Session #171, Work #169

I think I need to stop using newsprint. I love that it is so cheap, and it does have a bit of tooth to it, but it has a ton of issues with charcoal. Sometimes the charcoal glides across it perfectly leaving a great line then, on other days its like a pen thats out of ink and just scratching paper.

The model was new today, this was her first session ever modeling and she did wonderfully. There was some drifting in the poses, but as artists its really up to us to adjust for the inevitable. All models will move and a bit through a pose, every pose will settle and be slightly different, we have to be prepared for it and plan. I think that is hard for a lot of artist I know I have struggled with it, I still struggle with it. One of the best things that I have heard an artist comment on was about the changing of a landscape. Marc Dalessio  commented on one of his videos that a landscape is going to change during the time you paint it no matter what, you can either “chase the effects” and struggle with completing a painting, or you can see it as an opportunity to see a landscape much better than the one you originally sat down to paint. The same is true for a model, I have done a lot of drawing from the model in the past few months and there have been lots of occasions where small changes in a pose make everything exciting.

 

The Drawings

71713a30 second poses.

 

71713b30 second poses.

 

71713c30 second poses.

 

71713d5 minute pose.

 

71713e5 minute poses.

 

The next three drawings were done from the same pose that was repeated over four 15 minute sessions, I just picked up my easel and moved around the room a couple times. I was talking with Karen a fellow artist in the class and she had commented that the model was challenging to draw, and I would agree. But I didn’t think it was the model that was difficult, it was the pose that was difficult. It seems like the more dynamic the pose is the easier it is to draw. But when the weight of the pose is even, and there is not much transition in the body, this is where the minute accuracy is necessary. Its kinda like drawing a long straight line, like the roof of a house, or a railing, or a vertical beam, if the straightness of that line wobbles in the slightest it is very noticeable.

71713f15 minute pose.

 

Here is where I’m having trouble with the charcoal not wanting to mark on the paper.

71713g15 minute pose.

 

71713h30 minute pose.

 

PS: This is the first night in a long time that I got a daily post out on time, go me!!

Session #170, Work #164

The Drawing

71613-beforefixative

I finally finished it, I know it wasn’t exactly a very long drawing, but I was only able to work on this drawing for a couple hours a night. I didn’t have any intention of it actually going this long. When I started the drawing I was in the mood of getting the simplicity just perfect. I’m not even sure if I want to push this idea further. For now I will just be happy with what it is, and move on to the next session.

 

71613-beforefixative-detail2

I took a lot of picture of the drawing because I wanted to see if it changed much after I sprayed it with fixative. I have sprayed many drawings before and I noticed that they are darkened a bit and that the charcoal would gain some texture in places. This is a detail before I sprayed it with fixative.

 

71613-beforefixative-detail

Another detail before I sprayed it with fixative.

 

71613-afterfixative

The drawing after I sprayed the whole thing with fixative. The photo doesn’t really look much different, but in looking at the drawing in person areas did darken a bit, and I have some speckling in places now.

 

71613-afterfixative-detail2

You may be able to see the change in the drawing after using fixative in these details. I seems as if has become slightly more dull now.

 

71613-afterfixative-detail

 

Last detail, I will have to resist the urge to try and darken up the background more.

 

Session #169, Work #164

The Drawing

71513

Most of the work today was on the lower half. I’m still working in a very simplified manner, unfortunately I’m not sure why I’m working this way. I’m intrigued how so less detail can describe more than is necessary in a subject, but at the same time it is noticeable if the accuracy in the drawing is done well and true to the subject. Its very similar to a blurry photograph, or looking at a figure far off in the distance, even though the exact features are obscured you can still tell if the figure is well formed.

 

71513-detail

 

Here is a detail of the lower half. I’m not liking the foot that is in shadow I will have to push that back some more and edit the drawing a bit. I’m very happy with how I described the knee of the back leg though.

Session #168, Work #168

The Drawing

71413b

The movie theater that I went to has screens on multiple floors. I was on the top floor looking down at the concession stand of the floor below me. It was a lot of fun dealing with all the angles created by the counters, machines and designs on the floor.

 

71413b-setupI wish I had more time before the movie to work on this but after 30 minutes I had to run and get a good seat. There is so much to draw here I could easily have spent a couple hours on it.

Session #168, Work #167

The Drawings

71413a-1

No model yet, but here is a skeleton and a nice light. I spent about 30 minutes on this drawing, the detail that is necessary to describe a skeleton correctly is daunting.

 

71413a-skeleton

Here is the classroom setup with the skeleton and light. Later the model will be on the stand on the right.

 

71413a-2

20 minutes

 

71413a-3

20 minutes

 

71413a-4

20 minutes. I like this one a lot, I got lucky with her face and I think I actually captured a likeness.

 

71413a-5

20 minutes

 

71413a-6

20 minutes

 

71413a-8

20 minute pose again, but for this one I was trying to go as quick and loose as I could. I wanted accuracy, and the whole figure. I was trying to challenge myself.

 

71413a-710 minutes, just a bit of fun at the end.

 

Euan Uglow

Euan Uglow

 

euan-uglow-ali

Ali

1995-1997 Oil on canvas 32″ x 30″

 

euan-uglow-curled-nude-on-a-stool

Curled nude on a stool

1982-3 Oil on canvas 30″ x 39″

 

 

euan-uglow-nuria

Nuria

1998-2000 Oil on Canvas laid on panel 14.25″ x 21.25″

 

 

euan-uglow-skull

Skull

1994-7 Oil on canvas 12.75″ x 25″

 

 

euan-uglow-summer-picture

Summer Picture

1971-2 oil on canvas 43″ x 43.5″

 

 

euan-uglow-the-diagonal

The Diagonal

1971-1977 oil on canvas 46″ x 65″

 

 

 

Great post about Euan Uglow here.

Session #167, Work #164

The Drawing

71313a

This one is taking a lot of time. I’m working hard on keeping each of the value shapes very simple, but I want every shape to be informed totally by the still life. Its true to the statue yet simplified, I guess I could say stylized.

 

71313b

 

The more I work the Stonehenge paper in this manner, the more it looks like a printed piece. With the charcoal and my carefulness with building it up on the paper it all has a very uniform texture and surface.

Session #166, Work #164

The Drawing

71213b

It took me about 1.5 hours to get this far with it. I was intense with concentration on getting all the angles perfect and placement correct. I tried as much as possible to limit my value ranges and keep each shape simplified.

 

71213c

 

I worked into it for another 30 minutes later in the day. I placed some of the shapes in the wing and worked mainly on the background. I wanted to find the best way to work the surface into as flat and dark a space as I could get. I will work on this again saturday, hopefully I can keep the focus.

 

Session #165, Work #166

 The Drawing

71113a

After 20 minutes into the drawing.

 

71113b

40 minutes into the drawing

 

71113c

1 hour into the drawing.

 

71113d

1.5 hours into the drawing.

 

71113e

2 hours into the drawing.

 

71113f

3 hours

 

71113g

After bringing the drawing home I lightly drew a brush over the entire drawing to remove any hard edges in preparation for working into it again next thursday.

 

71113h

 

I used my eraser to pull out the lightest areas of the figure based on memory. If I work into this drawing again, I will definitely start with fixing the proportions.

 

Session #164, Work #165

Happy birthday Jamie Bollenbach! The fact that he has the same birthday as me was pretty crazy, although I believe he is older than me.

I had a good drawing night, I worked in sanguine some, then I had some fun with form drawing with a big hunk of charcoal, thanks to Berry for giving me a huge chunk. The last 1 hour drawing of the night was spent mostly thinking about subject. I was thinking about what I wanted to capture in the figure, what I wanted to say, I was thinking about all kinds of things. Jamie was pushing me to do more than just reproduce what I see. I still have a lot of thinking to do.

