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Posts Tagged ‘lines’

17marchblack

So elegant, witty, lively!  The white lines are scratched into the black, revealing the white under-painting.

Additional texture comes from glued-on fabric, including burlap. The painting manages to have gravitas and levity at the same time.

Terry Fohrman, acrylic on canvas, 24” x 48”

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

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The model in our figure work shop last Monday held this pose for ten minutes.  That limited time suffices to get the figure down but does not allow for any “atmospherics” like the enveloping black frame.  That was added later in my own studio, without the model, because the drawing needed it, I felt, for compositional reasons.  A few days later, today, I was still not happy with the way the eye moved through the composition and I decided to use this drawing in this blog to illustrate how ameliorating certain lines can greatly help the eye move through the page.  I happen to like that in a drawing; I don’t want the eye to get stuck on a passage or be blocked by some very insistent line.  To illustrate what I mean, I’m showing the same drawing here, with certain contour lines lightened, not much, but just enough so that as you follow the line it will at times become lighter or even disappear.

The drawing here at the left reflects those changes.  This final version should be more interesting to look at than the earlier version, at top right.  Is that your feeling also? (Click the  image to get a much larger view.)

To be specific about where the line was picked up, here’s a copy of the final drawing with numbers where I did the work.  Notice that the anatomy remains clearly stated, we lose nothing of the contour, when it is indicated by the black of the background pushing against the figure (#2 and #4)  or when the line is so pale as to be almost lost, as in #3.  The line at #1 had to go because it was too severe and demanding of attention.  It’s continuation at the upper right corner behind the head, however is another matter, a topic for a future post, which will involve Cézanne.

These changes still did not resolve the problems I saw with the drawing.  It kept reminding me of Ingre’s Grand Odalisque, one of his more ridiculous exaggerations of the female anatomy.  He sacrificed anatomy and credibility on the altar of composition, we can see that: what he was after here was a smooth upward curve like a cup.  The reclining figure thus becomes a vessel, a popular metaphor for a woman’s body in the 19th century.   She is in effect, a reclining version of his La Source, another kitschy male fantasy of the female body. (We must get to a discussion of kitsch one of these days!) Here, then, is the final-final version of this figure study.  If you’ve followed the above with any interest, you’ll see how the earlier problems are resolved by the final subtle changes.

http://facefame.wordpress.com

www.khilden.com

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

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