This Christmas break, I’ve been doing more sketching to improve my skills. I’m trying to make each single piece tell more of a story and I’m also working on more backgrounds and landscape elements. For my birthday, I went sketching at the zoo (cold, but could be worse) and took some advice from David Rankin who wrote the book Fast Sketching Techniques. I heard about him from a wildlife artist that I admire. He made the distinction between drawing and sketching – and pointed out the frustration of wanting to draw from wildlife, but difficult because it’s always moving.
We started some of the exercises in the book and put some of his advice into practice at the zoo. I still would like to touch up some of the sketches I did there, but’ll I’ll share them in a future post. He recommended staying longer with one animal and taking in all the little mannerisms. It becomes easier after you’ve drawn the same animal many times from different positions and doing different things.
The drawing of the girl is from a foreign movie based on a children’s fairytale. The man with the mustache is more my own invention and I titled it Admonition. The other photo is a sketch of Albert Schweitzer from a vintage photo.
Great exhibition at the NY Met Museum last month – Singer Sargent and Friends. Not that I’m paint more, I learn much more from seeing original works up close. It was an amazing exhibition because of the range of styles that he painted in. My photos don’t do the art justice, but since the exhbit has now ended, some of you might enjoy seeing the work.
I liked this portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife. Apparently Stevenson was a restless person who often paced, so Sargent caught him mid-stride.
This beautiful panel was a study of a larger work .
I found this portrait an interesting study too because he masterfully drew a viewer’s gaze to the face. There was only a very general suggestion of the piano keys so as not to draw attention away from the center of focus.
I finished my watercolor portrait workshop with Hamid at Gage Academy this past week, but I still wanted to learn more, so I checked out Scott Waddell‘s Art of the Painting video. It’s great! His demo is for oil, but most of his principles work for all classical painting. He starts off ‘posterizing’ the major lights and darks, establishes the values, then shifts into conceptualizing mode, carving the face in 3D in color. I found the method straightforward and much simpler than just trying take in all the information at once. Scott supplements his painting with video illustrations of the behavior of light on 3D surfaces.
I finished drawing this collie today from a photograph in a book I owned as a child.
Lately I’ve been trying to improve at drawing human heads and faces. I’ve just started a life painting class with Hamid Zavareei. It’s been a bit of a scramble for me so far. Here are some of the practice exercises.
I had a breakthrough in painting this week, mixing more colors and getting more of a sense of the brush. There are still things I struggled with, but this was turned out much better than I thought and it’ll be a surprise for my cousin and her husband.
I was also searching this past week for creative commons sources for reference photos and I found a nice site called Paint My Photo which has a lot of high resolution photos of animals, landscapes, and portraits that I’ll definitely use. The site brings artists and photographers and each enjoys the other’s work.
I think I’m going to tackle another interesting bird for my next work.
I’m on break for another week and have had the chance to experiment with gouache. Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint. I’m finding it to be a more natural medium for me than transparent watercolor or oil.
I also had the chance to go to the zoo yesterday so I’m thinking of trying to paint some birds or animals.
This week, we had an assignment to critique a professional photomontage.
A classmate shared collagework from John Stezaker and I discovered Stezaker’s Mask series.
From an interview: “They seem somehow more human than the rather blasé portraits from which they are made. They seem vulnerable and tragicomic. Why they fascinate me, I don’t know.”
And on his collage work as a whole:
“In the early 70s, when I made the decision to work within the horizons of already existent found images, it was in response to a sense of image glut- that there were already too many images in the world. I could not see a reason for adding to them. Rather I felt the important thing was to find a way of negotiating a path through this image multiplicity. The solution for me was collage.”