The June sketch of my calendar pictures: 6 fairies for the sixth month. A teetering tower of bodies all balanced in the most unlikely fashion, topped with a wine-pourer for a little twist of extra silliness and perhaps to dispel an impression that this is all about yoga. (I have nothing against yoga, I was very enthusiastic about yoga for nearly a year, once, and can probably still do a passable headstand, but it’s all a bit too pure and wholesome for my art!)
Of course my title applies to the carefully balancing of one person (or fairy) on top of another, not to the act of actually imagining and drawing the composition, though I admit this one was tricky in ways I didn’t expect. I struggled, for instance, with the composition of 3 fairies for March, and 4 fairies for April, because I am hard to please in my own work and keep on rubbing it out and re-drawing it until the composition actually ‘speaks’ to me. Having got that spark, it’s then a simple question of fine-tuning the details (and the anatomy) until it looks as convincing as I can make it. With this one, I had quite the opposite problem. I thought: 6 fairies, ok… um, how about a ‘tower’ of fairies because anything above 6 will probably be too many for a composition like that. And within a very short while I had the whole thing roughly mapped out on the paper.
Then the fine tuning began. Well, for one thing, I had to keep taking my jacket off! I do not work from life with this sort of picture (naturally…), but do life drawing as practice to strengthen the rest of my work, mostly relying on a learned grasp of human anatomy when working from my imagination. But when it comes to a hand or the angle of an arm or a shoulder I do sometimes have to hold said bit of me up in front of the mirror to check how it all fits together. This composition though, was so much more work than usual to get it all balanced right, compositionally and anatomically. And the jacket kept having to come off so I could look at the line of one more bit in the mirror!
Anyway, finally, here are my six fairies, still kept within the confines of the piece of paper, too. I should point out, it would be easier to be drawing on larger paper as well, and I usually would, but this is A3 paper, the same size as the final calendar, and so it helps to imagine the layout of the final calendar this way. So, be warned, don’t try this at home… unless you are prepared to take your jacket off!