 

The Drawings

71013a
1 minute poses

 

 

71013b
1 minute poses

 

 

71013c
1 minute poses

 

 

71013d
1 minute poses

 

 

71013e
1 minute pose and 2 minute pose

 

 

71013f
2 minute poses

 

 

71013g
2 minute poses

 

 

71013h
2 minute pose

 

 

71013i
10 minute poses

 

 

 

71013
1 hour drawing, trying something new here.

Session #163, Work #164

 The subject

70913-subject

The lights in this photo are terrible, they are completely blown out.

 

The Drawing

70913-pre1

This is my start, this took about 5 minutes. You can see how very loose it is.

 

70913-pre2

After 30 minutes I have begun improving the drawings accuracy and establishing a bit of the half tones along with the lights and darks.

 

70913-pre3

 

At the very end I used a large brush to fade out the whole drawing. When I work on it again I will have an accurate base to work with but it won’t have any hard edges so it will be easy to work into.

Session #162, Work #163

I liked working on the toned Arches 300lb hotpress watercolor paper so much that I pulled out an older sheet that I had of the same paper but in 190lb, which is much cheaper. I had toned this paper over a month ago with india ink and didn’t do a good job of it, there is a lot of streaking over the paper. The streaking from the bad tone on the paper shows through on some of the drawing but it doesn’t hurt it that much. What it does prove, is that the cheaper 190lb Arches hot press watercolor paper works just as well as its 300lb big brother. So it looks like I will be buying a bunch of this for my future charcoal drawings.

 

The Subject

70813-subject

 

The Drawing

70813-pre1

I really enjoy starting this way. Its so rough and general that its hard to messup, plus I have a whole figure to work with right away.

 

70813-pre2

This is 30 minutes into the drawing. Working from the general block-in really allows me to hit the essence of the drawing early on.

 

70813a

After 1.5 hours I’m really happy with this one. I added highlights with a Pitt white charcoal pencil. I did discover that the paper was toned so dark that I couldn’t hit the higher values I wanted without using white chalk. And I really didn’t like the look of the white chalk on the drawing so I erased most of it then dug into the paper with the eraser to try and get to as much white as possible. I like toning paper with watercolor better because it does erase a bit, which is amazing cause it gives another higher value to hit just in case I did key the drawing correctly.

 

70813b

Detail.

 

Session #161, Work #162

My last drawing was all about preparation for this drawing. I knew that I wanted to get deep into a long term drawing so I made sure that before I went into the session that I knew what my goals were. 

My first goal was to not worry about the materials, even though the paper and charcoal was the most expensive, ( Arches 300lb Hot Press watercolor paper and Nitram fine art charcoal ). My next goal was to block in the figure quickly before the first break with a big chunk of cheap charcoal, not worrying about the details, just getting a good placement of the figure as well as a general, but accurate, account of where the shadow and light shapes are. Third goal, don’t’ worry about half tones until the major light and dark shapes are figured and placed correctly. Forth goal, once I have all the major shapes established blend the whole drawing down with a large brush so its a faint blurry accurate description of the scene, then work back into the drawing with details starting with the darkest darks first.

I think I accomplished all of these goals, and I had a great time doing it. I took my time, I wasn’t rushed, I was focused but not tense. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the result.

The Drawing

70713-pre

I forgot several times to take a picture of the drawing in its earlier stages, this is about 1.5 hours into the drawing. The distractions were great though, I really enjoy speaking to the other artists in these life drawing classes. I always learn something, and every now and then I tentatively impart some information that I think may be helpful.

 

70713

 

The finished drawing, I wish I had a bit more time to focus more on the generalization of the fabric under her and next to her folded leg.

 

 

Session #160, Work #161

The Subject

70613-subject

My wife has no shortage of figurines, we have a huge bookshelf devoted to them, luckily they are all mostly figurative and they all make good subjects.

 

THE DRAWING

70613a

30 minutes into the drawing and I started with the block-in of the major shapes. Even though my strokes here are large and do not reflect the exact contour I still try to be a accurate as possible. One of the troubles I’m having here though is the extreme roughness of the paper, I think it looks terrible when working with smaller details.

 

70613b

1 hour into the drawing and at this point I have picked up a couple of bristle brushes and I’m moving the charcoal around and seeing how I can manipulate it with a brush. One thing I did figure out was not to use my fingers. As soon as I smudge the charcoal with my fingers the rough texture of the paper more apparent and the smooth tones are destroyed.

 

70613c

I really liked how using the bristle brush on the background really smoothed out the charcoal. So I decided to smooth out the entire drawing and get rid of the paper texture all together. Throughout this whole process I’m reminded  constantly of oil painting. I would work like this with oil all the time, smoothing out a painting, removing all hard edges then working back into it was always refreshing.

 

70613

1.5 hours into the drawing and I decided to stop here. I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of time by just brushing out the entire paper right after the initial block-in then working into the drawing. I had all the major shapes in close accuracy right at the beginning all I needed was a better way of refining the shapes. I’m constantly amazed at how well this process works.

 

The Setup

70613-setup

Session #159, Work #160

 

I really need to get comfortable with watercolor. Even though I’m only using one color, lamp black, I’m still pretty timid with it. The plan for this drawing was to see if I could work with watercolor in the same way that I was working with charcoal yesterday, with big blocky strokes at the beginning and then refine as the drawing progressed. I expected to make a mess of the drawing because I was certain that after I put down a dark area of watercolor that it would be impossible to move around, and I was correct in my assumption.

I didn’t try re-wetting the color to move it around though. I’m fairly certain that re-wetting would be problematic. Any time I have added water again the water would tend to push the pigment to its edges creating a very un even value. I need to play with re-wetting at some point, their may be some merit to it.

Well, I can’t work graphite and watercolor like I was working charcoal. I believe this is a good thing, graphite and watercolor do not lend themselves well to a sloppy technique, so these are good tools for keeping me focused and accurate. Although when looking at this drawing a second time, I see some sloppy areas that I should have been more focused with.

 

The Drawing

70513

Session #158, Work #159

 

In May I had a really good drawing session when Jamie asked me to use a large piece of charcoal and define the figure with broad strokes, I posted about it here. Ever since then I would on occasion pull this tool out of my growing bag of tricks, its fun and easier than focusing hard on getting proportions correct. Unfortunately I didn’t grasp the full potential of this method, that was until these last two drawings. Previously I thought this was a gimmick. Yes, this is an easy way to quickly grasp the basic pose, but it did nothing to further my education. It didn’t test my knowledge or help train my eye to see or strengthen my hand eye coordination. But I was wrong…

Initially when I block in the shadow shapes, they barely resemble the figure and their placement is, most of the time,  vastly incorrect. This initial stage doesn’t remotely improve my training of proportions but, what it does well is free my mind of fear. Specifically the fear of making mistakes. At this point is a huge mess of charcoal it can only get better. Furthermore an initial form block-in give an initial placement of the subject for when I’m concerned about composition, which I must say doesn’t happen often.

After the initial form block-in I continue with this method but now I treat the charcoal more like a flat brush rather than the point of a pencil. I also use a kneaded eraser to pull out lighter areas in the same way, as if it were a brush full of a light value.

Most objects can be reduced broadly into three tone masses, the lights (including the high lights), the half tones, and the shadows. And the habit of reducing things to simple equation of three tones as a foundation on which to build complex appearances should early be sought for.Harold Speed

And as Harold Speed so elegantly indicates, this is exactly what I’m doing. I break down the form much like a sculptor would break down clay into smaller and smaller details, always trying to describe as much with a single stroke as possible. If painting is like drawing but with paint, than this is like painting with charcoal. But, as Mr Speed indicates I must be careful…

The use of charcoal to the neglect of line drawing often gets the student into a sloppy manner of work, and i snot so good a training to the eye and hand in clear, definite statement. Its popularity is no doubt due to the fact that you can get much effect with little knowledge.Harold Speed

So this is what I should be careful of. I need to work in the manner, but refine it, much like Sargent, and erase if any part becomes sloppy.

