Sunday, March 21, 2010

figure drawing using broader marks

I just love studying the marks of the old masters when they used red or black chalk on a prepared surface heightened with white chalk. It will take me the rest of my life I'm sure to capture the finesse of the lines, their weight, suppleness and direction. This is a 3 session (3 hours each) drawing where I used Rives BFK white paper toned with a wash of burnt umber water color and light sanguine Creta color lead and white Creta color lead. This application is perfect for a faster study. The masters were absolutely genius at these types of drawings. Their contours and lines massing in the form were so sensitive and sensuous that many artists (like me) spend many more hours studying the drawings than the time spent on the paintings for which the drawings were a study.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Squiddly and Diddly

This is a cast drawing in graphite on Lanaquarelle hard pressed watercolor paper. A cast drawing is an exercise in learning how to render very convincingly so the forms turn beautifully. Most classical atelier students do at least one of these projects. This one took me about 3 1/2 months. I think the original sculpture I chose was of the Three Graces, which is a fairly common subject in art. But one of my graces broke off. So there was just the two of them and I named them Squiddly and Diddly. You get pretty attached after spending so long with them. If you should venture to take on one of these projects, it is a long time with tiny, little strokes, especially when doing the background which takes hours and hours. You may start dreaming in gray. And my arm developed a peculiar knot where a muscle got tweaked out. But it went back to normal after a while.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

figure drawings

Figure drawing is the meat and potatoes if one wishes to learn how to do figurative paintings. I absolutely adore figure drawing. These are in graphite as it is a little easier to control. But rendering in graphite takes an enormous amount of time. The paper I used is Strathmore smooth (first), Canson drawing paper (second) and Lanaquarelle (last two). I really like the Lanaquarelle but you really have to work at getting a nice, smooth finish in the rendering.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

block-in practice

One can never do enough block-ins. It's funny, prior to having joined the Georgetown Atelier I never heard of the term block-ins. I'd have just called them drawings. But alas, the block-in is really a different creature. It's the scaffolding upon which a drawing will go. Much like the blue print for a building, only here you construct the drawing right upon it. So there are faint construction lines and directional lines and tiny angular lines and sketched in fuzzy core shadow lines and even a light tone washed upon the dark side. I being in love with contour can seldom resist to resolve my block-in lines into a final, finessed contour. The ones below I left more block-in like.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

a pair of pears

Here are a pair of pears that constitute my first two projects. They were both challenging from the rendering point of view. It takes time to really see all the subtle value changes in the form, especially in the lights. And it takes time to master the materials, both the drawing instruments and the paper being used. After a while you develop a tactile sense of how the drawing tool works upon the paper. You eventually feel how hard press to get the value you need. For graphite, I used different grades of pencils from 4H to 8B to help achieve the value I needed. The charcoal I used mostly hard and some medium sticks of high quality. I used the brand Nitram which is no longer being made as the fella in France that made it decided to retire. Bugger!

Graphite pear on Lanaquarelle hard pressed watercolor paper. The Lanaquarelle takes the graphite beautifully, but it has a bit of a patchy texture where some areas seem a bit denser than others. I'm guessing this has to do with the cotton in the paper and how it was made. As a result though it can take a while to get a pristine, smooth surface. There's a lot of filling in little white dots and pulling out dark blotches and ant poop (little black dots).

Vine charcoal pear on Zerkall Nideggen paper. This paper had a bit of a wavy texture like what you'd see in the sand after the waves pull back. It made it a bit of a challenge if your goal was to completely overcome this texture leaving a smooth surface. The paper has a light, warmish tone almost like oatmeal of about a value 3. So I used a Pitt white pastel pencil to get the lights. The white pastel needed to be brushed out a bit with a fine paint brush spreading it toward the graphite until there was a seamless, smooth transition of value of light to dark.