The Monet exhibition

I'm in Paris - so I thought I'd try and see the Monet exhibition - it looks so good. Went to the Grand Palais at 2:30 yesterday - foggy, damp, not too cold - but three hours queue - decided to go off and come back at seven - hoping for less queue - came back at 7:30 - attendants reckoned there would still be three hours of queue (don't know what they do when it get towards 9 - the exhibition closes at 10!) Gave up, three hrs queue is too much for me - this is what happened the last time - 20+ years ago. Pity. Big pity. Oh well..


Drawing in oils

Quite a few of the Bargue drawings have huge areas of shadow - which would be OK to do in charcoal - a nice painterly medium - and which the originals were done - but the big darks are a real, real pain in pencil. It's funny, in the book Ackerman says they should be done in charcoal, but that charcoal is too difficult for beginners - who would need tuition - don't know why he didn't add a little guide to using it! Anyway, it dawned on me that drawing in paint (monochromatic) would be very instructive and useful - I did the one above - and it was certainly more enjoyable. Must do some more like this.

What I'm going to do now is a Prud'hon copy - using the info. from Rebecca Alzofon's excellent site. Love Prud'hon -interesting life he had, too!



Good thing it's the holidays - I'm finding so much to do! Reading James Gurney's "Color & Light", found some good stuff on the net (Jeff Freedner, lastt couple of featured artists on "Empty Easel) + trying to do Bargue copies ("mix and match" from parts three (first) and two) - basic figure studies! Above is the last painting I was working on back in October before I stopped painting to concentrate on improving (hmmm) my drawing...


Bargue plates continued

Well, it's funny how some of the Bargue drawings are easier and/or more of a pleasure than others - and not necessarily the ones you'd expect (plate 1, "Eyes" is a  pain!). What I have found is, that my personal bests were plates 30-40 - and from plate 41 on I can't seem to get them even basically right!! I've got a number of questions about this type of master drawing copying - my own basic idea was not to be too obsessive, "eyeball" as much as possible, and spend 2 - 4 hours on each one (which is extremely short for this type of work). Maybe my 'approach' is completely wrong  - mebbe that's why the roaring 40's are not working!


Bounding envelope

My present concern is to get a bounding envelope (often a rectangle) of the form I'm trying to draw that is as close as possible to the size and angles of the subjet. I have this tendency to start going for details. Maybe I should devise a series of exercises for myself...

Two things I have noticed - there usually come a point where you feel it"s not going to work, and, if you've made enough effort at the start (with the foundations) - it usually comes out not too bad...

Measuring tools

 From Harold Speed - The Practice and Science of Drawing

So, I've been messing around using dividers, taut thread and a measuring rod as measuring tools to help me "see" line lengths and angles. We've all used grids to help us reproduce or scale an original - and a grid doesn't have to be regular - its lines can just pass through salient points on the original - and that, in fact, is how, I believe, you create a "visual" grid in your mind - by identifying salient points that align in one way or another - usually vertically or horizontally - (landmarks) and measuring the distance and angles between them (with a tool - initially - or by eye). This had better pay off - it's time-consuming. Line! Just when I'd started to think in terms of masses!

Lines = Scales?

How accurately can I copy these squeaky little lines on another sheet of paper?

From that

To this

Copying these master drawings, at the very most basic level (before we get on to line weight, fluidity, expressiveness and a whole ton of stuff) is just trying to reproduce distances - line lengths, angles and curves  and angles should be straightened to a series of straight lines - so, just line lengths and angles (i.e. training your eye to correct proportion - like playing scales on a musical instrument?).

I have trouble replicating angles.

If I tried to copy the series of little lines in my first picture above, it would be easier if my drawing were the same size as the original (hence the basic concept of the "sight-size" technique - it's easier to draw something the same size as you see it - as a learning technique anyway - and to check your drawing by comparison. It's much more difficult when the drawing and subject are different sizes).

It would also be easier the closer I were to draw the line to the original - I could copy my little lines above no problem by drawing them next to the original lines. I could also imagine axes of symmetry and try to replicate the line across them? Hmmm, why am I having such problems with angles? .


TĂȘte de femme romaine

Roman woman's head from Bargue part 2 - pleased with that - but generally struggling - not sure which/how many reference axes and construction lines to use and how to implement sight-size/measuring techniques - I should write a discussion on this - no time just now.

I tend to follow Bargue's constructs - but even if I develop my eye - afterwards you'd have to be able to abstract to get a "construct"! Well, Ill keep going - I'm on plate 34 in fact - reckon on doing up to about plate 60, then doing about 4 - 8 plates from part 2, then do some from part 3 (outline figure studies) in  red/white carbothello pastel pencils as in the Maugham (spelling?) book. Thus idea inspired by trailers for Robert Liberace's instructional DVDs - really inspirational! Think I'll order the Maughan book and the Tony Ryder book. Funny how I'm getting into portraits/figure. Some of these ideas also come from two French blogs I've found http://blog.art-dessins.fr/ (I really like her drawings of factories) and http://artistes-lorrains.forumactif.net/forum.htm - thanks to Miro and Yann!. I should do my blog in bilingual., arrghh time....