Saturday, July 14, 2012


Not so long ago I posted a nude which was titled "Clipped"* because it was too large for my scanner.  I had scanned it and, in doing so, clipped off a few small parts of the figure.  A friend commented suggesting that I scan the work in two parts.  I thought then I'd address the problem at a later date. Now is the time and here is the result, - but, for the sake of variety, using a different drawing.  This drawing was so much larger (8x18") I scanned it in two parts, then using Photo Shop I "stitched" the two halves together.  Pay no attention to the "ghost" area on the left, a mistake in the stitching process. I know, without that bit, I could have published it a bit larger. I'm a slow learner. It took awhile.

Now,  after all that work I'm not very happy with the results.  With the considerable reduction from original size, the line weights are really too thin and light to be appreciated. The drawing looks much too weak over all!  If I'd known when first working it that it would be published in this format, I would have strengthened all the lines.  To show you the difference,  here below is a detail about 10% larger than original size.  See how much is missing from the "large" post above!  Even if I'd posted more enlarged sections of it, you'd still be missing the flow and character of the whole piece.  Hmm, perhaps I should post details of all drawings!

 Aside from the reproduction problem, this illustrates another, actually more important issue. While you get some information or inspiration looking at blog entries like mine, or catalog and magazine reproductions, there is absolutely no substitute for seeing the original work!  This is especially true when looking at real masters of the art, people from whom you might actually learn something.  Whenever possible, where-ever possible go to museums and galleries.  Find your favorite artists and spend time looking. Yes, go through the galleries to see the collections, but you must really spend time with a few pieces, perhaps even only one, so that you actually see and appreciate the hand of the artist.  Immerse yourself in the work, - really get to know it! Use your sketchbook, make a copy, perhaps even only an interesting part.  Looking at reproductions is good if that's your only option but you see so much more in person especially if you work at it.  It is truly amazing to see the difference! Hey, you may even fall in love!

"Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and diligence."   Abigail Adams

"I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen. "   Frederick Franck

* You can see "clipped" at:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dog bite

These quick drawings are simple pen plus some very soft graphite pencil, a combination that reminds me of the stone lithography techniques I studied with Thom O'connor at SUNY Albany when I worked toward my masters many years ago.  He was the good teacher who said, "So what?!" after complementing my drawing ability. He believed that an artist should have a point of view, not just a talent to display. It's an admonition I've set aside in recent times but I still believe the basic truth in his idea.

In a bow to his words, these sketches are part of an ongoing series I call "Minor Disasters", - traumatic incidents that have adversely affected the lives of people near and far, - pertinent to even myself on occasion. You may remember the stone throwing youths of a previous post. 

Still, the technique is nice enough that regardless of message, I really enjoy it, especially the one (left) that exploits the black.  I love the contrasts between the two media, - the fine line and the soft blacks and the way some of the whites stand out as if cut paper! This combination has real potential for graphic design, illustration and, for that matter, fine art!   There are subtleties in black that can hold my eye just as well as color can.
I don't know. Perhaps I'll try it both ways.

"There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before."   Willa Cather

"The idea is more important than the object."   Damian Hirst

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A bit of Color

I've had a request for some color.  It seems I've been pushing a lot of black and white lately.  Everyone knows I really love simple black line whether comic cartoon or serious depiction of threatened trees but that's not the whole story. For years I barely touched color believing I could say whatever I needed with a monochromatic pallet.  Portrait work changed all that!  I love the life that color gives soft skin. Even the very little bit of color I've  used here does that!
These are portraits of a great model, a true professional and a wonderful person to boot! Her very serious expressions here belie her happy disposition and warm personality. The color drawings of her I've posted over the past year are the most visited of all in this blog.  People from all over the world come back to them time after time, checking the drawings at my "Keeping it simple" and "Child's Play" blog posts of May last year.  Check to see how well she does at making my drawings look really good.  She is busy all the time, in demand by every drawing group in this metropolitan area. I'm lucky to have had her as a model during the last few years.  I'm tickled pink!

"To get someone to pose, you have to be very good friends and above all speak the language. "   Pierre-Auguste Renoir

"Colors speak all languages."   Joseph Addison

"It's not easy being green."  Kermit