The Subject

70413-subject

 

 The Drawing

70413a

This was after 30 minutes of drawing. You can see how quickly this methods describes the initial form. At this point its all about moving the charcoal around, refining and correcting.

 

70413b

I like this Ingres paper it really pulls the charcoal right off the stick, but its is so coarse that getting any definition of the subjects true texture is near impossible. Also it doesn’t like to hold the charcoal well, If I didn’t spray this drawing I’m sure a small shake would remove most of the charcoal from the paper.

Session #157, Work #158

 

I figure I will go through each page of drawings and add comments where necessary tonight.

The Drawings

70313i

Jamie started with 1 minute poses tonight. I was thinking about “Chasing the pose” and really trying to see the weight in the figure, its balance, and the gesture of the pose. But I mostly ended up with stick figures.

 

70313h

1 minute poses again, and here you can see the left is stilted and stiff, while the right drawing is a bit more loose and organic. I let go with the drawing on the right and tried to capture the gesture, weight and balance of the model through lines more sensitive to her contour.

 

70313f

More 1 minute poses, now I’m back to the stilted stiff look. I’m trying to see the angles of the hips and shoulder and the center line of the body, but its harder than I thought.

 

70313g

On these 1 minutes poses I’m getting better with balancing the organic with accurate proportions.

 

70313e

Once we got into the two minute poses I really let go. I just moved with the form, my whole body was moving when I was drawing. It was more like I was listening to good music rather than drawing. And the proportions with the two drawings on the right may not be exact with the model, but who cares the drawings are really nice.

 

70313d

I’m not sure what happened here, these are still 2 minute drawings, but I think I’m thinking too much here.

 

70313c

Into 5 minute poses and charcoal. Right away the scratchiness of charcoal is throwing me off and I’m just drawing with form and not lines, this drawing is just a transition into the next material.

 

70313b

Again, I’m thinking about the material, stiff drawing here, way too reliant on getting the proportions perfect.

 

70313a

Better on this 5 minute drawing, I’m working with the material not fighting it, and flowing with the form a bit more. Also Jamie was saying that I should research an artist named Zhi Lin who is a professor at washington university. And wow, he is great.

zhilin_drawingquartering_2

 

70313j

 

We ended up with a 1 hour pose. I was so relaxed with this drawing that I think I talked with Jamie just as much as I was drawing. I feel like I have had a bit of a breakthrough here. After such a bad day of drawing yesterday and now being able to really turn that around I learned a lot in very little time.

Jamie and I were talking about rendering only the essential essence of the figure or any subject, and I was immediately reminded of hands painted by Sargent. He could describe so much with the most minimal amount of brush strokes, truly masterful. This is what I need to work towards.

fenimoresargent300

Session #156, Work #157

Studio Anaphoria is an amazing studio where they have a long pose three hours session on Tuesdays for two weeks in a row. Its a great opportunity to make a long term drawing, and that is exactly what I was planning. I had purchased some really nice paper, Arches 300lb Hot Press watercolor paper. Then I was super careful in laying down a very even watercolor wash over the sheet after cutting it in half. I was prepared for a great drawing with superb paper, but, it failed miserably.

First of all I was late to the session after spending almost two hours in traffic in a hot truck with no air conditioning. This was not a great way to start a session. Luckily I was able to get a good spot in front of the model, while trying not to annoy the other artists too much. Needless to say my mind state before the drawing was not well.

I had come too far and prepared too much to turn back now though. Besides, the model was very cool. He was an old guy sitting in a chair clad in rusty plate armor and chain mail. The subject is a bit cliche but I had never drawn anything like this before so I was excited to try.

Unfortunately, nothing was going well, I was measuring like crazy trying hard to get the proportions perfect while at the same time being careful not to mess up my awesome paper. Little did I know that I was so worried about proportions and messing up the paper that my drawing execution was timid and stilted. I was so timid with the drawing that when the model came back from break and the pose was off slightly, which is something that always happens, I couldn’t recover from it. Even though the difference was slight, I didn’t have enough on the paper to compare with the model, so every break it was like starting over again. The whole ordeal was extremely frustrating. So much so that I erased the first drawing and decided to focus on the face and nothing else. I never really recovered, even when I just focused on the head. Too much had gone wrong, and this session was soon a bust.

I was reminded of this great post from the L.A.R.A website called “Chasing The Pose”. I had read this post a few days earlier and it didn’t really make much since to me until after this session.

Being to reliant on pure observation can produce a drawing made up of several different poses melded together resulting in “stiff” or motionless work.L.A.R.A Blog

I never realized how true that statement is. I had experienced it before, but never noticed it for exactly what it was. The drawings that I would do of the model where proportions were super accurate always looked stiff and lifeless, but when I would let go and flow with the form only comparing proportions with my eyes I would almost always come away with better drawings. I’m not saying that measurement isn’t necessary though, I believe that measurement is a great tool to train your eye to see and your had to follow. Being very strick with myself in measuring has allowed me to become more accurate when drawing without measuring. What I’m saying, and what I’ve heard Jamie Bollenback mention on several occasions, is that its a balance. A balance of mathematical measurement and organic flow.

Beatrice, a wonderful woman in my Wednesday and Sunday sessions really understood my ordeal. And she had the perfect solution for timidness with good materials for the first time. And that is to work with good materials ALL the time, that way you will get comfortable with destroying them and not so tense that you ruin the drawings every time.

On the bright side, I always seem to learn the most from my mistakes.

 

The Drawings

70213b

 

 

70213a

Session #155, Work #156

 

Short drawing on the first of the month. I purchased another sketchbook and I was itching to try it out with a nice watercolor wash. This is the same size and company as my other sketchbook (Stillman & Birn) but the only difference is that the paper is a hot press, smooth. I believe this is the Zeta series 7″ X 10″. I was recommended the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks by Aaron at A&C Art supplies and I have thanked him several times for introducing me to such a great sketchbook.

The smooth paper worked well for the graphite on this sketch. Its not a great sketch but it served a good purpose, to get a feeling for how graphite would work on a smoother surface after it has been toned with a watercolor wash. I did notice right away that the graphite became reflective very quickly, much more quickly than the rougher paper of my other sketchbook. But, when putting down a large area of graphite this paper had much less stippling and crackling between the value.

As far as the sketch goes, I was sitting on the toilet with my materials and just started drawing. Sometimes subject really doesn’t matter. As long as I’m inspired or motivated by anything to draw, I just go for it.

 

The Drawing

70113

Session #154, Work #155

 

Gage Academy long pose sunday is really nice. The session is timed into 20 minute sections for the model and they have snacks and coffee available. They also have drawing horses that are the perfect size for me, and during this session I even found a pillow to sit on so my bum wasn’t hurting while sitting on the hard wood for three hours.

I was really calm for this entire drawing, I started out just looking at the model for a bit then decided to do a drawing that had proportions as accurate as I could get them. So, I started with a bunch of measurements  mapping out the figure to the correct size right at the beginning. After the first twenty minutes I only had a few lines on the paper, but those lines were spot on.

I’m not sure why but I just worked on this one drawing the whole three hours, I didn’t plan it, I even started it on newsprint which is the worst for a long drawing. But, I’m happy with the result. This tuesday I’m planning a very long drawing, and I will have some great paper for it.

The Drawing

63013

Session #153, Work #154

 

At the Frye Museum their main show currently is of the artist Buster Simpson. I didn’t know anything about Buster Simpson before this show and even though the show was interesting in its setup I felt that the message of the work was too cryptic. With work so full of “art speak” I need some aesthetic interest before I am influenced into seeking out the meaning of the work. What I find ultimately strange is that all of Buster Simpsons work is done in public areas, I would think that work made for the public, people that could care less about an artists intentions, should have a least some appealing visual quality. Really there were only a couple pieces that I didn’t walk up to and immediately think “What the hell, this is strange?”.

In contrast to Buster I would like to use Richard Serra as an example. Now here is an artist with work that has ultimate aesthetic appeal, so much so that I could buy a huge book about his work and read it cover to cover.

