Bears in a window 1

by maggie

When I mentioned Bears in a window a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t thinking very hard about the subject – it was just another series of sketches in my Window book. But saying something about the motif, meant I was doing something about it, and over the weeks I‘ve discovered that I had a lot of assumptions about it that I hadn’t acknowledged.

Working through them, has (will) undoubtedly produced a better work, but it’s not going to be anything like what I thought it might be.

If we start at the beginning with actual bears and windows we have :

A little window in the outside wall of the back parlour, and on it’s window ledge, one of few in the house, lives a collection of wooden Russian bear (and rabbit) toys.

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my (edited) view from the breakfast table.

In 2013 I had a go at drawing them, because – interesting light shadow, and overcrowded shelf

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And there the bears (and rabbits) sat, until I worked up the courage to make a work a little more personal.

Then it got hard, because as these images sit the window is little more than a frame for the  crowd of bears. And I wanted the composition to work harder than that. I wanted the whole things to work harder than that but I didn’t quite know how…

If I know the size of the plate I could work from there, big enough,small enough to fit.

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bigger does not mean fatter, or quicker – it just magnifies the mistakes

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what are you concentrating on? the geometry of the window or the modelling of the bears?

So the composition wasn’t flowing well. Go back an have a proper look again. Try and pick things apart for why they aren’t working.

I like windows as a thing because:

  • you’ve got the whole inside / outside thing going on
  • passive or active looking
  • the actual physical window makes interesting patterns
  • perspective means they are not square, but you brain tells you they are
  • light and shadows
  • they are a people thing without actually having people in them
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This is a much more interesting composition, which sez more about the Bears on their window ledge.

Back to the drawing board.

And I haven’t even discussed how much I like the bear with his fur ruffs and matching accordion, or how hard it is to draw his snout face on. I’ve written so much text for this post I can’t remember what I’ve said or not.

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diamond window much more interesting – stop being boring

I’m making problems with these quick sketch in pastels, because the orange wall stops abruptly and looks like an additional frame.

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colour colour! and shade?

Better but work out how the bear fits into the window space.

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coloured paper – chiaroscuro?

The far ear is still really wrong, but this drawing picks up the fascination with the fur and the squeeze box.

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grey page,  work with eraser and some extra shadows

Are we getting somewhere?

I looked at this and thought – this doesn’t have to be a print. I’m struggling so much with tonal prints…

I did some test plates with various emery/sand papers and ink/medium.

maggie

Needs more work to get the tonal variations I was hoping for, so might not write it off as a print.

Next question how is bear in relation to window? and dimensions of plate?

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bad proportions – levels pushed hard.

Things to do

  • Learn bear better and any rabbit minions
  • decide how much window to include
  • light from inside or outside
  • finished medium?
  • keep questioning
  • don’t panic if no answer immediately presents itself

MER

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