Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Nike, Part 1

Torso in purple and cream, on dark purple backgroundI was brought up to appreciate the sort of art based around Greek sculpture, and prominently popular during the Renaissance. That explains why I like drawing naked women. Well, that and… I just like drawing naked women. I also like painting forms, and so recently I have been returning to that old love of mine.

I was practising modelling in light and shade; I took a dark background and added highlights everywhere that flesh should come forwards. I added more where it came forward more, until the slightly murky figure emerged. The lights on the breasts are wrong, which is annoying, but I know where I went wrong there. If the skin were mirrors, then you could see the light source, and here is a secret; the skin is a mirror. It is just a very very bad one. The lights are brightest where they reflect most from the source, and not where the moulding is closest to us.

However, as something drawn entirely from my imagination, I have little complaint. I know how to repair it.

Rendered pencil sketch of winged NikeInspired in part by having drawn what looked like shattered marble, I toddled off to my nearby Cast Museum, which is freely open to the public, and spent several hours in contemplation of a bronze Nike. The winged spirit of victory had a few things in its favour; its position was good, the bronze was clear and acted as a less diffuse mirror than marble, and the face was well shadowed. In the ‘con’ column, there is wet-look drapery. My ultimate aim here was to reduce the forms to lines, and I was making my work far more difficult by choosing a draped figure. By choosing complicated clothing, I was mocking myself with monkey pants.

I really enjoyed the drawing, which took me about four hours in total, and allowed me the chance to walk around the room in my leg-stretching moments. Then I took the drawing home and spoiled it, for a certain value of spoiled.

Rendered pencil sketch of winged Nike, with reinforced linesI reinforced all of the edges and significant drapery I could find with heavy lines, so that I could trace them without error. It makes it into a different sort of picture, and has something of the Mucha to it. It did make me wonder whether he did his lines first, or did his masses and then outlined them, which I had never thought of before.

Then I sent out my invitations to Drawing Inspiration and then I found a typo in the eMail. Such is life.