Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Hitchhiker

30" x 40" oil on canvas

I've sailed past the greens and am now into the greys in a new painting.  Well truth be told there are greens in the new painting, but its not in a fit state to be seen quite yet.  There are a group of boats in the composition and I've found that in any grouping there is always *one* section that causes grief in terms of structure.  This grouping is no different.

Yes, I could have projected an image onto canvas and gotten the outline perfectly  but I prefer to draw by hand when possible and when enlarging that can have its challenges.  Here's a sneak peek at the composition draw directly on the canvas.  The foreground boat is the culprit but paint is making it conform nicely.

So while I wrestle it to the ground, I'll show you the completed painting 'The Hitchhiker" with all those greens in it.  I've been making progress on some large pieces and have four of them completed with this current one being # 5.

I've developed a painful, stiff hand over the last week and its slowing down progress and making lots of tasks difficult.  Its the one thing that an artist dreads isn't it, a hand problem.  Anything serious and it kisses goodbye painting as we know it.  More than like, its arthritis, which cold winter weather doesn't help, so heat and sometimes fingerless gloves for painting work to keep the symptoms at bay.

But, as Lucian Freud was quoted in the book I'm currently reading about his life "Breakfast with Lucian",  Painting is "pain" with a "t" on it.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Completed demo

 Still Life with fruit I
9" x 12" graphite

It may be a bit difficult to call a demo a demo if only the value map and contour drawing are done in class and most of the shading later.  But time is always a challenge in drawing and as I tell workshop participants, there's no rush and no time limit on drawing.

Its the rush that becomes the downfall of many a good drawing.

Here is the in-between drawing from the last post to this one. Taken with my cell phone, the image isn't as crisp as it could  be.

In workshops I usually have a completed drawing done in several stages so people can see how I construct and shade a piece.  There's a continual conversation going on in my head which I try to verbalize in class.  Its a voice that's constantly comparing relationships of one object or space to another to make sure proportion is correct.  It sounds crazy, but it works.  I think we all have a voice (or two) in our heads that guide us through drawings and paintings.

This is the finished drawing from last weekend's workshop. I always forget how much I enjoy drawing until I am away from it for awhile then return.   The next advanced drawing workshop is in May and will be all about drawing animals.  Like still life, there's a formula for that too.  Really, its that simple with drawing.  You just need to know how to compare relationships, measure proportion and be patient.  Oh, and practice!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pushing the envelope

stil life demo 1 sm

Classic drawing techniques start with an envelope.  This is a line/value map drawing of the most basic overall form that makes up the general outline of the subject, whether it contains a single object or many objects together.  If you squint you will reduce the form to its simplest shape and see the starting point of the general shape.

drawing - envelope 1 sm

One of a beginner’s points of conflict in drawing is running out of room on the paper. This is usually the problem of starting with a specific object then adding more and more until the edge of the paper is met.  By creating an overall shape and deciding on the width and height before any detail is added, you eliminate overruns and ensure that your drawing always meets the confines of the picture plane you’re working on. Once the overall shape is in place, refining the forms within it becomes easier to control.
still life 2 bwsm

This drawing was part of an advanced drawing workshop that I held over the last couple of weekends on still life studies.  In the first section of the workshop, different elements that traditionally make up a still life were drawn, culminating in a full still life study this weekend.  I threw out some options on Facebook to see what others thought about arrangements, and of four that I provided, this was the most popular.  While I had another preference, this was the simplest in terms of form.  Participants were given an option of photographic or life reference to use.

The top image is my demo drawing from the photographic reference.  I draw from a 32” tv screen in the classroom actually are very rarely print out a photo to use as they’re consistantly poor in terms of providing sufficient information.

The sketch below is the second demo drawing I did, but from the life arrangement instead. I was standing and walking back and forth and kept losing my viewpoint.  I was starting to add some values to the forms and will continue to work on the piece as it will form another tutorial for the future.

still life from life 1 sm