Drawing Statues

Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil

It has been a bit hard to get around Bangkok the last few weeks and the ‘mob’ protesters have shut off the main road entrances into the city. You can still get around, they aren’t preventing pedestrians but there has been numerous grenade attacks and shootings over the last few weeks; so unfortunately I had to stick to the national art gallery and in and around school.

My first drawing was in Conté and hard pastel. I liked using them in the last exercise a limited palette study from your sketches and i thought that the three colours that I used in that exercise would be great for Bronze. In the teacher’s room on the third floor of the school, there was a reproduction bronze statue of the Thai playwright and poet Soonthornpoo (so highly regarded in Thailand that he has his own day).

Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil
Soonthornpoo Conte and Pastel Pencil

Surprisingly the three colours worked very differently together in this exercise as the subject was very dark and I had to bring in a yellow and orange pastel pencil.

My next drawings were done at the national art gallery, I was due a visit and I also planned to get some drawings of statues done while I was there. The protesters had been camped out round the corner from the gallery for the last three months which probably put everyone off exhibiting anything at the gallery so there was only one artist exhibiting. There were some nice statues in the permanent exhibition though.

The next subject was a statue of a naked young girl that caught my eye because of the smoothness and colour of the statue but after about 5 attempts in pastel pencil, that ended up in the bin, I gave up trying in colour and did two successful drawings in 4B pencil. Well not quite that successful as it was quite difficult to get the body and facial proportions right of a girl at that age, Drawing the kids heads at school has helped.

Statue of a Young Girl in 4B pencil
Statue of a Young Girl in 4B pencil

The next drawing in pastel and Conté of a women’s head in the gallery was the last drawing I did in the gallery, this particular statue caught my eye because of the strong contrast in colours of the light and shadow caused by being placed in the corner of the not-so-well lit statue exhibition. Disappointingly the finished drawing does not look like the statue, although it does look female, it does look Asian and the colours are spot on, the original statue’s face looked more primate-looking with the face stretching forwards and big cheeks.

Bust of a Thai Woman National Art Gallery
Bust of a Thai Woman National Art Gallery

I was back at school on the Monday and so I had time to draw a statue depicting one of the 7 faces of Buddha (I think that’s how many there are). Phra Mahanchanok and the other 6 faces are depicted in different scenes around Wat (temple) Makut near the school and are statues molded from a cement time mixture around a metal frame. This was a disappointing effort as the drawing just looks flat.

Phra Mahanchanok Outside Temple in 4B
Phra Mahanchanok Outside Temple in 4B

The last statue was of a southern Thai style female figure in bronze, from a photo that I took in the art gallery, I loved bronze appeared to be different colours in different parts of the statue due to the contrast in curves and textures, I thought it was the perfect subject for a larger drawing and so I completed her in pastel pencil and Conté on an A3 sheet of paper.

Statue of a Southern Thai Woman Dancing
Statue of a Southern Thai Woman Dancing
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