Monday, October 10, 2016

Always Drawing

For starters:  a pencil drawing using the grid system for enlargement.

Usually I start a painting free hand using Burnt Umbra on a rag, but for portrait type paintings full of details like this one, I chose to use a reference photo proportional grid to facilitate placement of the figures and their baggage.  The grid worked fine for a while, but as I got into the woman on the right, I switched to freehand and depended on my eye. Grids are great, but they have a flaw:  it's about the width of your pencil line--and that measurement keeps increasing and throwing off the accuracy of the enlargement. The inaccuracy in this start drawing showed up when I got to  the head of the woman on the right.  Her face is too narrow. Her chin too square.  And her mouth is totally wrong.




Now, if this was a portrait painting where likeness is all important, I'd be in trouble.  I'd have relatives of the subjects complaining;  but this is a painting about two women who are  strangers to me. I don't care about them as people.  I can let her disfigurement go--except I can't.  The expression she has on her face makes the painting work. It makes the first woman's expression make sense-- and us curious about what they are talking about.   I will correct her when I paint in my pencil lines, stage two of this start method.

Painting for me has always been about drawing and figurative drawing is about accuracy.  The boy on the upper part of the sketch below was my first attempt at drawing the boy who kept demanding, "Draw me"! It looks like him, but lacked a personality, a story. So I did another sketch right below.  Here I got the intensity I saw in his face.  His expression is explained further by including his hand.  This is the drawing to develop.  I showed it to my young friend and he agreed. Then he downloaded the game app I like to pay the most on my iPad.



Draw Me!  Graphite pencil sketch, 4" x 6"

6 comments:

  1. Looking forward to watching progress as it is a very interesting composition, intriguing......I want to know what's going on. The boy is just brilliant, good observation, and I love how you stick with something til it's right. Good to see you getting going again.....

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    1. Me too. I told you I am in no hurry. I am enjoying painting again now that I've realized I really was never interested in making it a career. It took three months sitting around healing and thinking to make that discovery.

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  2. To be honest, the grid method drove me mad: I usually ended up drawing in the wrong box and all that followed was chaos. 30+ years on, I tend to draw vertical and horizontal centre (center) line ordinates only. From these I take measurements (subordinates) for about 10 key points - like plotting a graph. I multiply these, on a calculator, by the scale I'm using and mark accordingly on the canvas. If I find I'm losing it, with the freehand, I'll take check measurements. Suits me.

    Having said all that, m'lady, your drawings are mind-blowingly brilliant ... and have had a great effect on my efforts.

    Love the drawings posted above and the quest to bring narrative into your work, floats my boat.

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    1. You number the vertical rows and letter the horizontal rows on both the grid divided canvas and the reference; you won't get lost. Free hand always steps in to make corrections and keeps on doing it long after the grid and original lines are no longer visible. Painting figuratively, you're always drawing, correcting. Refining. The reference is left behind somewhere along the way.

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  3. I agree about the importance of drawing when doing figurative work - even a small mistake in proportion or attitude tends to destroy the intent of the narrative or the emotion of the piece. Your persistence pays off. Love the sketch of the boy - it is superb!

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    1. The boy himself asked me about his hand. I said it was how his hand looked when flying over his iPad game, then showed him the reference. He wanted to know how can you draw like this and I can't. I,said, you can. You will be if you keep drawing everyday like you are doing, but instead of making up what you are doing, draw a truck or other favorite toy and let your eye guide your hand over it. Draw with your eye. He laughed, How can do you draw with your eye? And so I launched his first drawing lesson. To be continued....next family gathering.

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