Thursday, June 2, 2016

New Picture- Adam

Just a beginning of a new direction. A guy!
This is a pastel and charcoal on light green Fabriano Ingres paper.
He will have a Pierrot collar but I really wanted to discuss the difficulty of drawing hands, especially on seated figures.

Hands and bodies move, seated figures are the hardest to align,so the best thing is to use plumb lines- weighted strings with fish weights held vertically at the looking point in a sight-size set-up-  and draw vertical lines from various points,(eyes, nose ears ) on the models head to the hands to line them up properly. I also have a T-square that I line up with a vertical element in my studio to place the horizontals- end of hands, knees, etc. The difficulty is compounded by the foreshortened arm. On my painting "Aylla", it was easy, I had pins  placed on the black chair that she put her fingers next to. I cannot put pins in Adam's legs ( he objected), so I have to continually readjust them. It takes patience, but Adam has amazing long fingers and beautiful hands - I want to capture this aspect of him.

Models move and it is imperative to get them in exactly the same place over and over again. Some models cannot do it and it is difficult for a beginner. That is why I always start a drawing of a new model before I go to a canvas. Adam is a photographer and Pratt graduate who understands and the exigencies of working with models, but even he was unprepared at how difficult being an artist's model would be. Models, and this includes Adam who was surprised at the physical pains that come with sitting in one position for long periods of time.

I was not trained in the sight-size method. At the Boston Museum School, we were left alone with the model and expected to carry on as best as we could. The sight-size method is increasingly being taught in the Classical Ateliers sprouting up all over the world. Learning Classical Realism at the Ateliers has its pluses and minuses. You do learn to drawn mimetically, but I think at some loss of expressiveness. I saw drawing I did when I was twenty three before I had learned the method. What I noticed was that what it lacked in accuracy, hands too big etc., it gained in  vivacity. Although I think  that the ateliers that have sprung up like mushrooms over the last decades are a net positive I think too many atelier students are coming out looking like clones of their teachers who are looking like clones of their teachers. I am not the first to make this observation.


ian warburton said...

English artist, now dead, Euan Uglow, had a very precise and laboured system of marks on floors and plumb lines. See what you think.

ian warburton said...

See if this works.Just an idea.

Sharon Knettell said...

Yes, there are some great pics of Uglow's studio with plumb lines and marks on the floor outlining the figure. They remind me of police pictures of crime scenes.