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A few (windy) questions:
A. I have been keeping fairly close to the 1 hour time limit. I've noticed the feedback often consists of a "check your position on this, value is a bit off here, watch your negative space" and that sort of thing. I'd never turn my nose up at constructive feedback but a lot of these issues would be corrected with more time.
So the question is "should I spend more time on these to show the level of what I can see and correct"? Or should I stick to one hour to perhaps reveal other clues that may lead to valuable criticism. For example, one might conclude that I don't have a very organized approach to these based on the level they come to in one hour.
B. What level of digital measurement are folks using? I tend to go without any aid until about 20 minutes in and then I start checking the positions of major points using guides. Generally I toggle the guides on/off to rely on my eye to actually implement the correction. I've experimented with a grid as well. This is naturally very helpful but perhaps undermines the exercise.
Here are my studies. Again, I capped them to around an hour unless otherwise noted.
Finally, some of these I did on a livestream while narrating my thought process. I'll include links where appropriate.
(drawing starts around 41:00)
Carracci uses rhythmic curves built from contours, value contrast, eye lines and action to circulate the viewer's eye around the image hinting at the relationship between the characters. Venus looks on dispassionately, even disapprovingly at the Satyr's antics. The Cherubs are pulling hair and mugging for the camera, suggesting that they may be competing with Satyr's for her attention.
I did this one offline and in silence. I was overwhelmed by the amount of detail and had a hard time blocking in shapes. I feel like I'm really fighting my internal symbols on faces, but then many do.
As for Bouguereau he delivers a strong, fast read. The figure is confrontational but defeated. Her head is lilting in a blast of blooming light surrounding flat, black hair. The angle of illumination on her face guides to eye to her slumped shoulder and then across to reveal ill fitting clothes and an outstretched hand. Her bare feet are pulled back up under her skirt. Is she ashamed or protecting them from the rugged ground?
Oh Sargent ... I was a fool! You drew me in with such a deceptive simplicity. This is the only piece I maped out lines for before adding value. It took too long and I didn't even finish blocking the values.
Here Sargent used repetition with variation to add interest to the floor while helping to frame the rugs which run like roads to the censer. I feel the censer is clearly the second read but it seems like such a distant second that I wonder if Sargent had another motive for downplaying it.
(drawing starts around 21:00)
I'm feeling more comfortable doing the shape and value observations by now and I'm also sensible enough to choose simpler images so that I push them further in the given time. I also used more digital measurements in this one to *check* my work. I use it to find mistakes, not to position marks. Am I doing myself a disservice?
Also, knowing that I had only an hour I admit I focused on the faces on 4 and 5. My ego won out -- I felt I'd be embarrassed if I turned in another face like #2.
I think Sargent intended for this image to be utterly penetrating. Little contrast has been spared in emphasizing the face and ultimately the eyes of the figure.
(drawing starts around 22:00)
Using digital measures to check has led more awareness of my most common errors. Width and vertical position seem to be my most common basic feature placement errors. I'm forgetting to flip these to check shapes. I'm not sure why but I'm getting back into the habit slowly.
This piece seems to be a study in subtle forms. To my less experienced eye there were few really distinct landmarks so sighting and measuring positions by eye was very difficult. Collins uses subtle flagging around the nose and eyes to enhance constrast and emphasis.