Thursday, February 28, 2013

Just a Few Ladies !

I don't have any profound words for this weeks blog post, a collection of both recent and older drawings. I'll not tell you which is old or new but let you decide based on knowledge you've gained following the blog. You can see a loose linear way of working, a look at figure construction and a particularly tight hard-edge piece which may be related in time to a "Big Foot" post of two years ago. You decide!  Scanning the page, I really respond most positively to the (almost) black & white drawing below.  The more colorful hard edged piece is just that, - hard!  It's tight, highly controlled and a much more finished piece than the young lady in braids.  Looking more finished might cause us to see it as more important, more likely deserving treatment as a major piece - a wall sized painting perhaps but it wasn't really finished when I ran out of time with the model. I would have given those feet the attention given the upper body (and did so in a similar piece of the same evening) but now I'm happy with it as is. That bit of (foot) looseness helps it relate to the other two figures on the page as all three feature unfinished feet! 

These two were actually done within a few weeks of each other but still they are quite separate in approach.  For the most part I view my figure drawings as exploration and self education so continually vary technique as I work.   The small spare figure was all about construction and proportion while the larger one (left) is much more an illustration, a study of personality and setting which could have been developed further had I really thought about it.
I've put them all here as contrast to the much more realistic "14 inch Red" pipe wrench of last week and the grittier "Dan by Window Light" of a few of weeks earlier. Don't forget, you can scroll back through almost three years of this blog to see the range of my drawing interests.  Every-once-in-a-while I do that and surprise myself with forgotten pieces!

"Specialization is for insects."   Robert A. Heinlein

"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape."  Anonymous

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tools of the Trade

A good friend recently did some repair work for me, things I just cannot handle myself. While a simple "thank you" might be sufficient at such times, I like to make it particularly personal. A nice home-made thank you note, pointing out his ease with tools would be the ticket, so I started sketching a collection of  hand-tools. None of those tools I drew were really saying the "Thank you!"  I thought they should so I started another, a good sized pipe-wrench , quite appropriate in this case.

The plan was a tri-fold card expressing my thanks for his expertise and quick work. Unfortunately the drawing got away from me, took on a life of iit's own, became more than card material, too well done to be folded, stuffed into an envelope and delivered by the postal service!  It's now nicely framed, hung in a proud place in his home and officially documented in my notes as Finished Drawing - "Red Fuller 14".  Naturally it does not fit my scanner so we have to be satisfied with this partial picture.

Oh, yes - I did mention the "D" word!  Documentation is an important word, but in our artists' world rarely acknowledged aloud.  A good record of your major work is essential if you and eventually (shudder!) your estate, are to maintain control of your works. If you have ever watched the popular TV show, "Antiques Roadshow" you will have heard the experts praising the collector who can prove provenance when asking for authentication or value.  My records show finish dates. titles, media and size, plus sales or auction figures with buyers names when possible. Someday someone will be gathering your work for exhibition and good records will help find owners.  Just imagine that future big museum/gallery retrospective with your works gathered from around the world, displayed for all to admire! Step aside Picasso!

"It's not our art, but our heart that's on display."   Gary Holland

"Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny."   Frank Hubbard

"If you want an accounting of your worth, count your friends."   Merry Browne

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Seeing Double

These two male nudes are, as you can see, two versions of the same standing pose from different viewpoints. Doing two versions of almost any piece is much more instructive than one. Even in finished work, like major pieces part of  long series, later pieces benefit from the repetition. Here you can see that the second drawing is a bit better.  The intense re-contemplation of problems, be they anatomy, design, color or execution, will be more positive in that double dose of work.

Rendering the light on the torso  shows the bulk and structure of the body and helps us understand the relationship of one part to another without relying on line to define the various elements. (and that requires really looking!)

These first two images are a bit on the light side but that was also true in the originals, but who says a drawing must be strong, with tons of contrast?  There are times when a light hand is just the right touch!

If you see a little glow of yellow around the upper left figure, it isn't your eyes. It is actually there.  - I believe it was an attempt to increase the contrast between figure and ground.  A cool color like blue might have been better, don't you think?

Along those lines, here is another male nude in which blue was used, not for contrast in the final but as the initial sketch. Using a different color as underdrawing is a good way to construct the figure, make your "mistakes" without having the marks read as finished.  The use of a contrasting color like the blue, keeps the two separate as you work out problems.  It does another thing. It pulls your audience into the work by giving them clues to your methods, involving them more fully in the process.

BTW, remember, the Prismacolor pencils that I favor don't erase well, so you either "Just go for it!", putting down final marks right at the start or you find a way to build your drawing in a way that allows you reasonable control.

"Don't cater to the audience. Inspire the audience."   Ken Darby

"Give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve."   Irwin Greenberg

"Art that serves an artist best is an experiment in expanding awareness."   Peter London

Thursday, February 7, 2013


A good day became a very good evening early this week! For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I was able to participate with the weekly figure drawing group. Lauren was the model and we had her seated with arms supported, wound with long scarves hung from the ceiling.  A nice pose!

I was more interested in the figure than the fabric so I just left that out. I drew more quickly than I would have in the past, wanting to get an over-all understanding of the pose before settling down. I actually did three drawings, each a bit more lengthy than the last.  First a forgettable 15 min sketch,  a second one taking 40 minutes and I think the last (here right) must have been about an hour. Now I'd like to go back and do one more, a carefully rendered three hour job,  carefully measuring to get the proportions more correct. (I know! There I go contradicting myself again!)

Here on the left is a similar drawing done a few years ago. It's one that I really don't like as much but has better body proportions. Yes, the model above is much thinner but that does not account for the overly generous space between chin and mid breast. Typically that space is approximately one "head" so there's certainly some exaggeration there.  Still, I prefer that looser drawing because being less complete, it is more interesting. I was so diligent with features like the hair in this second piece, being so precise, that it is, as the old saying goes,  "... more prose than poetry."

Leaving out areas of her body involves the viewer, letting him contribute in imagination, making it a more engrossing piece. - At least that's the way it works for me.  It's much like Dan in his baker's duds in the previous post, there's more room for creativity with the distinction between subject and background in flux.  But then again, as with so many artists, we often prefer more recent work to the old, so it could be just plain bias! (Hmm, Age discrimination?)  In the end it's your work, deal with it as you will but do it with love and purpose and you will always be happy to own it!

"So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing."   T. S. Eliot

"It is love alone that gives worth to all things."  Saint Teresa of Avila