impressionistic nude pastel drawing

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Louise Brooks – 10-10-20

A sketch of Louise Brooks

Just a quick sketch of Louise Brooks, moviestar and celebrity of the 1920s and 1930s. I had a work in progress that I forgot to take with me to my studio where I teach. Waiting for my students I felt the need to draw something and I happened to have an old picture of her in my drawer. I started sketching just for the fun of it and to practise my hand. What else can an artist be occupied with?


Strange how you fall back to materials from your youth. I did a lot of conté drawings in the 1980s when I was a teenager, still learning the trade and tricks like Nude 03 (1986). Of course every student of art knows or has to know Conté pencils and sticks. It is great material to render studies. This one looks like an academic sketch people use to make when teaching in art schools in The Netherlands was not destroyed yet (after W.W. II). Perhaps a hint for such schools to take up proportions, tonality, anatomy again and stop wanking over silly artistic dreams.


Some ten years ago I also used this picture to do a half abstracted oil painting but the result did not satisfy me. The problem with its composition is that it makes the body look like a vertical sausage with arms only spreading sideways in the upper part of the image, leaving a lot (too much) negative (dark) space to do something artistically with it. I solved it by not hatching the paper up to the end but, and that is a privilege only pastel fully give way to, let it end almost near the paper edges. This way a certain liveliness and playfulness is preserved.

Pastel drawing on Talens Toned Gray paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)

Artist: Corné Akkers