But, I have looked at his website of the work that he has done around Seattle and a lot of it is great. Most of it is aesthetically pleasing and well done. Strange that none of it transferred over into the show at the Frye, so I spend most of my time with the Horizon show doing this drawing.

 

62913

All the Hudson river school paintings were lined up by their horizon lines very close to each other and the lighting was very nice.

 

62913-locationa

 

 

62913-locationb

 

 

62913j

 

 

62913i

 

 

62913h

 

 

62913g

 

 

62913f

 

 

62913l

 

 

62913k

 

 

62913e

 

 

62913m

 

 

62913d

 

 

62913c

 

 

62913b

 

 

62913a

 

 

62913n

 

Kiddy says its hot….

 

Gurney post on Monet and Sargent

I frequently read “Gurney Journey” a blog by the artist James Gurney. His posts are always interesting and very insightful. I wanted to share this post because I was amazed at the correspondence between Monet and Sargent as well as the small look into their lives.

I just love this quote from Monet about his first meeting with Sargent.

I remember for the first time meeting Sargent and [Paul] Helleu at the Rue de la Paix 1876. Sargent was making a fuss over me, saying, “Is that really you, Claude Monet?” Then he invited me to dinner. He wanted to take us to the Cafe de la Paix, and he had many friends with him. I suggested the Cafe du Helder, and requested a private room. Unfortunately there were several of my pictures there, I was embarrassed as we entered, ashamed that Sargent and the others might think it was because of my paintings I had brought us to Cafe Helder.Claude Monet

Here is the full post by James Gurney.

Session #152, Work #153

 

I found a good seat next to an espresso bar, and in front of Nordstrom where there were some models posing for me. The models were holding perfectly still, although they looked a bit lifeless, quite a contrast to all the other people in the mall. It was very crowded.

62813-location

62813

I really took my time with this drawing, working on minute details and not really worrying about how much I could get finished, simply accuracy and details.

Wow, Kim Jung-Gi

Every so often I see an artist so amazing that I feel as if I could never achieve what they are doing, and that fuels my passion even more, to get out there and keep working hard.

Check out this post from James Gurney about the amazing artist Kim Jung-Gi. He does a mural with a marker with no prior sketches or preliminary drawings, all from his head and the details are so amazing you could get lost in the scene. Truly inspiring.

Its a really long video, wow.

 

Session #151, Work #152

 

The paper fo this sketchbook is a water color paper so it doesn’t really work well for graphite trying to render a smooth tone, as you can see in the dark patch on the left. I should have realized this and busted out the watercolor and put a nice black back there, but I was being lazy.

I beginning to understand the importants of texture in drawings. I used a tortillion to smudge out the graphite on the apples and it began to give them a very smooth and polished look, like apples should have. I aslo kept my pencil strokes for the basket very loose and linear to depict the fibers of the wood. At some point I need to really sit down and do a very long term drawing so I can deal with all the textural possibilities.

 

The Drawing

62713

Session #150, Work #151

 

Jamie had us doing some exercises today to get us out of our comfort zone, something that I need to do more often. Basically we had to think of any way to draw that was different from the current way that we usually draw and do it. First I decided to draw nothing but the negative space strictly linear then I did a drawing focused on nothing but form through the shadow shapes, and on the last two I blocked out a space with charcoal and used an eraser to capture the contour of the figure. I was definitely out of my confort zone, the drawing turned out terrible and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing while drawing them. I will have to do this more, its important to shake things up every now and then.

Jamie keeps pushing me to think about subject matter, and I appreciate it. I think about my end goal for my artwork very often, but I take my time. I’m in no rush to start making my final paintings, I’m enjoying just honing my skills. I hope that in the future I will be good enough so I don’t have to constantly think about rendering, that it will just happen, and all my thoughts will be wrapped up in emotion over the subject matter.

 

The Drawings

62613b
2 min pose

 

 

62613c
2 min pose

 

 

62613d
2 minute poses, two with a different drawing technique

 

 

62613e
2 minute poses with a different drawing technique

 

 

62613f
1 hour drawing

 

 

62613a
30 minute drawing

Session #149, Work #150

 

If anyone wants to attend this session you can get the details from its meetup.com section. I had some trouble figuring out exactly where the studio was even though the direction indicated that it was right next to Cash and Carry. I think it was the chain link fence gate that threw me off, it looked like a back way into someones private property. So after venturing into the unknown backyard I was greeting with an amazing studio. I’m not joking this studio is top notch, its very close to what I would call my dream studio. I also met Aaron Coberly the organizer who was already three hours into an amazing portrait painting of the model, and another gentleman named John who was also deep into a great painting.

I will definitely attend this session again, the people were nice, the space was perfect and the art being produced was inspiring.

 

The Drawings

62513c
20 minute sketch

 

 

62513d
20 minute sketch

 

 

62513e
20 minute sketch

 

 

62513f
25 minute sketch

 

 

62513g
40 min sketch

 

 

62513a

One of the super nice studio cats. I almost sketched this one while she was posing with the model.

 

62513b

 

 

Session #148, Work #149

 

I just couldn’t wait till Wednesday to draw from the figure, so I used meetup.com to find a cool life drawing session at the Canoe social club. It was actually a very cool session. The place was very small but the lighting was great the the model was superb. My only complait was that I would have like more longer poses, most of the poses were very short, around 5 minutes.

 

The Drawings

62413k

I got there early, so I started drawing the city before the session.

 

62413j
2 minute poses

 

 

62413i
2 minute poses

 

 

62413h
not sure how long, maybe 2 minutes?

 

 

62413g
5 minute poses?

 

 

62413f
10 minute poses

 

 

62413e
5 minute poses

 

 

62413d
5 minute pose

 

 

62413c
10 minute pose

 

 

62413b
20 minute pose

 

 

62413a
20 minute pose

Session #147, Work #148

 

Only an hour spend on this plate so far. I have to say that I wasn’t very focused while doing it also, I guess I was still recovering from the great cruise.

I plan on continuing this drawing soon, but after looking at it now, I may just start it over.

62313

Session #146, Work #147

 

Getting off the ship after a late night carrying all our luggage plus the extra 10 pounds we gained while on the ship I was tired. Then we waited for a bit for our ride to pick us up and drive half of our group back to the apartment so Pattie could drive back and pick up the other half. When we were al united at the apartment we went out and got dinner at one of our favorite places, Panera.

Then we came back to the apartment and watched “Chasing Ice”. A great film by James Balog and his goal as an amazing photographer to educate people about climate change and the disappearing glaciers. Check out the movement at the Extreme Ice Survey Website.

After a long day we dropped the in-laws off at the airport at about 8pm and by the time I was able to sit down and realize that I still needed to do a drawing, I was super tired and ready for bed. So, I quickly setup one of my still life objects on my black desk and sketched. Its terrible, but I did it. I completed my daily goal.

62213

 

 

Session #145, Work #146

 

62113-location

I love when a city provides not only a great pice of artwork to draw but a comfortable seat to view it from while you draw. We got to the city at 6pm, just enough time to catch some good light and long shadows.

 

62113

I only spent about 45 minutes on the drawing before my urge to explore the city took over. I was happy with the focus that I put into the drawing also.

 

62113i

This amazing structure is a government building in the center of victoria. I wish I had a building like this close in seattle I could draw it for months.

 

62113h

There are also totem poles all over Victoria. Its nice that they honor the original natives of the north west here.

 

62113g

Through my long walk a found this great park. As I walked I was noticing all kinds of compositions that would make a great painting or drawing. If I lived in Victoria I would never run out of exciting things to paint.

 

62113e

 

Some of the houses here were amazing, and as I walked I noticed that there were a lot of bed and breakfast places. I see a return trip to Victoria in our future.

 

62113d

Alas, back to the ship. This was our last port before we retuned to Seattle. As I walked up to the ship I was wondering who was going to clean my room every night at home. Where was I going to get my 5 course meals from every day! What would I do without a 24 hour gourmet buffet?!?!

