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Posts Tagged ‘contrapposto’

13GabyGrandparents2

Students very often think that a drawing is a one-shot deal.  The standard class time is three hours and that should be enough to work out the still life set up on the table or the model on the stand. They tend to think this.  But I try to encourage them to develop certain drawings.  A three-hour graphite drawing, for example, can be imagined in another medium, in charcoal, in an aquarellable pencil or with a watercolor wash. Or it can invite an emphasis on forms derived from shapes that are only faintly suggested in the first drawing. The first drawing might have too much detail and may invite a bold, simple linear quality instead.

Here is a drawing inspired by a family photo from the forties. Gaby actually worked from a Xerox enlargement, 8-1/2 x 11, because old photos tend to be quite small.  The second—developed–drawing is shown above. Notice how version #2 differs from version #1, shown below.

13GabyGrandparents1

The second drawing departs from the literalness of the first which already had moved away from the literalness of the photo.

13GabyGrandparents1linesThe developed drawing (#213GabyGrandparents2 lines) unifies the figures by making the lines where they touch ambiguous. By creating contrapposto lines in the shoulders and midsections (pink), the artist makes the two people appear as one, an ingenious invention that adds emotional intensity and compositional focus. The woman’s hemline in version #1, while very energetic(green), cut the figure abruptly and kept her from relating to her sailor.  Can’t have that.  Gaby eliminates the triangular  pleat work and lengthens the skirt, all in the interest of harmony.  The result shows the couple as graceful and heroic.

Are you allowed to do that?  Yessss! Because you’re creating a work of art.

13GabyGrandparentsPhotoIf you’re commissioned to duplicate an old photo, you better not think this way.  Just hunker down and scribble away.  But that’s not what we do here and certainly not when we develop a drawing.

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

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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In my drawing class I like to sit next to students and draw along.  Well, first I ask for permission because sometimes people just want to noodle by themselves.  When they invite me in, I sometimes draw quietly, but most of the time there are questions and then I comment on what I’m doing, what to look for, how to connect this and that, etc.

I recently worked with Jackie, a new student, who was drawing from a magazine photo of a standing figure.  Without further comment, I’ll just let the “before” and “after” speak for themselves.

When I’m drawing, I lose all sense of time.  I think we worked together for about twenty minutes.  That is to say, I drew and demonstrated how to approach the figure, how to put the contrapposto lines down first, why leaving the head to last is a good idea (so counter-intuitive!), how to put in the T-face, do side studies of hands, see the V-shape in the hand, see the plumb line between the neck and the heel to make the figure stand convincingly…stuff like that.  Doesn’t take long.

After my tutorial, she produced a much-improved drawing and brushed her “before” drawing aside. “So much better,” she said. Reflecting on her former teachers, she added, “I have to tell you, all art teachers are not created equal.”

Somebody had an aha-moment.

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

www.khilden.com 

http://facefame.wordpress.com

http://katherinehilden.wordpress.com

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