Thursday, February 28, 2013

Monochrome study, with W.I.P

11" x 13.5", acrylic on paper. Palette - Burnt  Umber (plus Titanium White). Ref - personal source.

W.I.P - I started with a brush drawing...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Figure Workshop in mid-March

Penciljammers has kindly entrusted yours truly with conducting yet another Figure Drawing / Painting workshop (Demystifying the Human Figure) in mid-March. Three days is really insufficient to cram in the lot of info I aim to include in the course, but I hope it'll give pupils some pointers in the direction I've personally found useful. I'll begin with the basics of line and end with painting from the live model. There will also be a short lecture/demo on the basics of artistic anatomy and guidelines on portraiture (drawing and painting). For painting, I'll be using acrylics as medium of choice and also (with time permitting) touch upon color-mixing for skin color.

Hopefully it'll be an enjoyable affair for all concerned. I love visiting Bengaluru (Bangalore).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Study of the Farnese Bull

I hope to add more to this post... this is a study of the Farnese Bull, the most complete Hellenistic piece of sculpture (sculpted from a single block of marble) to have survived till date. Its so large and complex in design that its better to study it in parts, focusing on individual figures from various angles, which is what I've done. All are on A3 size pages...

1. Charcoal

  2 and 3. Assortment of conte and hard pastels, with some moistened brush-work

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Study of Cardinal Turkson, with W.I.P

A3, watersoluble crayons and pencils. I found the ref image for Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana on the net (no info on who took it) and immediately liked the rich tones and his expression. I thought it'd be a good idea to study it with watersolubles, which I like because of its dual - drawing/painting nature. W.I.P. shots are also added.

As always, I'm grateful to whomever took the ref pic for this study, and would've loved to credit him/her.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Head study in acrylic (Text added)

Edit: I've added some text at the bottom, in response to a query made by a friend from Chennai.

Apologies for the missing image - to those who've been wondering what happened to the post :) Made some minor modifications. Plus added a close up. Thanks for looking!

19" x 13", acrylic on canvas paper. Life study

Added text (copy-pasted from elsewhere):

"@ GS - as usual, you provoke a deeper look into the work, which gives me food for thought. All I can say is that, working from life provides you with a huge amount of info to choose from. While that may be overwhelming in the beginning, with (informed and alert) practice, one slowly tends to learn what to keep/emphasize, and what to ignore/downgrade. The tendency of portraiture students like me is to first look for a likeness, which should be the least of one's worries. Likeness ought be incidental, not as a result of conscious effort - ideally.

If I can get the head structure right, where the bony sockets/protuberances are in proper relationship to each other... that will be reflected on the soft tissue part. Once the shapes (both the outline and inner, overlapping ones) have been drawn satisfactorily, so that the eyes/nose/mouth are in proper horizontal/vertical/angular relationship, one moves on to work out the basic value separations i.e. identifying the lit from the unlit areas. Once this is done, one has to work out the half-tone areas, which are lit... but not 'high-lit', if that makes sense. The shadows/unlit areas, which were painted in a medium value darkness, are then further defined with darker darks. The lightest areas in the shadow must be darker than the darkest area in the lit portion.

Now, the progression of unlit to lit portion (i.e. the shadow junction area) may vary according to the curvature of the surface - its gradual where the turn is gradual, but quickly becomes lit with the brightest value where the turn is sharper. That has to be worked out as well.

The illusion of solidness you've referred to only comes after all this foundation work has been laid. You may then make those subtle value (and thereby, hue) changes, indicating minor, but very powerful topographical undulations. The latter works effectively only then, although it looks as if those subtleties are all that makes the difference between a good and an average work (mind you, I'm not all that happy with this one, so I lay no claim to it being 'good'... I'm just speaking in general terms :) )

As regards knowing where to put what ('choosing those spots') I think this is a skill which continues to develop as one becomes more and more aware of anatomy - 'the eyes do not see, what the mind doesn't know', its said! I can't emphasize on this fact strongly enough. An ever-expanding knowledge of artistic anatomy has a deep effect on one's figure work, which no amount of photo-realistic surface treatment (alone) can compensate for - its lack becomes apparent to the discerning viewer, despite a great deal of skill at rendering minute surface features. The work, if not sound structurally and functionally from within, will often end up looking like a superbly painted plastic doll, a shell without life.

Before I end this rant, here's a link to one of Bouguereau's nudes... the subtlest topographical changes are mind-boggling, and are often only partly apparent unless one tries to copy it in pencil or (preferably) paint. But under all this is Bouguereau's exacting standards for anatomy... this man didn't leave a single stone unturned in that regard. And yet, its all so very understated!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Assorted studies

Unless otherwise mentioned, these assorted studies are mostly on A3 size paper and from image refs. My sincere gratitude to the ref-sources, whom I couldn't locate at the moment. More on this...

Study after Bouguereau

Dry Pastel

Oil Pastel