 

62113f

I passed by this painting often while on the ship. This was an original, not a print. Actually, this whole staircase had an original painting on each deck. And every painting was of different versions of the Westerdam through the years. All of the paintings were well done.

 

62113c

This painting was on the top observation deck. I thought the subject matter was great! And I’m glad that the person choosing this painting said, “I don’t care if their all on fire, its a great painting”!

 

62113a

On deck 8 there were nothing but old master etching reproductions up and down the hallway on both sides. There had to be close to 300 prints just on this one deck.

 

62113b

 

One last pic off our balcony as we sail for home.

Session #144, Work #145

 

62013

With all the fun we were having on our cruise I found it hard to stop and make time for a sketch each day. But I made a promise to myself that I would do at least 30 minutes each day. On this day I did the minimum, and I felt great about it. It doesn’t matter how small, or short, I’m moving forward every day.

 

62013c

 

Ketchikan was a great looking town and the weather was great! Yes, it was great I mean that, I really like the cool damp rainy days. The air is crisp and everything is cool and clean.

 

62013g

A nice sculpture greeted us as we got off the ship. I love sculpted figures, they are the best to draw from.

 

62013a

For our excursion today we took a trip on a boat to an island off the coast. We say all kinds of bald eagles during the trip.

 

62013b

The beaches in the north west are great, no sand, just perfect skipping rocks everywhere.

 

62013e

On the island we did a walk through the wilderness with a guide that talked about the local flora an fauna. This is a picture of an overturned tree, and its massive!

 

62013f

It was a very easy hike through the woods, on a day like this I could have hiked all day.

 

62013d

 

After our excursion we hit some of the shops before we had to board the ship again. At one of the shops we say this amazing Mamonth tusk that was carved stunning detail. There was probable over 100 animals carved into this tusk, it was very beautiful.

 

Session #143, Work #144

 

61913

Some days I have so much energy for art that I can’t stop doing something. That was not today. I sat at the Ocean bar, picked a random sculpture of a lion and began to draw it. I knew that I was lacking energy, so my main goal here was to do at least 30 minutes of observation. I ended up drawing some flowers also.

 

61913b

On this day we ported in Sitka Alaska. Here is a picture of the Westerdam while we were on a tender that was taking us to the dock.

 

61913d

Today’s excursion was awesome! For the second time in my life we snorkeled in Alaska. For obvious reasons I do not have pictures of all the awesome sea life we experienced under the ocean.

 

61913e

Sitka was a nice town, lots of shops with native art, and of course beautiful scenery.

 

61913a

 

61913c

Another picture at night from our balcony.

 

61913f

 

Here is a huge mural they had next to one of the bars on the ship, like I said there was amazing art all over this ship.

Session #142, Work #143

 

61813-location

These huge vases were scattered throughout the ship. I chose one at the mid ship area, what I am now calling the artists studio area of each deck.

 

61813

At this point in the cruse the laziness from being pumped full of food constantly was setting in so I didn’t feel like really focusing on intense measurement of the subject. So I used a technique that I learned in Jamie Bollenbacks life drawing class, where you work up the  subject through a fog of strokes. Its kinda like daydreaming while drawing and making hundreds of proportional mistakes but only allowing the correct strokes to dominate. Its a great way to do a drawing in a very playful manner.

 

61813f

I thought that the cascade mountains in Washington were beautiful, but the mountains in Alaska take it to a whole other level.

 

61813e

I could stare at them for days, the pictures will never do them justice.

 

61813c

I was mesmerized by the wave forms created by the ship along with the reflections of the mountains, it was like waves in glass.

 

61813d

 

61813b

And then we arrived at Margerie Glacier. If you have never seen, and heard, a glacier from a mile out to see then I would say put it on your bucket list. Its is truly awe-inspiring.

 

61813a

 

On our way south again, and here is a view from a deck 3 port hole.

Session #141, Work #142

 

I was constantly surrounded by artwork while on the ship and this sculpture was setup like an artists studio. Good lighting and a comfy seat, if they only had an easy then I would have brought my paints.

61713-location

 

 

61713

This sketch was tremendous fun, it made me really want to get a full figure sculpture and draw from it constantly. It would be like a figure drawing class every day!

 

61713e

Now we have hit our first port, Juneau Alaska. Our excursion for this port was call “Bike and Brew”. We were bused a few miles out of Juneau where we were given helmets, water and bikes. Then we embarked on a 8 mile bike ride to Mendenhall Lake, which was fed by the Mendenhall glacier. You can see the glacier in this photo way in the back left.

 

61713d

It was a great day, maybe a bit too hot, but the bike ride was a lot of fun. And looking at this picture I can’t wait to get back into crossfit and shed a few pounds.

 

61713c

At the end of our bike ride we ended up on the other side of the lake at the Mendenhall  visitors center. Check out the icebergs in the lake!

 

61713b

A park guide was there showing us how clean and clear the ice is. Its so clear that it only reflects the blue spectrum of light, that is why glaciers look so blue.

 

61713a

After a fun day in Juneau we had to get back on the ship to continue our journey.

 

61713g

Here is a picture of the port at night, there were a total of 5 cruise ships at port on Monday. We figured that Juneau was inundated with about 10,000 tourists all at once on one day, no wonder tourism is one of their big money makers.

 

61713f

 

The moon over the sea… so beautiful.

Session #140, Work #141

 

Up early this morning and off to mid ship to sketch a bust next to the elevators.

61613-location

Not only did they have a sculpture on each deck but they had great seats close for great observation.

 

61613

The sketch went well. There were several light sources with some interesting cast shadows.

 

61613-d

The hallways of the ship were very long, and it would take a few minute to get to your stateroom. Every time I would look down one of these hallways I was reminded of Steve King’s  “The Shinning” movie. Another Great thing about Holland america, they had reproductions of great art up and down every deck.

 

61613-e

View from the top of the ship, on our way to Alaska.

 

61613-a

A nice panoramic picture off the side of the ship, the sea was super calm on our trip north.

 

61613-c

I think this picture was taken after 11pm. It was foggy and quiet with a light sound of the water passing against the ship, every evening on our balcony was very serene.

 

61613-b

 

The had some great shows every night at the main stage, tonight was an opera.

Session #139, Work #140

 

For our entire week cruise to Alaska I wasn’t able to post the drawings that I was doing daily, so I’m going to catch up on posts over the next week. And of course I always edit the post date to match the day that I did the work.

61513-ship

Here is the Westerdam our home for a week!

 

61513-cargo1

After checking into our stateroom, we visited my in-laws stateroom to checkout their huge room and view. This was the view form their balcony. Massive amounts of luggage piled into these cages while forklifts, cranes and people rushed around to load the ship.

 

61513-cargo2

There were two cranes, one to load all the luggage, and one to load all the supplies that the ship would need for its week long trip. I didn’t get a picture of the palettes of supplies being loaded by the crane on the right but just imagine a supermarket worth of food at the end of the dock. The sheer volume of cargo being moved here was amazing.

 

61513-cargo3

 

61513-cargo4

I really liked all the lines here and the piles of luggage. From this far up it was like colored blocks in wire crates.

 

61513

 

The detail in the lines and luggage took a long time for me to draw and get correct, plus all the things we were doing on the ship I had to work on this one several different times during the day.

Session #138, Work #139

 

The Drawing

61413

 

For some reason I really liked all of the black eyes looking at me, even in the reflection. I was vaguely reminded of old 80’s movies where toys would come alive and terrorize people.

Very fun drawing, I really wanted to try and capture the different textures here, I didn’t do so well though, I was rushing a bit even though I spent over two hours on the drawing.

 

The Setup

61413-setup

 

I know I have said it before but I love my current quick sketch setup. I need to do a post on my materials one day.

 

Progression

61413-pre1

The most important part is the beginning and getting all the measurements correct. I used an “F” graphite pencil here to put down some very light lines. Then I go over the drawing again and refine it with a “2B” graphite pencil that way once I put a wash on it I can still see the lines well.

