Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March, 2014

14MaggyGrannyDaughterThe assignment here was to do two drawings from the same subject.  In the first drawing you work to get everything right; you study the shapes, the anatomy.  After you’ve worked up a good sweat over all these details, you exhale and tape a fresh piece of paper on your drawing board.  Now you do the second drawing.  You’ve worked out the hard parts and are thoroughly familiar with what makes this subject interesting to you.  Now you relax and draw for the sheer pleasure of drawing.  You let loose.  Your pencil skates across the paper.  Not that you’re glib or shallow.  On the contrary, you now draw the whole subject.  All at once.  You’re not bogged down by any details.  Been there, done that.  This second drawing will go fast, much faster than the first.  But, paradoxically, even though it does not work out details, your second drawing—the developed drawing–will suggest depth.  The viewer is pulled in and sees more than you spelled out.

14MaggyGrannyDaughterPhotoThis drawing by Maggy Shell is the second stage, the developed drawing, done from a magazine cover. We get this kind of image in the mail all the time and tend to toss it away as junk mail.  Take another look.  Your waste paper basket offers a wealth of inspiring subject matter.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

14LizzieBrughesMadonnaFineThere are many ways to practice drawing.  A very convenient source of things to draw is sculptures. For example,  sculptures in a park. If that’s inconvenient, try photos of sculptures.  Specifically, Michelangelo’s sculptures.  All forms are dramatically worked out by him, as if for a drawing lesson.

For my drawing class I brought in photos of Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna and his figures for the Medici tomb.  Photos of these works are readily available in books and online.

14MichelangeloHeadThe Bruges Madonna (above) offered abundant challenges in rendering curved shapes convincingly.  The Medici head (left), seen from below, presents a frustrating foreshortened view of the face.  Both challenges were admirably met in these two student drawings.

(Click images to enlarge.)

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

PicassoFamilySaltimbanquesThis large painting (84”x90”) was first exhibited publicly on March 2, 1914.

Picasso, at age twenty-four, painted it in 1905. André Level , a young shipping magnate, bought it from the artist in 1908. That doesn’t sound extraordinary until you look at Level’s motivation.

Level was so successful in his business that he could take the afternoon off to study art and the happenings in the Parisian galleries of Weil, Vollard and Bernheim, who showed this strange new art that didn’t look pleasant and was called “avant-guard.”  To us now, Picasso’s “The Family of Saltimbanques” looks mild, even pretty.  We can tell what’s what and that’s not what later art gave us.  But to the starched-collared folk of the early 1900’s this painting looked crude, impolite and threatening to civilization as they knew it.  Why did Level buy the Picasso?

Level started buying the new art on speculation in 1904.  With twelve other investors, he formed a consortium that put him in charge of making the aesthetic decision.  They gave him the money, he went around buying up art from galleries and directly from artists like Picasso and Matisse. Speculating that this art was the next big thing, he stored it in a warehouse for ten years.  Then on March 2, 1914, Level held an auction at a Paris hotel in which he presented 145 lots. Level’s investment paid off handsomely.  The auction sales brought in four times the money originally invested.  Among the paintings were ten Matisses and a dozen Picassos.  The Saltimbanques, the highest priced work on the block that day, fetched twelve times what Level had paid Picasso for it in 1908.

We’re now observing the 100th anniversary of the auction that focused attention on the relationship of commercial and aesthetic judgments. The auction was called “Le Peau de L’Ours,” the skin of the bear.  The name comes from La Fontaine’s fable, “The Bear and the Two Companions,”  in which two friends in need of money sell the skin of a  bear to a furrier before they have gone to the trouble of trapping the animal.  The “future contract” goes unfulfilled because the bear not only proves indomitable but even subdues one of the hunters so that he can whisper in his ear, “don’t sell the bear’s skin before you’ve sacked him.”    By analogy, the paintings bought on speculation are like the skin of the bear.

After the spectacular profit made at the Le Peau de L’Ours sale, avant- guard art appeared to be as good as gold.

To learn more about the creation of the market for twentieth-century art, see “Making Modernism” by Michael C. FitzGerald.  1995, 268 p.  The author holds a PhD in Art History and a MBA and he writes well.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

14AnnDancerNeckIt’s the rope-like muscle that stretches obliquely around the cylinder of the neck, from the ear to the clavicle.  (“It is given the name sternocleidomastoid because it originates at the manubrium of the sternum (sterno-) and the clavicle (cleido-), and has an insertion at the mastoid process of the temporal bone of the skull.”—Wikipedia)

That’s enough anatomy!  What matters is how to draw this thing,  particularly when the head is tilted back.

In last week’s drawing class, everybody worked from photos of their choice and Ann chose the photo of a dancer with a pair of very prominent sternocleidomastoids.

NeckDemoI sat next to her and sketched out diagrams of how the neck joins the head, as seen from underneath.  The problem can be understood as one cylinder (neck) holding up part of a larger cylinder (the jaw).
The jaw cylinder, of course, doesn’t extend to the back of the head, but it helps to think of it as a cylinder in the front.

Ann practiced drawing the schematic version, as illustrated in my page of sketches, and then she took another piece of paper and, never having done anything like this before, she produced this fine drawing.  The foreshortened face, with the upward angle of the eyebrows and the undersides of the nose and upper lip, all that is convincing  The anatomy of the sternocleidomastoids is not quite correct, but the drawing still works because 1)the way the cylinder of the neck meets the underside of the jaw is clear and 2) the markmaking itself—the fuzzy obscuring of the line—directs the viewer away from any expectation of precision.   She worked with tinted charcoal pencil and feathered the lines with a stomp to great effect, taking the drawing from an academic anatomy study into something moody and atmospheric.

(The stomp, btw, was made of tightly rolled newspaper. It’s easy to make your own stomp. We can cover that little cottage industry some other time.)

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

www.katherinehilden.com

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts