Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Framed" Nudes

Let's take a break!

It's time to skip the trees for a bit. These three are some "finished" drawings of nudes with added backgrounds like those I posted just a couple of pages back. A couple of pages, but a couple of years in the past! (You can scroll back through the blog and find each of these figures, sans background, in earlier posts and decide for yourself if these are improvements) While those others were a fairly clear explanation of the poses, these are an effort to upgrade the original drawings rather than leave them as just "sketches" relegated to a dark studio drawer. It's like framing a work gives it an official stamp of approval, setting it apart from the ordinary world. 

The background "grills" perform a couple of functions. First, they set the figures in a separate environment of sorts, a defined space that helps us to see shape and form as distinct aspects of the drawings. The grill also calls attention to the contours of form and figure.

Beyond that there is also the important concept of "negative space". The shape of the area defined by the figure's edges and the edges of the background geometry can provide interest itself. All in all, I find real satisfaction in these "Works of Art".   Do they "speak" to you? 

"I love revision. Where else can spilled milk be turned into ice cream?"  Katherine Patterson

"A Curve does not exist in its full power until contrasted with a straight line."   Robert Henri

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Doubling Up

If, as some say, repetition is the heart of good design, then this post must be a good one! Here are two drawings continuing the recent tree theme - similar views of a huge maple that overhangs and shades our back deck. Sometimes we feel we live in a tree house. 
I love it!

I also love the use of repetition as a design element in a work of art, as a means of understanding the subject itself or simply as a way of honing one's skills as an artist.  (Everyone knows the quote regarding "the way to get to Carnegie Hall" right?)

Working with simple black Prismacolor Pencil and lightly toned paper allowed the addition of white pencil in the one above, giving a bit more contrast between subject and background and a nice sense of atmosphere. The one below, more linear, puts emphasis on edge and shape so is more graphic, a bit more abstract yet still descriptive in it's simplicity. That slightly abstract quality shows the work not just as a representation but as an arrangement of repeated verticals and diagonals. Variation in that repetition like light and dark pencil marks, weaving tilted verticals, emphasis on the one trunk with it's rough bark, etc, creates visual interest. Even putting the two drawings together on one page like this to make comparisons contributes to the interest of this blog page it self. 

All this, perhaps found in the original scene or more likely seen in the flat rendition later, makes drawing an act of discovery. While observing a subject and putting marks on paper we create an object that "speaks" to us, giving us feedback, new perspectives, new ideas and real reasons to continue our work as artists.  What do your drawings say?

"Repetition is the mother of study."  (Latin proverb)

"To paint is not to copy slavishly, it is to grasp a harmony among many relationships."  (Paul Cezanne)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Broken Pine

In the last post you saw I've been looking at trees and working with a soft pencil and softer touch, getting away from the mostly linear approach of the recent past.

I stopped in a local cemetery where I'd previously seen some interesting old maples when this poor broken pine caught my eye. The only clear view was this from the north so the tree was backlit by sun filtered through soft needles, an effect I found difficult to capture.

I's a situation I must have avoided in the past because after three attempts I'll still have to return hoping to solve or at least make more progress on the problem.

This last one on the right was my attempt to point up structure as well as some of sun's affect.

There is certainly some potential in the change from hard edge to soft but too soon to say where it may be going. I remember doing a few experimental drawings with soft graphite pencil while stuck in that miserable "Clinitron" hospital bed of a few years ago. Something there is pushing me.

Still out here working from nature, - still learning!

"To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work."  Mary Oliver

"Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience."  Hal Borland