 

61413-pre2

After working on the drawing for a while with a few washes of lamp black Holbein watercolor.

 

61413-pre3

 

Close to the end, after the water color I love working back into it and working on edges with more graphite. Bad picture here, at least the subject is in focus.

 

Session #137, Work #138

 

The Drawings

61313a-setup

I was inspired by a discussion at A&C Art supply about depicting the movement of water in a painting, so I attempted my theory of drawing from a looping image in this post. And wow its difficult! Through the whole drawing I was attempting different strokes and effects to depict the best feeling movement in the water. I don’t think I even came close, this is such a complex subject I could spend years working to achieve it.

 

61313a

This is one of the many reasons why I love art so much. I could spend the rest of my life on this one idea. Art is so complex, so rich and infinite in possibilities.

 

61313b-setup

And now for something cute. Kiddy was in one of his many chairs taking a nap. Although this picture was taken after he had moved, I was able to capture him in his usually wrap of suggly-furbally-ness.

 

61313b

 

I think I had more fun trying to get the drawing of the chair legs correct on this one. I didn’t make the the pillow dark enough though. At some point I will be more confidant with the watercolor, enough to be able to capture values quickly from the beginning.

Session #136, Work #137

 

I was having lots of trouble with the gesture drawings today, I think it was because I was going too fast. Which kinda sound wrong considering gesture drawings are meant to be fast, but in most situations with art I find that the real speed comes from precision and accuracy, and you can only go so fast with that.

 

The Drawings

61213a
1 minute poses

 

 

61213b
1 minute poses

 

 

61213c
1 minute pose

 

 

61213d
1 minute pose

 

 

61213e
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213f
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213g
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213h
2min +/- poses

 

 

61213i
2min +/- poses

 

 

61213j
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213k
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213l
2min +/- pose

 

 

61213m
10 minute pose

 

 

61213n
1 hour pose

 

 

Session #135, Work #136

 

The Drawings

61113a-setup

Say hello to “the kid”, we call him kiddy. This is my pal he is with me every day and he is the best cat in the whole world. He had a very extended cleaning session in his favorite chair today and I was able to capture him keeping his coat extra soft, before he took a nap.

 

61113a

A photo of the sketch in better light. I’m really loving my sketching setup now. Its so simple and easy to get going.

 

61113b-location

There was a tractor outside of central market that I was going to sketch but I didn’t like the light on it so I decided to sketch this tree, and focus on generalizing the shapes of foliage convincingly

.

61113b2

A photo of the sketch while I was on location.

 

61113b

 

The sketch in better light. I know that one of my weak points is the ability to generalize very complicated masses of fluff, like trees, bushes, grassy areas, a mess of piled up twigs… etc. These things are so hard to generalize correctly, the only other alternative is to draw or paint every single leaf, and I don’t have any patience for that.

Session #134, Work #135

 

The Drawing

61013-subject

I really didn’t think my living room was so messy until I looked at this picture. I’m going to have to clean it this week, I have too many art supplies everywhere. Anyway, the at least the lighting was interesting enough to inspire a drawing.

 

61013-pre

This is my first drawing with watercolor. Previously I was using some watered down India ink to do a sketch of my kitchen. It worked OK, but I found it difficult to adjust the value without putting on a bunch of washes down. So, I went to A&C Supply and picked up a watercolor sketchbook (because my current book couldn’t take the water well at all), one tube of Holbein Lamp Black watercolor, one white watercolor pencil and a acrylic paint marker for highlight details.

 

61013

 

I really enjoy working with these materials. I use a hard graphite pencil to do the initial drawing, getting all of the angles and measurements down and everything in its correct place. Then I wash in a light gray over most of the image, being careful not to touch any of the lighter areas. I then continue to build up the values darker in areas, and usually hit the dark blacks right away with more paint. After the wash I let it dry for a minute or two then I go back into the picture with more graphite focusing on edges and values trying to get them as correct as possible.

This is a great way to work on my drawing, while at the same time introduce myself little by little to watercolor. The best part though is the setup, clean up, and portability. I can take these materials anywhere and start a drawing instantly.

Drawing water from photos?

Depicting water with an animated gif

During our conversation at A&C Supply about depicting the complexities of water in a painting I recalled this animated gif that I had seen online a week or more ago. I remembered when I saw it I stared at it for a while, and wondered if I could capture the undulations created, and wondered how I would draw or paint them.

Jamie’s very poignant comment was that in order to accurately depict water one would need to draw or paint it from life, as this is the only possible way to capture the truth in its movement. Drawing or painting water from a photo tends to make the water look as still and solid as concrete, and all together lifeless. I would have to agree, but, how does one depict something that is constantly moving?

I guess at some point someone asked the same question of the figure in motion. And it seems like the overwhelming response would be gesture drawing. And even with gesture you have at least a few minutes to capture shapes recognized by everyone; head, legs, arms, torso etc…

With water its all together different, and with clouds also, they always take on different shapes, yet… even though the shapes are constantly different, water always has waves and even though the shapes of waves are enumerable, every one is recognized as a wave. Just as shapes of heads are enumerable they are all still recognized as heads.

There has to be some quality of water that is repeated constantly and can be represented in paint or charcoal.

I’m reminded of Allan Watts.

The way the animals live, everybody envies them, because look, a cat, when it walks–did you ever see a cat making an aesthetic mistake. Did you ever see a badly formed cloud? Were the stars ever misarranged? When you watch the foam breaking on the seashore, did it ever make a bad pattern? Never. And yet we think in what we do, we make mistakes. And we’re worried about that. So there came this point in human evolution when we lost our innocence. When we lost this thing that the cats and the flowers have, and had to think about it, and had to purposely arrange and discipline and push our lives around in accordance with foresight and words and systems of symbols, accountancy, calculation and so on, and then we worry. Once you start thinking about things, you worry as to if you thought enough. Did you really take all the details into consideration? Was every fact properly reviewed? And by jove, the more you think about it, the more you realize you really couldn’t take everything into consideration, because all the variables in every decision are incalculable, so you get anxiety. And this, though, also, is the price you pay for knowing that you know. For being able to think about thinking, being able to feel about feeling. And so you’re in this funny position.Allan Watts

All of this chaotic pattern around us everyday, yet, its all perfect, it never makes a mistake.

 

Anyway, back to the discussion. I proposed, that maybe one of the best tools we could use for depicting water in motion is to draw it from a moving picture. The picture below is an animated gif that is on a small loop. Here we could observer the movements in the photo, the patterns, and capture the true essence of water in motion by making it repeat its chaotic pattern over and over again, so our slow minds can catch up with its complexity.

 

water

I believe that this photo comes from this site, as I have just now recognized the watermark, “headlikeandorange”.

 

Also I must post Frits Thaulow, he seems to be an artist that was positively enamored with water, and painted a ton of beautiful works depicting water amazingly.

Frits Thaulow

alkejegeren

 

channel-with-watermill

 

Frits_Thaulow-La_Dordogne

 

Frits_Thaulow-Paysage_et_rivière

 

fritz-thaulow-water-mill-1892-john-g-johnson-collection1

 

marble-steps

 

riverside-view-of-abbeville

 

Thaulow_Frits_(Johann_Fredrik)-ZZZ-River

 

Thaulow_Frits_Cottage_By_A_Stream

 

the-mill-pond

 

washerwomen-at-quimperle

 

 

Session #133, Work #134

 

The Gage open studio on Sunday is a long pose open studio, one pose for the whole class. I didn’t feel like working on the same drawing for three hours so I did a bunch of starts. I feel like the start of a drawing is the most important, if you get that correct, with proportions and accuracy, then the rest is embellishments. So, almost every 20 minute break I started a new drawing. I have to say that the 20 minutes for each drawing went by really quickly.

