Second week of classes, together with a few quick studies... Even though it doesn't show in the drawings, I've already learned a lot in such a brief time!
I am exposing myself to two different approaches to drawing which sometimes contradict each other. One, more sculptural and constructivist; the other, more painterly and tonal. I am hoping to find a balance between them, but for now I am trying to absorb as much of each as possible...
The tonal-ish drawing was about 1 hour long. Working hard to organize and simplify my values...
Esmeralda: Thanks for the tips! I've looked both of them up, and their work is really worthy of being studied! Ah, even though Glen was not there in the last couple of classes, I feel I am beginning to get it (hopefully it will show sometime soon!)
So, this was a great week for me at both classes I am taking. For the first time, I feel as if I am really beginning to understand, rather than being lucky every now and then when a drawing turns out okay. What made me feel great was that I seem to be also beginning to understand how to integrate both approaches I am being exposed to... and, to my surprise, the key word that brings them together is: rhythm. In Vilppu's class last Tuesday, for the first time it dawned on on me what he means when says that he doesn't draw contours, he creates contour. I began to *feel* the forms, and dropping the contour is just a matter of emphasis as your pencil moves across and around the form. I think I began to understand the rhythm of FORMS,i.e. 3D rhythms, on which a convincing sense of VOLUME depends.. My other class (Orbik's) focuses mostly on design and value organization, and again rhythm plays a central role; but it's a different kind of rhythm. There we deal not so much with forms, but with SHAPES -- their 2D equivalent -- and I think I am beginning to get a grasp for a sort of 2D rhythm, on which DESIGN depends. So, on the one hand, forms and volumes; and on the other, shapes and design, all brought together by the overlying idea of rhythm. Now that I seem to have understood it for the first time, let's hope it begins to show in my work sometime soon...
It was while working on these 5 minutes pose that I began to understand 3D rhythm. The same old sentences that I had heard over and over again -- "feel the form"; "don't draw contour, create contour" -- began to make sense: Attachment 896111
Really inspiring thread. Your improvement is commendable. While I was reading through the first few posts, I was thinking of suggesting you to try to draw with more sure and confident lines. But then I see now u have totally got that confidence in your line. Really amazed how within a few months, you have improved much. Just keep at it, u are totally on the right track, and moving fast...
"Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
nice studies, man...u can never go wrong copying the masters. Go to andrew loomis and learn more about the essentials. Be big on perspective,and practice lots of cubes.Remember that always to study the parts and then the whole and viceversa...so one day do a study of noses,or eyes only,understand the structure and geometry behind it. u r on the right track...as a side study draw from still life,is good to sharpen your eyes and understand composition...like the bridgman studies,and the hogarth ones...nice study of the esqueleton...keep it up.
Draw from the cast, take a trip to your museum and draw from sculpture, this way your eyes get used to seing tones better,that will help when you go back to life class,because you imagine the figure as being a big geometric form,really heavy...
try to copy a michelangelo once,from his frescos,those figures have so much form in them and perfection is crazy.
Mydrako: Thanks for the words! In reality, line quality is something I am really -- and consciously-- struggling with, so hearing that from you makes me feel there is still some hope for me!
the_allejo05: Thanks for the tips! Of the names you mentioned, the only one I haven't drawn from was Hogarth -- his drawings can't seem to speak to me, despite their (perhaps excessive?) clarity. I will keep working hard. Thanks!
This drawing session was not nearly as productive as last week's. I need to learn when to emphasize or de-emphasize my lines; to use them with economy and purpose. Besides that, have a particularly hard time when it comes to rendering, especially in a linear way (hatching). Below are the ones that escaped total disaster. Any critiques or suggestions on how to improve, or what to work on, are very welcome.
Here is my third attempt at painting, second in color. It was a three hours pose, and I wasn't able to finish it. But I am beginning to find my way about organizing the palette and approaching the portrait more systematically. I can already see a number of problems, not counting the unfinished areas, but what bothers me the most is a little detail: the hard edge on the chin as it turns into shadow; it was not there as the painting progressed; I must have added it when placing the final touches in the area.
I am also posting a few stages in the process. I'd appreciate any critique, any suggestion on what to work on. Thanks for looking!
