Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Grid, A Grind, But Solid Drawing


First phase of The Venetian/Flemish Old World painting process: 
A Grid on the canvas that coordinates numerically with
grid drawn over the reference photo as a drawing/sizing guide for the draw-in. 

SOME ARTISTS USE TRACING PAPER for enlarging and transferring references or drawings to canvas, but I like the more hands on grid method. Sure, it's slow,  but tracing just isn't intimate enough. Relationships and measurements aren't as clear, nor is the fact that the pencil lines themselves have width that must be taken into account during the paint process if accuracy is a factor. And It is in portraiture. All of this info is revealed as you  touch every part of your subject with your pencil as well as the areas that might need a closer look.

 While drawing in Morris, side studies were suggested:  his head lost in obliterating lightness and darkness, his hands, the hands of a maestro, the head of the guitar with its head mechanics--the details  the candid snapshot missed.   Penciling him in slowly points out where to pay attention when the objective is a solid portrait with an immediate likeness. It's a lot of a grind, but a good tool for accuracy.

MY OBJECTIVE ON THIS DRAWING was to come up with a profile drawing for Facebook that was more upbeat than the one I was using.  I mugged for the camera of my iPad, printed it out in black and white and then, for some odd reason decided to try the Conte crayon I picked up on sale.  Well, the Conte pushed me to pull out my pastel pencils for this 6" x 8" sketch and sent me over the top on fix-its for a simple, daily morning, 30 minutes, more or less, drawing session; my format was too tight.   And what a mess!  Dust all over the desk. Dust up my nose. Dust ground into my fingers.  Conte and pastels are best left in the box for little ones.  The drawing, however, did hit the more upbeat mark I was after. 


OOOOOOOOOOOOH!, pastels, 6" x 8", 30 Minutes More or Less Daily Drawing Series




  



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12 comments:

  1. I agree with your use of a grid, and you state those reasons so well! Messy or not, your portrait in pastel is fantastic - love your expression!!!
    Kathryn

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! I was enjoying your mushrooms. It's catch up with blog buddies day. Your schedule reads overwhelming. I hope you're on the mend from your spill. Falls can shake us up for a week.

      The odd thing about grids is that a few artists regard them as 'mechanical drawing' when actually they are a most helpful tool for getting acquainted with your subject and finding the areas that will need particular attention. The draw-in is like running your finger over all the forms.

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  2. Hi Linda - back to the Venetian torture chamber I see. I remember when you got fed up with it and wanted to go loose again- lol!!!
    Seriously, I do enjoy the way you can work both tight and loose, and you certainly made a sound observation for the reason you want to get
    back into another one.
    I found the grid restricted personal expression in my own case, but that is what is wonderful about painting....something for everyone and no right or wrong way.
    Your sketch of you made me smile. it is very good and up-lifting.
    Have a great weekend.

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    1. It's true I hated the Venetian process. It's demand for a high degree of control drove me bats after years of letting loose with paint. But now I want the balance it offers. After six years of living loose in retirement and a recent cancer scare, I need a high level of control. Painting provides balance in my life. It's been a wonderful tool for contentment. Morris is a perfect subject. He was an artist. I know his temperament and am looking forward to spending some time with him. My loose side is being satisfied with these drawings. While pastel was a mess, I do like letting go on these heads. Yin and Yang.

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    2. I am so happy to hear your reasoning and then the control level makes so much sense. When I worked with egg tempera my life was in chaos, and I needed the calm meditative experience of a disciplined medium. I LOVED it!
      Wish I could say I could - but know I could not do what you can do by working controlled and also do loose. Thats what I admire about your many talents.

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  3. Ik vind het heel knap gedaan Linda ben benieuwd hoe hij is als hij klaar is lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. He'll be fine when he is done providing my patience holds. The Venetian/Flemish process does take time, extreme care and controlled emotions, but it's reward is a meticulous rendering most find awesome. Thanks for commenting. I stopped by your blog last night and was delighted to see your flowers. The two new paintings are,lovely, but I really thought the pansies of your last post were brilliant. They felt like they were dancing in the wind. End of next month, I can look for them at the market. Won't that be a nice change.

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  4. I love your new subject, and the grid looks like a good idea. Haven't done that since highschool, but a good thing for accuracy. I love the new profile picture! :)

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    1. I've used the method for enlarging several times since I zeroed in on portraiture. It's especially useful for this portrait when the reference is poor (with regards to details) and the subject is deceased. The more accurate I can be, the better. The painting is 20/24.

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  5. We see our work as they arise ... we know all the backstage, but then it's nice to come here and find all your thoughts and comments of friends.
    I love your new self portrait ("smack" for me) and ... Morris that promises so well!

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  6. It is cool to see the gridded drawing of the painting-to-be...and that portrait drawing---wooo hoo! Just love it. Wonderful

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    1. Maestro is going to take a lot of time and self coaxing; the Venetian is tedious. I'm going to have to do a lot of 30 minute sketches to keep this blog fresh. I've noticed, I am moving away from pencil on those drawings and leaning more towards conte and charcoal and the graphite stick. I think I've come round circle. Charcoal is a favorite. Thanks Celeste. This portrait was a total surprise.

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