I need to work on portraits at some point also, I noticed that even though this is the same person in each drawing the face look different each time. Maybe in my next class I will just focus on the face.

 

The Drawings

60913a
20 minute drawing

 

60913b
20 minute drawing
60913c
40 minute drawing

60913d
40 minute drawing

60913e
10 minute drawing

Session #132, Work #133

 

I sketched at three different places today and had a great time doing each one. I was testing out how to work with an ink wash today, so that part of the sketching will be a bit rough.

 

The Drawings

60813a-setup 60813a

Here I was seeing how the paper would react to water… which wasn’t very well, It buckled a bunch. The in is watered down a so its not a very strong black at all. That way I can start out light and build it up for darker areas. I did discover that the combination of a light wash and graphite over, works really well. Although I did try and lighten up some areas with white chalk and that didn’t work at all. I need to get in the habit of not touching the lighter areas with the wash.

 

60813b-setup 60813b

I found a nice spot at the mall so I could do some sketching at the food court. I was thinking about focusing on sketching the people but I felt too much like a the weird guy staring at people in the corner so I just focused mainly on the architecture.

You can also see that I was using this page earlier to test out some ink washes. What is interesting is that the lines you see here that are created from overlapping of strokes with the brush don’t happen on actual watercolor paper. The brush strokes blend really well on watercolor paper but with this paper that is mainly for drawing I get these darker overlap lines. I will have to trade out my sketchbook soon.

 

60813c-setup

This one was my favorite of the night. I stayed up very late just sketching my kitchen counter.

 

60813c-pre1

Here is my drawing after more than 30 minute of working on it. I had this really perfect drawing done with very light pencil then I basically obliterated it with an ink wash. I couldn’t even see most of the pencil, but I was very confident that I could bring it back and reproduce the drawing.

 

60813c-pre2

About 1 hour into the drawing.

 

60813c

 

After 1.5 hours I ended up with a drawing that I really liked. I enjoyed the process a bunch, I need to change out this paper for watercolor paper and train more in watercolor so I know how to use these washes better.

Session #131, Work #131

 

I don’t know why, maybe because I spent three different short sessions on this drawing, but I was getting very bored of it and I wanted to just get it finished so I rushed through this one a bit. The drawing accuracy is not as good due to my lack of focus, but I hope to figure out why this session bored me so much and change it.

I’m doing the Bargue drawing course to train my eyes to see minute differences when comparing objects and connect my brain and hand so I can accurately render. But, I do what it to be enjoyable, I don’t want this to be boring or anything close to something I hate. If I continued to do this even when I hated it I would probably associate drawing with something awful and never do it again. So, before I start the next plate I will have to figure out what it is about this process that bores me and make the change, until then, I will be sketching from life.

 

The Drawing

60713

 

The Setup

60713-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

60713-drawing

 

This comparison should have been closer if I didn’t rush. Most of the rush was on the toes and it really shows.

Session #130, Work #131

 

I only had enough time to do about 30 minute of drawing on the Bargue plate 5 before I had to do some more work stuff. So tonight ended up being a very short drawing session. To make up for the short Bargue drawing session I got out my sketch book and was doing some sketches while I was at my desk. The didn’t turn out well, but that really isn’t the point of me doing this every single day. The point is to keep my brain and eye working together, and drawing as much as possible, training my eye every day, making the translation of a three dimensional environment into a two dimensional piece of art a habit.

 

The Drawing

60613a

Still working on the foot.

 

60613b

 

I setup my Buddha statue on my printer and did a very, very linear drawing… Way too much line, then I drew my hand that was resting on the desk.

Session #129, Work #132

 

Tonight I actually felt like I was seeing the fruit of my labors. I completed several drawings and even though they were not 100% accurate they were all good drawing with enough accuracy that they didn’t look bad.

So why did tonight’s drawings go so well? I think its partly due to an increased confidence, drawing every day and enough lack of caring to be comfortable. More often I find that I am becoming more accurate at comparing difference with my eyes rather than with tools and measuring. I have done this several times with Bargue drawings. I will see something is off and look incorrect well before I can match the inconsistency with measuring.

I didn’t measure much at all with these drawings, I just drew with confidences and when my eye told me that something was off I tried to correct it.

 

The Drawings

60513a
Doodles of the model before start

 

60513b
Doodles of the model before start

 

60513c
2 minute drawings

 

 

60513d
2 minute pose

 

60513e
2 minute pose

 

60513f
2 minute poses

 

60513g
2 minute poses

 

60513h
2 minute poses

 

60513i
2 minute pose

 

60513j
doodles of model during break

 

60513k
30 minute pose

 

60513l
Doodles of model during break

 

60513m
1 Hour pose, drawing and studies

 

60513n
1 hour pose feet and legs study

 

60513o
1 hour pose, second drawing in charcoal, focus on mass and value

 

 

 

Session #128, Work #131

 

All the Bargue drawings that I have been doing up until now have been pretty small, and I found the size of this drawing much more difficult to compare for inaccuracies. To combat the size of the drawing I used the guide and tried to understand the best way of breaking down the form into simple parts.

This drawing is so big that it will have to take on at least two sessions.

 

The Drawing

60413-30min

30 minutes into the drawing, this is almost exactly the same as the guide, and the arch of the foot is proving to be problematic right away.

 

60413-60min

60 minutes into the drawing. Here I’m breaking down the form into more angles but still keeping the lines fairly straight.

 

60413-90min

90 minutes into the drawing I have started on the shadow shapes, and still have a lot of the drawing left to accomplish, it will have to wait for another day.

Session #127, Work #130

 

I had quite an achievement tonight. I did this drawing with no measurement at all. Every single choice I made was based on comparison made only with my eyes. And I think I did remarkably well.

 

The Drawing

60313a

 

The Setup

60313a-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

60313a-drawing

 

The largest differences are the shadow in the center of the ear and the cast shadow on the right. I’m beginning to feel as though my powers of observation are increasing and as long as I focus on comparing shapes or sizes by flicking my eyes back and forth I can achieve great accuracy.

Of course this is just a two denominational comparison, the real test/challenge will be when I’m comparing three denominational objects.

Session #126, Work #129

 

It is very hard to describe how majestic and beautiful the Cascade mountains are, and the photos in no way can do them justice. But, here are a few photos of our trip back home.

60213-mtna

 

 

60213-mtnb

 

 

60213-mtnc

This was photo of the end of the “Thunder Knob” trail. The trail wound through the mountain with views of both Ross lake and Diablo Lake dam which you can barely see in the distance here.

 

60213-landscape

After our hike back we descended the mountain a bit and crossed the diablo lake dam. Where I sat on the gravel shore and sketched for about 30 minutes.

60213-landscapeb

This is the scene I was trying to sketch. I loved how the light caught the snow on the mountain and it lit up like the sun. I wanted to capture its brightness so I pulled out my gray toned paper sketch book and blocked in the general shape of the landscape then focused directly on the bright white of the snow. Even the shadow cast by the mountain on the snow was spectacular.

I knew that I wouldn’t have time to get more than 30 minutes in on this sketch so I focused on a small portion where all the values from foreground to the far distance were present. My goal was to try and capture a good representation of the slight value changes caused by the atmosphere. I found it very difficult, to describe the stark contrast between the snow and the rock of the mountain yet keep the rock of the mountain light enough so it didn’t surpass the darkness of the shadows in the foreground. I could have spent hours out here, alas, here is my 30 minute sketch for the day.

60213

Session #125, Work #128

 

We drove out to Twisp Washington late Friday night. The drive out was beautiful, as seen in this amazing photo taken on highway 20 next to liberty bell mountain.

60113-drive

I had already done a sketch Friday and we didn’t get to the amazing hotel until about 9:30pm, so I didn’t really have time for any drawing.

