Going Backwards to Move Forwards

One of my goals while being in Scottsdale is to get back to basics. So many times I find myself moving ahead to quickly.

The most fundamental part of painting is the drawing. Eighty percent of the issues that occur while painting are drawing problems. It’s like building a house and not spending the necessary time to get the framing correct. Putting on the textures and colors are the fun part, put will never be successful if the first foundations are not laid down correctly. The Scottsdale Artists School has many daily opportunities to draw from live model, which I plan to take full advantage of.

Wednesday night we had a wonderful model, here are some of my quick sketches.
IMG_1327

These were using a sepia conte crayon on newsprint-IMG_1328

-using a charcoal pencil  on newsprint-

IMG_1326using a white Nupastel and charcoal pencil on grey Canson paper. Can’t wait until the next session!

We’re headed off to the Best and Brightest Opening tonight, featuring the top paintings by SAS students!

What I wish I saw-

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.

Drawing by Michelangelo

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.

handsblog2

handsblog

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!

30/30 Lesson learned #2, The Drawing

After the Dance, newest painting since 30/30
After the Dance, newest painting after 30/30

The draw, the drawing, the drawing, the drawing. Many years ago I attended a workshop at the Scottsdale Artists School. The instructor was a wonderful figurative painter named John Michael Carter.

During the lunch break he agreed to look at some of the work I brought in for him to critique. He said 90% of your problem is the drawing, he was so right!

I found the best friend I had for all 30 paintings was a sound drawing. A mapping of the major points in relation to everything else in the image. No details, just how one shape relates to another.

There are so many things to deal with once a painting begins. It’s like the man at the circus spinning multiple plates at once. The plate of correct value, as it relates to areas next to it, the plate of correct color temperature and hue as compared with the rest of the image, add to this the hardest plate to get correct, the drawing, i.e. everything the right size, shape, place as it fits in the image.

There are a few artists like Richard Schmid and Jeffrey Watts that have such impeccable drawing skills that they can start a portrait at an eye and work outward with supreme accuracy, but that’s not me.

I am changing how I work,  spend more time on the drawing and enjoying it. After all how many things can you practice, while you are really creating something of value?