Posts Tagged ‘chiaroscuro’

lDiebenkornStudioSinkActually, the studio sink.  But the idea is the same: it’s not what you paint/draw, it’s how you see it. 14ElizMendozaKichen1After I gave a demo with Stabilo pencil and china marker on gloss paper, I encouraged the students to set time aside to practice—or what from now on I will call “treat yourself to drawing.”   One student did just that.  Her pleasure in drawing, the fact that this really was a treat, is evident in the five drawings she produced in one day.  They remind me of Diebenkorn’s sink with their strong diagonals, the repetition of arched shapes, the chiaroscuro drama of light and dark, and the un-heroic nature of the subject matter. Diebenkorn’s studio sink, E.M.’s kitchen sink.14ElizMendozaKichen3In the Diebenkorn we see his much used tripartite composition, which we don’t have in E.M.’s drawings, but that’s a subject for another day. 14ElizMendozaKichen2E.M. used china marker and Prismacolor marker on gloss paper to great effect.  The solvent in Prismacolors picks up—on gloss paper– the china marker’s black and creates a personal texture, a painterly quality, a feeling of transition and process.  There’s an urgency and concentration in these drawings that warrant the Diebenkorn connection. Pretty good company, there, Elizabeth!  14ElizMendozaKichen4Richard Diebenkorn, 1922-1993. Corner of Studio – Sink, 1963. Oil on canvas. 77×70 in

14ElizMendozaKichen5All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





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Foreshortening is frightening.

But we see foreshortened shapes all the time.  When you look at a face in a front view, the nose is foreshortened; when a person sits in a chair in front of you, the thighs and forearms will be foreshortened.  So, how can this be frightening?

When you draw a foreshortened limb and you really have to look at that shape, it looks weird.  It’s so frightening, you go into denial.  Can’t be, your eyes say. Your drawing hand will aid and abet this denial, by elongating what in fact is seen to be compressed.

When I announced that we would do foreshortening next class, a student said, “sounds like surgery.”  So I brought flowers to place near the Barcsay nude we were going to work from.

Jenö Barcsay’s book Anatomy for the Artist, makes a fine reference book.  I have blown up one of his reclining nudes to three feet.  When it’s tacked up on a wall, I can be very specific in guiding the students in the seeing process.  How do you approach this thing?  Well, first, you need to find a unit of measure.  Take the head.  Whoa, the head is half the picture! So counter-intuitive!  But that’s how foreshortening is.  It will drive you crazy, unless you have a disciplined approach that measures and aligns various points with one another.  It’s the only way, you can’t wing it.

One student, Isabella, insisted on working out her drawing with chiaroscuro effect. Quite an accomplishment.

Like upside-down drawing, foreshortening has the effect of focusing the mind. The students who did not completely work out their Barcsay nude, still benefited from the rigorous seeing process, and then produced satisfying drawings using various other images to work from.

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




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