I thought I recognized your avatar picture. We definitely are in the same workshop. I looked through your thread...It definitely looks like what you are drawing now comes from an understanding of what is going on with the figure. Your short poses are fantastic; I would say definitely measure to check proportions on your longer poses. Self-portraits: You can never do enough of those... You are doing awesome for first attempts at painting. I would say stick to one color (umber or something) until you get the drawing down and the shadows placed.
Your painting from last night came out great. The drawing looks good. I see what you are saying about the chin. It is probably one of two things... The shadow on the neck may be a little lighter, or the local color of the chin maybe be darker (due to light drop off) That area is a formed shadow, so more transitions between the two values may have helped.
I guess we will meet officially next week.
Michelle: Thanks for the tips! You're right, I should be more careful with my proportions on longer poses. Unless I am drawing tonally, I tend to start the longer poses the same way as I do the shorter ones... I will keep an eye on that. And yes, next week we meet oficially
My figure drawings may not be showing any great improvement yet, but I've been piling up drawing mileage and learning a lot in the process. As always, critiques are much welcome.
And this morning I worked on a small (5.5" x 7.5") color study after Zorn. Even though it was small, it took me a very long time to finish it... Any suggestions on how to improve or what to focus on are much appreciated!
Hey I'm pretty sure we're both in the Wed night class at 3kicks, right? I like your quick studies. Bridgman is great to study from and if you are interested in dynamic poses you should also check out Hogarth. His anatomy is kinda exaggerated and weird but he really gets the pose. He's also really good to check out it you want to draw hands or feet. I'll bring in a copy on Wed for you to check out
prufrock27: Thanks! And yes, I do think we are on the same workshop on Wednesdays Maybe I should really give another try at Hogarth. I think what kept me a way from him was really the way he treats anatomy -- all the muscles in his figures seem flexed or tense at the same time!
Hi Brenno I've really enjoyed your SB. I could feel you feeling the form so much I picked up paper and pencil and drew from you. (Hope that's ok) Really inspiring studies and well done for being self taught and getting to this stage. I really admire what you have achieved and look forward to seeing you progress.
Marian: I feel flattered that you thought my drawings worth drawing from. Of course there is no problem. But I must tell you that there are thousands of better drawings to study from-- starting on this very forum. Be careful not to pick the bad habits I am trying to get rid of myself
Here are a few more drawings. I was trying to get a handle of modelling, and we were working mostly with ambient light only (meaning: no spotlight on the model to emphasize form). This proved extremely difficult, since one had to *know* the bumps on the surface of the body rather than see it with the help of a strong light. After a couple of frustrated attempts at drawing from the model but modeling from what I knew (or didn't know), the model took a very "flat" back pose. This was the last straw. I could make nothing out of it, and decided to check the anatomical bumps I already knew, instead. The result was the last drawing, from imagination. Part of the anatomy there (especially that of the inner side of the upper arm) is half-made up, since I did not know exactly how the pectoralis, triceps and teres major fit there... I am pretty sure it's not the way I drew it, though Back to the anatomy books!
Need to work much harder on seeing shifts of color as well as of temperature. As someone told me, this is what distinguishes living human flesh -- with its subtle undertones of green and blue and accents of red -- from a piece of leather.
About 50 minutes from life. I was mostly concerned with getting placement and values right. I need to refine my shapes more, as well as think more (and learn more) about design! Critiques always welcome.
Need to work much harder both on my short poses and long-ish ones (20+ minutes). Not happy with any of them. But since this is a study thread, and not a portfolio one, I am determined to post it all here, failures and half-failures, in the hope of getting some help and receiving honest critique. I am my harshest critic myself (believe me, it can't get any harsher than that), and am fully aware of how much I need to improve. I am just not sure exactly how. So, there is no need to thread softly... I'd much rather hear where the problems are, if possible with some suggestion on how to work on them. Any frank feedback is greatly appreciated
Seeing and capturing subtle temperature shifts in the human skin is by far the greatest difficulty I am encountering when painting the figure. And I don't know how else to go about it other than practising and practising.
Here is a quick color/temperature study after Fechin. Original size about 5.5" x 7.5"
nice study! and your gestures are looking way better and more confident. There is really no better way toward improvement than practicing! A teacher said that you need to get about 10,000 bad drawings out of your way before you get decent, and then another 10,000 before you get good. I think he was only half joking! Keep up the good work and you'll get there ahead of all of us
Sisi, thanks for the encouragement! If badly drawn paintings are included among the bad drawings I have to produce until I get anywhere close to decent , I am going to start counting from this one..
