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Posts Tagged ‘still life’

16septlargedrapepot

Draw a portion of the still life so that your drawing will have a definite shape on the page.  That was the assignment.  I brought in large 20160922_144208textured paper, 30” x 22”, and encouraged everyone to work in charcoal or very soft graphite.

Notice that the pot in reality is big.  Does it have to be drawn big? No.  The pot and the drapery should be drawn in such a way that they sit nicely on the page.  The artist adjusted the size of the pot so that it becomes part of the arc of the composition.

The arc could have been drawn as if floating in space, but the artist suggests some terra firma by putting in a line to indicate a table top.  Notice that the table top line is broken cezanne-sl-applesbehind the pot.  Cézanne plays this game in his paintings all the time. We’re not committed to documenting reality. The goal is to create a lively page.

Drawing by Jeanne Mueller, charcoal on paper, 30” x 22”

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16septcharlstilllife

One of the reasons we draw from still lifes is that they are so forgiving.  A pot looks just as convincing whether you draw it fat or 16septlstilllifeskinny. Drapery can be pushed and pulled and ironed out.  This forgiveness leaves us free to experiment with the feeling of the drawing itself, feeling that comes from line quality, dynamics of light and dark, rhythm and composition.

Working from this pile of round forms and edges, the artist could have chosen to draw any passage in great detail.  He chose, instead, to draw the sweep of the whole arrangement.  It formed and arc.  As he drew from left to right, some aspects captivated him more than others and he shaded them for greater emphasis, time being 16septcharlstilllifearclimited, after all. Limited time is a good thing.  Because with more time, more details might have been filled in and we would have lost this lovely arc.  The drawing now has not only content, which anybody can get with due diligence, but also form, which comes out of a deeper crinkle of your brain. Tickling that crinkle is more than half the trick.

Charles Stern, graphite on paper, ~12” x 16”

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16draperycolumn

It’s quite startling to see this drawing in the studio/class room where it was produced because at the same time you can also see the pile of cloth and pottery that it was produced from. Before he starts to draw the artist, Linné Dosé, selects a portion of the still life.  What that means is that he sees a coherent unit and deletes everything else from his vision.  This is a skill he has developed by himself and to great effect.

The effect is that an object appears on the drawing paper, very convincing and solid but without any spatial reference. The object elicits a double take.

We read the drapery as cloth (soft) and at the same time as a column (solid).  The pot appears to be heavy and three dimensional and at the same time we can see it’s an incomplete drawing. It’s a play on perception.

Drawing by Linné Dosé, graphite, ~18” x 14”

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16eminencegrise

Once again I got so interested in what everybody was doing that I forgot to take a picture of the still life set up.  But you recognize these pots from previous posts.  So do the students, having faced them innumerable times before.  Are they complaining?  No, because it’s not about the crockery.  It’s about what happens on the drawing paper.

So many choices.  What to draw, what to leave out. What to relate to what.  How to move the eye through the page.

16eminencegrisenumbersNotice that the grouping at (1) relates in value to (4) and therefore your eye moves diagonally across the page.

The lines of the drapery converge at (3).  But right at that point of convergence the charcoal has been lifted to keep that spot from dominating the page.

And what about that huge pot, (2)?  No shading, no detail, no reflection, no roundness. We don’t need any of that.  We know exactly what it is. Une éminence grise, ha. It becomes important precisely because it doesn’t shout.

I love a witty still life.

Drawing by Maggy Shell, charcoal, ~14”x18”

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14June

Wherever you are right now, if you look up and around you, you’ll find a still life worth drawing.  Oh, no, you say? It’s all ordinary, everyday stuff. A coffee cup, a coiled wire, a pair of glasses, a crinkled Kleenex…

14JuneAnalysisThat’s the point!  Look again.  Look at the space between these things, how their edges meet, how shapes repeat, the pattern of light and dark.  Looking like this can get you out of the verbal mode so that you arrive at a state of mind where you’re not naming anything.  You go visual, in other words.  Ah, then you start drawing.

The objects we draw in class are equally banal: an old bowl and some cloth remnant on a beat up studio table. Not heroic, nothing much.

Drawing by Linné Dosé, graphite, ~14” x 18”

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/trip-into-drapery/

https://artamaze.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/the-square/

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16JanPitcher
That antique patinaed pitcher looked quite commanding at the pinnacle of the still-life heap. You would think it would become the star of the show. But its majesty had to contend with a pile of stripes. Just some striped cloth, you might think, so humble and folksy. Haha, not so. Stripes are powerful and will command your attention. The grand pitcher had found its match. The drawing is not about any one object. It’s about how these strong forms hang together in a composition that sits well on the page and, yes, holds your attention.
Drawing by Maggy Shell. Charcoal pencil, 14” x 16”

PitcherStripes
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14StillLifeByWindow
What better way to spend a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon than setting up a still life for yourself. Sit down. Draw.
Your set up can be elaborate and you can select passages for multiple drawings.

14StillLifeByWindowCube

Because it’s in your home, you can return to it over several days…maybe weeks. Drapery, as we all know, can take time. Draw big.

14StillLifeByWindowPears

Treat yourself to many hours of drawing!

14StillLifeByWindowTomato
You can, of course, also draw from the images on your screen, like these.

14StillLifeByWindowPots
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