My First Nude!

It was only a matter of time, when I started drawing and painting a few months ago, before I came up against my nemesis; drawing and painting from still life, particularly the human figure, and, very particularly, a nude.

As you may recall, my art teacher at school was frequently heard to utter the words "Emma, draw what you see, not what you think you see!" and I was perpetually confused as to what she meant.  I understood there was some kind of processing problem going on as what I drew on the page didn't look anything like what I was seeing before me, but I couldn't figure out what the David Dickenson I was doing wrong.

For the past few months I have gainfully avoided drawing figures wherever possible, and when I have taken the plunge, I've elongated them and played with them, to make them look cartoonish.

My butterfly boy was my first attempt to get bodily proportions right, and when he didn't look like something Picasso had painted during his cubist era, I was pleased.

Today I decided to face down the dragon and draw a nude.  From a photo, you understand.  It's been below freezing here in the UK and to ask a friend to strip down to the billy-buff for my art just seemed cruel. Although a good friend did volunteer...  Maybe next time.


I was focused on her back and buttocks to see if I could get the light and shade right without too much detail, so I'm aware her hair looks like a woolly hat my nan used to wear in the 70's and her toes are a bit weird, but overall I think she's not too shabby.

I'm still working on my adult male butterfly dude.  This nude was my attempt to start getting body proportions right before cracking on with him.  I'll post him as soon as he's done.

How is your weekend going?  It's been snowing here.  Eric and Ernie are disgusted with the weather, although watching Ernie slip on a patch of ice as he trotted down the garden path trying to look dignified did make me smile.

I hope you're warm and snuggly wherever you are.


A Butterfly Dude!

After my last post, my Significant Other, Steve, asked me if I'd paint a boy butterfly to fly with my girl butterfly. I know. He's gorgeous.

Having never painted a boy, ever, I didn't know if I could do it.

Painting female features feels easier to me. Eyelashes, rosy cheeks, red lips. We're good to go. I wasn't sure how to capture male features. I decided to start by painting a little boy, as I figured male and female children's features aren't that different from each other.

I also decided to make this a heavier mixed media piece to see if I could handle Caran D'Ache water soluble pastels and Inktense watersoluble pencils. I've used them before, but only the lighter colours in small doses. I wanted to see how they worked on larger spaces, blended with Tombow brush pens and watercolour paints.. I also wanted to use some words cut from a vintage encyclopedia I have.  Printed in the 1930's the text and paper quality is gorgeous and I wanted to add it to the painting.

Here he is.  He's called Arabis, and he's a butterfly flower nymph.  Mainly because my 1930's encyclopedia had those words in it.  I was hoping for "Joy", "Hope" and "Love" but no joy.  Literally.

Arabis is a little flower that flourishes in the tiny corners of rock gardens.  That made me smile.

My next drawing challenge is to try and paint an adult dude.  With butterfly wings that suit him.  This is no mean feat.  I'll let you know how it's going and will share him with you as soon as he's finished.  If you have any good tips on how to draw and paint male figures, they'd be very gratefully received! Again, huge thanks in advance.

I hope all is good with you?


Sending smiles,
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