Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In Progress / Show and Tell

This new painting is something of a labor of love for me. I'm taking her really slow, working on each likeness with slow building marks. Many of the likenesses are invented, notwithstanding my portrait of Abe Lincoln at the bottom of the Tondo. It is kind of exciting to teach figure drawing and cast drawing at the same time that I am working on a kind of cartoon of these disciplines. My students have been making remarkable works with sharpened charcoal and determination! My caricature and pile habit nods to such labors, but makes a fanciful diversion from them at the outset. While I consider these oil paintings a discipline, perhaps they are more a habit of repeated mark-making and intimate portraiture (12" diameter round). Well, off to the studio and to figure drawing group!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Skull Study Redux

After sticking myself with a knife last night while cutting an avocado for dinner, I feel less inclined to think about my skeleton today. You know that woozy feeling you get right after you do some sort of injury to yourself, well I'm a big loser and I have to lie down or else I'll faint. Its funny because I'm constantly surrounded by information about what lies under all this tissue, and yet the moment I stick myself and gush blood, all that rational knowledge goes out the window with dizzy pronouncements of "but I'm bleeding!" Comical yes, appropriate for my nutsy necrophiliac work, probably not. Yet, still I feel inclined to make a study of what I'm most afraid of and seduced by daily with heaps of anatomy books and models. Mostly, it feels a cartoon to me. Thank goodness for that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Venus Darling

My first attempt at cast drawing using several atelier methods and sighting methods that I have been reading about. I particularly like the methods suggested by a few of the books I've begun reading in the past month: Classical Drawing Atelier by Juliette Aristides, The Art of Teaching Art by Deborah Rockman and Cast Drawing using the Sight-Size Approach by Darren Rousar. I'm using a modified cast drawing method with regard to these sources. Instead of using vine charcoal (preferred) I'm using 4B lead pencil to do the sketch and then soft graphite to do the shading, the choice for graphite partially made as I am dust averse in my own home. When at the studio, all bets are off, dust will fly! Also, I decided to forgo the sight-size exercise right now as I need a proper height for my Venus cast as this process necessitates a studio set-up and it is significantly slower than the quick sketch I was looking to start with.. However, I did find the Plumb Line (a piece of string or cute pink ribbon with a bolt attached to it to weigh it down and giving a true straight line) to be universally helpful - I will be using plumb lines in addition to sighting sticks (basically a knitting needle used to measure angles and relative size of different components of your drawing) and mahl sticks in my charcoal drawings in the near future. The plumb line is used in classical cast drawing to create a center line which you can measure off of, it creates a useful position to sight heights and widths of heads, chins, eye placement etc, and also it creates a bolt straight line to sight angles (like the angle of the chin). I find this method infinitely teachable, even as my super-quick sketch suggests absolutely no mastery of this new method for me!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Cartoon of Cast Drawing

I've been studying cast drawing for the next semester of teaching and lately I've been getting obsessed with the absurdity of these partial sculptural portraits. The hacked off head and sometimes torso of Pallas Athena or Freud or Marie Antoinette mounted just so, such a strange decision.. so these are my invented portraits. What happens when the classical busts are everyday, smokers outside the bar or just somebody in the library? What does the classical inanimate object have to do with our daily experience? Am I just playing in the arcane?

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