of the last few versions and as it feels a bit lukewarm, I do another version of him on the left making him more dedicated and also I tilt his head up, watching what’s coming down.
The crucified man’s legs are still not worked out. His right leg just disappears mysteriously.
And, yet again, I get sucked in and work way before it would make sense on the two heads.
Drawing 13, Red Chalk, 60 x 42cm
The Deposition, Part 11
Working out the position of the figure on the left turning it more towards us. The position of the hand, elevation of the shoulders to convey the lifting effort, rotation and inclination of the head to support the movement…
Also on the left I turn the figure even more towards us and wonder whether he should be the one using both arms to support the legs. Decisions…
Drawing 12, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 10
So this is a new version of three figures combination. I have modified a little the figure on the right to have more of “tripod” stance, which could work now that I have turned around the kneeling figure on the left. This one is also tucked under the crucified figure trying to carry the bulk of the weight while the figure on the right balances him out.
Drawing 11, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 9
Building on the previous one I think the bearer of weight needs to get under the lowered body, using his own structure to support the weight – the hands would not be able to cope.
But first I am trying out (the black chalk in the top left) to swap the bodies in function. What if the initially kneeling down man was standing and the other one, on the right would be holding the other leg (red chalk figure in the lower left). But that just looks like he is walking away carrying something.
So I return to the original idea, (red chalk lower right) slide the man under the legs a bit more, use the other arm to support the lowered body. This gives me a nice rhythm of continuation but before I could stop myself, I start filling in details. This is a classic example of getting sucked in by detail before the structure is good. The result is less than desired. Ah well, tomorrow is another day.
Drawing 10, Black and Red Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 8
I am trying to work out a possible pose for a third person in the picture. This one would be on the right hand side helping the lowering of the crucified body. I am thinking of ways a person would hold up a body. Moving it around in my mind, imagining what would be an instinctual way of doing the job based on simple body mechanics and physics like gravity. And then the grip on the foot, of course, which brought about a third person in the first place. I try several options. I think, in terms of believability, the middle one is the best for now.
Drawing 9, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 7
Ok, so I am trying to clarify the pose here, I have redrawn it larger to allow more detail. I am keeping the sagging head – on the right I am working out how far could the head slump, trying to see under what angle would the face be seen from the front. This leads to another urgent thought of deciding on the angle of the view – on the viewer’s position. Hmmmm…. I might have to loose the face altogether. Clarified the position of the arms a bit further, added a bit of anatomy – although I do not want to spend time on details until I have worked out the composition of the figures. Tempting though.
The other thing I did here, I moved the crucified body further over to give it a sense of being pushed upwards. So the pelvis goes up and the rib cage is allowed to sink deeper to point out the body hanging off of the arms.
The body supporting the legs from below, I am afraid, had lost a bit of the spontaneous energy of improvising the lift. So little is enough to change the expression.
Also, the sweeping position of the crucified man’s legs are not logical, but I keep hanging onto them. There’s something about them I like. Might have to add another figure to use the position of those feet. Would be logical, two men would be better suited to hold up a body. Hmmm…yet another possible direction.
Drawing 8, Black Chalk, 60 x 42cm
The Deposition, Part 6
Here I moved the crucified figure further up (up the missing cross – I don’t think I want to be literal – so no cross, but let’s see how it pans out), drew the arms higher, changed the position of the legs – bending them the other way – keeping their sweeping position as if still touching the ground, but now as I brought the figure higher up I am allowing space for another figure to hold the legs. I quite like the kneeling figure being out of balance trying to hold up the crucified man’s legs. There is a nice distribution of weight flowing through from the bottom to the top, quite satisfying rhythm of the arms holding the legs. Feels quite believable – as if someone seeing the crucified man just ran up, threw himself kneeling on the ground to catch the sagging body and trying to hold it up until someone else releases the arms so the body can be lowered. Would be good to keep it this interplay.
Drawing 7, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 5
Yesterday’s drawing seems to work well. Here, I am making a new version of the pose where the descent has already begun. The arms are being lowered, the head is more fallen suggesting a “letting go”. The legs are touching the ground, again relaxed and powerless (already suggested in the previous drawing), however the raised shoulders and the arms are offering some resistance to lifelessness, being in a hovering, suspended pose.
Drawing 6, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 4
No, it’s still not quite right, the previous drawings just don’t work for me. Then I decide to take the historical flow a step back and instead of using the imagery of a Pieta I look at crucifixion itself. I have to say while it is amazingly engaging to draw out of one’s mind in a “doodle” mode, it is quite a different thing to know what one wants in a general direction – a crucified body, then adding to it the “doodle” ingredient for working out the position of the body in one’s mind before actually drawing it while looking for an expression via the body language, remember it all, then combine the whole image with anatomical knowledge one can remember and only then start drawing. Quite a mental workout.
Drawing 5, Black Chalk, 42 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 3
Somehow the previous drawings did not work for me with the expression they offered. I decided to change the pose and tried a “brian storming” sketch session without much care for accuracy or anatomical detail.
Drawing 3 and 4, Graphite, 21 x 15cm
The Deposition, Part 2
In this drawing I am making variations of the initial Pieta to see what it does. I felt drawn more to the less finished pose from the initial drawing. In an attempt to clarify the position of the bodies I also drew them as if seen from above. Hmmm….
Drawing 3, Red Chalk, 30 x 30cm
The Deposition, Part 1
A sculptor mentor of mine (Rasto Trizma) suggested some time ago I should consider crossing over from just making studies (studying) to actually start making artwork. To his suggestion, of course, I replied:
“But I do not know enough yet. There’s still too much to learn.”
He looked at me and said:
“In that case, you will never start. There will always be something you haven’t learnt yet. You know enough, start and if you come across something you don’t know, you’ll learn it in the process of making the piece.”
So in several upcoming posts I will document my approach to making a drawing I have designed from imagination. At certain points along the way I used a model to work out anatomical details. I will mark those drawings. I spent on average 2 – 3 hrs per day (7 days a week) for the last 6 weeks on preparatory studies and the drawing itself. It is not done yet, but it seems to me, by the time I will have published the related drawings it will be complete.
Quite a few years ago I made a few pen and ink drawings without a model where a kind of a Pieta emerged. I kept the drawing, even though I did not return to the religious theme until just now. I used this drawing as an inspiration for the current piece.
Drawing 1 & 2, Pen and Ink, 25 x 18cm
Black Chalk on paper, 42 x 30 cm
Silverpoint, pen and ink on paper, 42 x 30 cm
Red Chalk on paper, 42 x 30 cm
Black Chalk on paper, 42 x 30 cm