Friday, May 10, 2013

Head of a Young Girl, after Greuze

I'm still working on heads and faces.

I found a book with some great photos of drawings by the French painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805). He painted genre scenes that are coming back into favor, though they tend to  sentimentality.

However, his drawings are another matter entirely. There is no better way to appreciate his skill than to attempt a master copy of one of his drawings. I hope to do several in the coming weeks. This Head of a Young Girl is deceptive in its simplicity. It is balanced as finely as a suspension bridge.

Here is the copy in process.

You can see that I failed to capture the subtle head tilt. I noted the error and continued, knowing that even an imperfect copy could teach me much. How did he get that expression of guileless innocence, just a bit serious, a bit sweet? I'm still wondering, but in the process I gathered some clues.

Here is the final copy. Conte pencil on paper.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One Year of Figure Drawing Practice

Before the Upstairs Studio co-op disbanded, I used my little studio to do some "long pose" (4 hour) work with one of the figure models. That was about a year ago. Here is an example of a drawing from that period.

Looking back on it now, it is an ok drawing, but not very lifelike.

During my recent fun with our figure drawing group at University of Alaska, we were able to have long pose sessions (3 hours) a few times. Here is my first for 2013:

I saw some improvement, the figure looks more natural. But I didn't like how I failed to use the available space on the page. I vowed to get those drawings bigger!  My next effort pushed the edges nicely.

Same model, very different energy.

The school year came to a close, but we had time for a final session with one model in one pose for 3 hours. (Don't worry, they get breaks every 20 minutes. These models are truly wonderful. It takes strength and discipline to hold a pose.) Here is the last drawing. You can see that my work on hands helped me on this one.

All the drawings shown here are graphite on paper, except the third on the page, which was done with charcoal pencil on paper.

It's a great opportunity to work with a live model. Looking over these 4 drawings, I hope you will see some improvement. I encourage anyone out there learning to draw to seek out a figure drawing group and get some practice.

Friday, May 3, 2013

More Anatomy Study, Hands

I said in my last post that the next one would feature a master copy of a charming young woman, but I got sidetracked. My figure drawing efforts were running into trouble in the hand department, so I took a trip over to that part of the body.

There is a fine old tradition of drawings of the artist's left hand. Here is my left hand, done about a year ago, I didn't spend a lot of time on it, but I offer it as comparison for what I have been doing recently.

Following the sequence our study group uses, I copied some construction drawings and a master drawing. Below you see two drawings of the hand as a set of squared off parts. I copied the top one from the Russian Academy book I have mentioned before, Fundamentals of Drawing. I found the bottom one in Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth.

The drawing on the right side of the page above is my master copy, also from Burne Hogarth's book. Below you see a photo of Hogarth's drawing, which I used for reference.

Then I got to work on the drawing from life. My 2013 left hand, below, took a bit longer than the one I made in 2012. I can see that these studies are helping me to develop anatomical understanding.

I hope you find these exercises interesting. There will probably be some pretty ladies in the next post.