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Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

I was doing some preliminary sketches for some new paintings I have in mind the other day, happily subscribing to those limitations which keep the enemy of art at bay.

As I drew it occurred to me that the objects and the model before me no longer remained separate things in themselves. What I mean by this is that as I drew I became aware that I was working towards some inner aspect, reaching towards “the germ of that object” which is the work to be born.

It was something like grasping at an aspect or element of mystery wired into matter or of matter, in so far as what is being grasped at can be lain down into a construction of values, lines and colors.

It may very well be the case that what is looked for in visible things must have the same kind of inner depth and inexhaustible potentialities for revelation as the Self of the painter.

Perhaps this might account for that dissatisfaction so often felt by painters, feeling as we often must, that the buried significance of inner things escape us in proportion as we take hold of it.

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It is a difficult thing to stop drawing once you have begun the habit of doing so. I was watching an old Vincent Price film, The Hound of the Baskervilles and it had this rather rotund Scotsman getting all blustery about some hunt or other while at dinner. I immediately paused the film and sketched him with his fork raised in mid conversation. I just love the mutton chops!

To the left is a sketch of two ladies in period dress from an English film whose name eludes me. I thought the shot was elegantly framed and their interest in the menu card before them lent a wonderfully thoughtful expression to their features.

The final drawing is a “Bargue study” from that wonderful atelier drawing course.

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A small collection of images which represent what can be seen on my webpage.  It's all classical realism!
I’ve decided to add a “Sketch Book” category to my website under the HOME/PORTFOLIO menu. I say a little something about each drawing and I hope at some point in the near future to record some demonstrations of my process.

My newest painting has also just been added to the landing page. It is “The Crowning of Thorns” which will be going to one of the Catholic churches here in Seville, Spain. To be honest, I often wander around these magnificent buildings and think about how wonderful it must have been to have had those walls as a canvass!
I’m sure I’m not the only one to have expressed this sentiment.

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Here are some of the drawings and studies I get up to in between major projects. It’s a good thing to always be drawing. Drawing directly from nature, copying from the masters trains the eye. It is the foundation of all good painting. It is here that you chiefly learn about values independent of hues. If you can good handle on values, you will be better able to manage your colors when it comes time to paint.


“Let whoever may have attained to so much as to have the power of drawing know that he holds a great treasure.”               – Michelangelo 1452 – 1519


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When drawing something this complex it is important to find a good position for your plumb line. Organize your shapes along the vertical and then plot out your lines constantly checking for accuracy. The light coming in from the left emphasizes the halftones of the muscles and the whole surface is modeled. Now, I drew this in a sketch book whose dimensions are 7 by 10 inches so errors become immediately apparent when drawing at this size. It was a bit of a challenge but enjoyable.

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Sometimes I will do a small study in a watercolor sketchbook with a paper thickness at around 300g.  I primed the page three times with a transparent primer and then drew the image in. I then primed it once more and set about my painting employing a limited palette. I put a light wash over the drawing using raw umber to establish the overall mid tone.  I get all the dark values in first using raw umber before subtracting the paint for the lighter areas.  You can use your fingers or a cloth or both as required.  Titanium white is then used in the lightest areas and then I use lamp black or a nice bone black for accents and the darkest darks.

I tend to work from the hair into the flesh finding all my local colors and only add refinement when everything is done.

Just remember that the mid tones are neither as dark or as light as should be.  You should work out your darkest darks and lightest lights from your mid tones.

For this little study I used a very simple pallet: Raw Umber, Titanium white and a Light Ochre which has great transparency.

This is a self portrait of William Hogarth.  It is one of his earliest known portraits.  He was a very interesting man; a painter, a printmaker, an art theorist; certainly someone worth getting to know.

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This plate was taken from a now available reprint of Charles Bargue and Jean-Leon Gerome’s Drawing Course.

If you want to learn how to move from general to specific forms, understand values and modeling, to understand the site-size technique, then please, get your hands on a copy of this wonderful publication.

A good, strong drawing with clean, clear lines is the best foundation for a good painting

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