Monday, March 24, 2008

Computer troubles!

I am sorry that I have been unable to post for a while, but the computer I have been using has to be fixed and I am still waiting to get that done. I will be back as soon as that is taken care of. Soon I hope!

Friday, March 14, 2008


This is another Tuesday night life painting. I really had a hard time with this one, but I think I nailed it. After the initial washes I completely lost the drawing. This has a lot to do with the lighting in the studio where I was working. If you are far enough back, and I tend to be since I don't usually get there early enough, you are outside the well lit area and it is sometimes hard to see what you are doing.
The model was not of course a Queen but my treatment of the pose gave her a regal arrogant attitude. This is what I find so interesting about figure drawing. 
There is another painter who, on one of my first nights did a painting of the young man posing. If you looked at the model you saw a guy sitting in a chair; looking at the painting you saw a self assured, confident young man (a good likeness of the model, in other words not a completely different person) regarding the world around him with a slight sense of  indulgent humor. This is what that painter saw in the pose. Was this a conscious decision? In his case I do not know. In my case I do know that I tried faithfully to render the model in the pose. It was at the end that I discovered that I had conveyed a certain attitude that the sitter may not have embodied. Is this intentional at a subconscious level or accidental? Is it a result of taking something in the pose and pushing it and arriving a logical but not necessarily anticipated destination.
Charles Reid did a painting in oil of two figures. He had started out painting a young women but as he was working he felt something was missing and literally grabbed a man off the street and added him to the painting, entitling it Friends. Even though these people were complete strangers there was an attitude about the portrait which led him to give it that title.   

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quick Figure Painting

Here is the promised painting. As I said yesterday, this is a quick sketch done at the end of the life drawing session. I do have a tendency to finish quicker than a lot of other people so I usually change position and do another one
Most of them have some flaw or other (due to speed, experimentation or lack of thinking) that makes them unremarkable, but this one turned out OK.
I do have another session this evening so I will have more for tomorrow.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Figure Painting-Thursday Afternoon

This is another of my figure paintings (again cropped to show only the upper torso) from a life drawing session. I will be re-using the paper to do another on the other side, but I am posting it because of an interesting and instructive thing which happened.
When the model initially took the pose I measured the head and then used it to construct the rest of the drawing. This is a common practice and even though I have only recently started using this technique I use it to make sure that a) I will be able to fit the whole figure (or however much of it I want)onto the paper and b) that the proportion is generally accurate. In this case all this proceeded as planned until the model took a break and then resumed the pose. At this point, as anyone who is familiar with a life drawing session will know someone will often tell the model to move slightly to better match the original pose. In this case the model asked if every thing was alright and one person said, "Can you match my drawing?" which we all found humorous. (The model then replied, "No one has ever  asked me to do that before!") 
At that moment I looked at my drawing was about to say that the model's elbow was much too close to her hip when I realized that it was my drawing and not the pose that was off. I thought, "How could I have missed that? How could it be so far off without noticing until then?" I had measured the head, found the various places but had entirely missed an important relationship and continued to paint oblivious to my mistake.  I did have the feeling that the figure was overly elongated, but I though that was because the head was too small so I had gone back and enlarged it before starting to paint. 
As always we can only strive to do better next time, but this time I think I learned an important and I hope that I can remember it in the future.
As I do every session I did a second, quicker painting of the same pose which I will post tomorrow.