Monday, 3 October 2011


In my last few posts I've chatted rather a lot about my time maxin & relaxin in Florence with my chum Lavinia. In fact, not 'maxin & relaxin' terribly much as we spent our days at Charles Cecil art school on a pretty intense course, but that is beside the point. Maxin & relaxin or not - were were certainly in Florence - surrounded by Italian folk.
As I've explained, the art school teaches the 'sight-size' drawing technique - a traditional method of observing the subject to attain great accuracy when drawing from life. Most fascinating. We spent 3 hours every morning on a life drawing (the snaps of which I've put on a previous post) & 3 hours every afternoon for two weeks drawing from plaster casts. Lovely white plaster cast heads. Heads of funny looks chaps, generally.
I say 3 hours each day, but in fact it was more like 2 & a half hours...long coffee breaks were seriously required.

In order to begin a drawing using the sight-size technique, the canvas must be set up in a rather particular manner. The piece of paper on the board must be in line with the cast & at a very particular height according to the height of the artist.

To carry out the drawing, the artist must stand AT LEAST 8 foot away from the canvas. 


So, you stand AT LEAST 8 feet back, look, consider, measure, analyse, & so on...and then walk up to the canvas, make a mark, before returning to the same spot AT LEAST 8 feet away to look, consider, measure, analyse & so on, the next mark to make. 
Yes, pretty intense & quite frankly - pretty exhausting. One.Small.Mark.At.A.Time.

Here are some photos of my first ever 'sight-size' cast drawing. As the days progressed. It's Dante!

Day 1 (2 1/2 hours down) :
Day 2 (5 hours down) :
Day 3 (7 1/2 hours down) :
Day 4 (10 hours down) :
Day 5 (12 1/2 hours) :

Week Two. My second 12 hour cast drawing...! Some worried looking fisherman chap.
 Day 1 :
 Day 2 :
 Day 3 :
 Day 4 :

Day 5 :

And that's that with the white heads. It's such a great discipline - I bloody love it (in retrospect - at the time I was literally tearing my hair out). I'm keen to set up an easel with a plaster cast at home so I can keep working on the technique, but am finding it hard to find a spot in my house with a space of AT LEAST 8 foot to work with! Hopefully I'll sort something out. 
(Get rid of the kitchen table? Ideal.)

1 comment:

  1. What about a white head ... you might require to own one of those too ... it looks wonderful. Though I don't think I'd have so much patience myself. 2 hours is enough to get me bored of the subject for me.