Here is the number one. Unfinished from life, roughly 3 hours. Trying to get temperature relationships right. I think I made some -- little, but some -- progress this time, though three hours were over too fast. Had time only to adjust color and temperature , and only barely, on the face and neck... The nose remained the same rough-hewn stone block with which I had started. sighs.
Great progress... ur life drawing is improving tremendously. Ur quick pose is great. The gesture and action is there. I would say now is probably good for u to study the body part more intensively. I can see problem in the 20 min drawing in ur post 51. The ribcage and the abdominal muscle is looking not right. Loving the progress in ur painting. I was raeding the painting book by harold speed and something was mentioned about painting flesh that might interest you. He said that in a face, the light and shadow are usually warm and the half tone is cool. I am not totally sure why but i suspect the half tone is where you see the bluish coloration of the veins while in the shadow or light, sub-surface scattering cause them to be warm, kinda like how your ear always appear warm cos light is entering into the thin skin and bouncing around. He also mentioned there is exception to this in the nose and ear which is often warm because of the many blood vessels in them.
I am still trying to observe this point in real people and find out why there are such color pattern. maybe you can try to look out for them too.
"Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
Mydrako: You're right; I need to focus a little bit more on individual body parts. I will keep that in mind now. And thanks for bringing to attention what Harold Speed said about temperature shifts. While there may be many exceptions to this (I actually find that if the lights are warm, shadows are usually cooler, and vice-versa), I can start experimenting with it as a starting point in "mapping" the human face. It was very helpful. Thanks for visiting!
Here is yesterday's painting. Again, 3 hours are gone by so quickly. I noticed that whenever I try to estimate a certain color/temperature for the face, my first attempt is usually way too cold/low in chroma. When I dab it on the canvas, it looks just *slighly* off to me. Then, I try to push the warmth -- it looks *too* warm then. But if I go for it, I slowly begin to notice that, after pushing the temperature, it begins to look much better. This is what happened this time. I am posting a few steps during the process to show that.
1 - First break after 25 minutes: being as careful as possible with the drawing. Focusing on skull structure and the rhythms of the face.
3 - third break: adding the background so that I could better judge my values (should have done that before adding the shadows, in fact); since my canvas is very absorbent, it sucked all my paint; that's why it took forever to put the background there....
4 - fourth break: starting to work on the light side/flesh tones. Also noticing that the cheeks are much cooler, and adding a deadly purplish tone to one of them. So far it seems just *slightly* off to me.
6 - sixth break: spent most of the time trying to give back some color to his cheeks and overall complexion. Pushing the warmth. At this point, the color I had achieved looked *too * warm on my palette, but as I soon as I dabbed it on the canvas it looked much better in relationship to the other colors already there. *Relationship* is the key word. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
The final, unfinished result after three hours: I was only able to work to an extent that pleased me on the forehead, playing with temperature shifts and being more careful with the modeling and transition tones. If I had more time, I would do the same as I went down (cheeks, nose, chin, neck etc). That's also why the forehead looks slightly darker in value than the rest of the face (when it should be the other way round, since light was cascading down):
Yep, your work is really improving. The stuff in Villpu's class, esp. looks strong.
However, you are going to clash approaches in Glen's class.
2 mind-sets and "rules" in each approach. But, I admire the attempt. Keep at it! Also, nice charcoal study of JJ!
Esmeralda: You're right -- the approaches can clash very easily, and the mindset for one is very different from the other. I am still having a hard time shifting from full 3D mode to 2D mode. But even though it is sometimes a bit frustrating (last night was an example of this!), I feel I am learning a bunch from both, and do believe it is possible to integrate them, getting the best of both worlds... I will keep trying Thanks for visiting!
Gamerhomie:After you mentioned the nose being skewed in some of the portraits, I went back to them and noticed this is a recurring mistake on my part. It even recurred on the last portrait I painted (posted below). Now that I have realized it I have no excuse to keep perpetuating it. Thanks for helping me see it
Here are a few more drawings from life, together with a few studies of the planes of the head and an oil portrait.
Just a quick update. A couple of paintings from life. About 2.5h each. I've been working hard on my drawing lately, since I feel I am lacking severely in structure. Will post some as soon as I get them scanned. Critiques are very welcome.