The next day we biked about 9 miles to Winthrop Washington where we shopped and had lunch. After several hours in Winthrop we biked another three miles to Pearrygin Lake where I was able to sit for 30 minutes and sketch the mountains over the lake.
60113a

 

I forgot to mention, before we left Twisp on our bikes we stopped by the local bakery and farmers market. I found this awesome pencil case hand made by a local artist at the farmers market. I couldn’t pass up a chance to support another artist, and I was looking for a nice pencil case, this one is amazing, so it was a winning situation for us both.

60113a-case

Here is a picture of my vantage point, across the lake from the mountains, sitting on a picnic table.

60113a-setupa

I cropped the scene a bit on my drawing. I wanted to try and capture the atmospheric perspective here, but I quickly realized that I should have used my grey toned sketch books so I could capture the whites with my white chalk pencil.

60113a-setupb

 

After our 26 mile bike ride, a refreshing showing and a cozy nap, I sketched our balcony before dinner. The sun was dropping low and the stripes from the balcony railing was sending stripes of sun beams over the balcony furniture. I was planning on adding values here but I got so caught up in the linear quality of all the furniture that I decided to focus on that, and see if I could vary my line in places to suggest value or local color change or even texture.

60113bOver all it was an amazing day, and I was ecstatic that I was able to get an hour of sketching in.

Session #124, Work #127

 

I have a busy weekend planned so I wanted to get this drawing done over my lunch break at work before the weekend starts. I don’t think I will be able to do any drawing after work today.

Interesting thing about this drawing. I wasn’t that focused on it, and a bit distracted, but even though I felt as though the accuracy was incorrect when I decided it was finished, it turned out to be pretty darn close. Not perfect, but that is ok. I’m glad even under distracting circumstances I could pull of an accurate drawing.

 

The Drawing

53113

 

The Setup

53113-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

53113-drawing

Session #123, Work #126

 

I tried to be as accurate as possible on this one, taking as long as possible to get everything just right, and it still took me just under an hour.

One thing that I have been neglecting on these Bargue drawings is following the guides closely. I was thinking about it yesterday and I realized that their importance lies in the training of how to simplify forms, rather than the minute accuracy leading to a finished drawing. I will have to re-double my efforts after my trip this weekend and focus not only on accuracy but also on simplification of forms.

 

The Drawing

53013

 

The Setup

53013-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

53013-drawing

 

Just a couple errors here. The height of the ear is off and the width is off a bit. Most of the internal lines are very accurate though. You can’t really tell with this photo but the differences here are 1/8 of an inch or smaller. At some point I hope I train my eye enough to notice these very small differences.

Session #122, Work #125

 

We started tonight with lots of pure gesture drawing, wow this was difficult for me. Generalizing the body in just a few arcs yet keeping proportions close, and an elegance in the motion, very difficult.

We then went into a few longer poses where I just did a bunch of starts, to try and figure out how to get proportions of the body correct in the first minutes of the drawing. I believe this is the absolute most important part of a drawing. If you don’t get these measurements correct here, the rest of the drawing will suffer completely. Needless to say, I didn’t “finish” a drawing these session, but I think I have a better idea of what I need to do to start a drawing best.

 

The Drawings

52913a
2 minute pose
52913b
2 minute pose
52913o
2 minute poses
52913c
2 minute poses
52913d
2 minute poses
52913e
2 minute poses
52913f
5 minute pose
52913g
5 minute pose
52913h
15 minute pose A
52913i
15 minute pose B
52913j
1 Hour pose A
52913k
1 Hour pose B
52913l
1 Hour pose C
52913m
1 Hour pose D
52913n
1 Hour pose E

Session #121, Work #124

 

I bit of a rush though this Bargue drawing, it only took me 30 minutes. I wanted to go through it pretty fast, but at the same time I wanted to focus on my lines and try to get then as decisive and confident as possible, even if I had to trade some accuracy for it.

 

The Drawing

52813

 

 

The Setup

52813-setup

 

 

Drawing Comparison

52813-drawing

 

I may have to buy some clear acetate, its hard to see the Bargue drawing under this tracing paper. But, you don’t need to be able to see perfectly though this to see all the errors. I was expecting this to be off because I worked so fast. I think the next Bargue drawing I do, I may spend three times as long to see if I can get the accuracy perfect and end up with confident lines.

 

Session #120, Work #123

 

Tonight I started this drawing pretty late, so I wanted to get it done quickly so I tried to do it without much measurements at all. It took me much less longer than any previous drawing, only 30 minutes. I think the comparison shows the rush.

 

The Drawing

52713b

One thing I notice from looking at this is a hesitance in the line, I would like to, at some point, be able to draw these with much more confidence.

 

The Setup

52713b-setup

 

 

Drawing Comparison

52713b-drawing

 

Lots of errors here, but considering I barely measured. Its not that bad.

 

Session #120, Work #122

 

One figure drawing session a week is not enough. I could maybe do two a week but three would not be possible. So in comes the photos. I recently found this post from www.freshdesigner.com which has some wonderful information on what a good reference photo is as well as a big list of images. This is where I picked this image from.

So the big question is. Does drawing from photos hurt an artists progression?

 

I will have to continue to write about this question tomorrow, as it is too late tonight.

 

The Drawing

52713

 

 

Drawing Comparison

52713-drawing

Session #119, Work #121

 

I was feeling a bit lazy yesterday, so I only did a 1 hour Bargue drawing, and not much else. I sure its because I haven’t been hitting the gym regularly.

So I hit the gym today, and I hope I didn’t push myself too much or my muscles will be so sore that it will be hard to draw on Wednesday.

I was hoping that this drawing would take less than an hour but it proved to be quite difficult even though it was super small, I think I conquered it though.

 

The Drawing

52613

 

 

The Setup

52613-setup

 

 

Drawing comparison

52613-drawing-digital

I first did a digital comparison. I have been studying how my camera distorts images and I’m to the point now where I will only use my phone for documenting purposes. Other than that it is completely worthless as far as comparing exact drawing lines. Look at the photo above, these two ears are less than three inches apart and the height / width distortion is there, you can tell by looking at the digitally drawn caparison and testing that against the two tracing comparisons below.

 

52613-drawing-chalk

I tried tracing in sanguine but, the line proved to be too thick, so I traced it over in red ink pen below.

 

52613-drawing-pen

 

Much closer than the digital comparison would lead me to believe, although it is not without errors.

Why comparing a drawing with an iPhone is bad

I know that this drawing isn’t perfect, but I believe it to be much close than the following digital comparison illustrates.

I thought I was closer than this

52513-drawing

I have noticed a trend with my drawing comparisons, that the drawing becomes more inaccurate the closer to the bottom of the image I go, or the further from the center of the photo.

So I left this setup overnight and today I drew markings for a grid made of 1 inch measurements around the subject, then took another picture of the drawing and subject. I then pulled the drawing into Photoshop and resized it so that the beginning top left inch measurement on the paper was exactly one inch in Photoshop. I then proceeded to rebuild that grid in Photoshop by putting a line every vertical and horizontal inch. What I ended up with is a drawing with an inch grid on it, and a digital representation of those same inches over it. In theory, once I get to the bottom right of the grid, both the digital grid and the drawn grid should match up. As you can see below that is far from the case.

 

Distortion test 1

52513-camera
Not only is the width smaller but so is the height, and not by a little but a very large amount. That seemed to be to much, of a distortion, so as I good scientist would do, I repeated my experiment to test with similar results. And this time I too extra care in insuring I re-size the photo correctly.

 

 

Distortion test 2

52513-camera2

I also did a third test where I took a picture a bit farther away thinking that the lens of the camera would distort only the parts of the image closer to its edge. This was incorrect, the distortion was the same even when taken from a larger distance.

This is much closer to the truth. The distortion is not as much but it’s still there. It looks like an average of 1/4 inch inaccuracy per 12 inches of space vertically and maybe worse horizontally.

What does this prove? That my drawings are not as bad as I thought, but this is no excuse, I still have errors in my drawing. This whole exercise was for me to help realize how the camera distorts an image and to be aware of it.

Moving forward, I’m not sure how I can compare my drawings with a three dimensional subject accurately now.