Wow, this happened to me in second grade, now it’s happened again.
Because of circumstances beyond our control John and I are in . . well. . . John would say “real estate hell”, I would call it an escrow holding pattern.
Living in an empty house with only a mattress in the living room is not an ideal situation. All of my art supplies from my easel to my paints are in storage containers in transit to Phoenix. The good news is that losing one’s self in art can be as simple as a pencil and pad of paper.
During this journey I’ve discovered a website that has partially saved my sanity.
Russian artist, StanProkopenko, who is an instructor at the nationally known Jeffrey Watts Atelier has created an online course focused on anatomy for artists. It’s called Proko.com
What really strikes me about this site is;
From the outside in
I’ve always had a hard time with anatomical charts of front or back facing diagrams with color coded muscles to memorize. This “inside outward” approach seems so removed from what we are working with as artists. Stan’s approach starts with the outside surface, and works inward.
When painting from a live model, have you ever had a situation where the lighting was so poor that minimal anatomical information was evident, leaving you to “make things up?”. That’s fine if you’re a landscape painter, pushing a tree over or adding a mountain, but if it’s a figure “things” can’t be randomly manipulated…unless you have a working knowledge of what’s happening under the surface. This opens up a world of possibilities to enhance the design, movement and expression in a painting.
Stan has lots of hands on lessons, just watching the videos will not give you the full benefit, picking up a pencil and doing “the work” that Stan lays out will make a huge difference in understanding anatomy for artists.
Stan has an off beat sense of humor that makes a dry subject more enjoyable to learn. Check it out, let me know what you think-
About every six months or so I like to slow down and really look at what I’m doing with my painting. This kind of keeps me from aimlessly painting away without a focus.
Searching for some inspiration I came across this YouTube video by acclaimed artist Jeffrey Watts. During his drawing demonstration of a figure from life he had some very profound things to say, “a good drawing is a combination of what you see, what you know and what you’d like to see”.
That was it, the thing I’d been missing lately, painting what I’d like to see, using more exaggeration, manipulations, in short taking more liberties with my subjects.
In order to paint more of what I’d like to see, I need to get more of what I know.
Looking at drawings by masters like Michelangelo, I find myself asking; “did his models really look like that?”. More likely he probably was able to draw what he wanted to see, because he had the knowledge to manipulate his subjects.
I’ve decided to focus on drawing hands. Why hands? because I think the hands are the next most expressive element after the face in a figurative subject.
I found a free pdf download of a 1920 book by anatomy expert George Bridgman. His book plus photos I found in magazines and ones I took were the source for my drawings. A good practice is drawing from life……alot. The second best is drawing from pictures…..alot. After all a painting is just a drawing done with paint!