Drawing class tonight. I am having a lot of difficulty with this class because I am trying to learn what Rob and his assistant Marjorie are trying to teach me and things don’t seem to be making a lot of sense right now. I keep thinking what I should be doing is listen to them demo a particular method and then I try to draw the model using their techniques.
I am trying to not work too small or too detailed. Even though this is a drawing class we’re working our drawings similar to how you’d construct an oil painting. and it frustrates me to no end since I am trying hard to integrate what I can do with what they are trying to teach me. It’s weird but when I watch the demo and really listen to what he’s talking about and then work the way I normally do; if I remain conscious of what he discussed it turns out well. When I attempt to do exactly what he did or I get too wrapped up in a precise instruction/technique it goes south pretty quickly.
Tonight out model was a white male named Jiri. I think he’s eastern European but it’s difficult to tell. When you look at him straight on it’s difficult to really see the beauty of his bone structure. Tonight I was to his left at around 40 degrees. I was kind of disappointed at first because there weren’t a lot of interesting shadows. But the nice thing was you really got to see his jaw line, nose, eyes and lips without the distraction of the shadows. Jiri has the kind of lips you see on a DaVinci Madonna or a Greek statue. They are very different from what we consider as beautiful lips today but the structure was so interesting. He had very deepset eyes and a prominent nose and it’s the eyes that really got me in trouble.
I simply massed them in because I was worry about getting too caught up in the structure (prominent brow/deep set eyes and heavy lids) and it got fairly off kilter in the drawing. I did the same thing with the ears but thought screw it and ruthlessly edited. When Rob saw the ears he loved them (I was brutal and they were not beautiful but they were true to Jiri and you could really see their structure), not so much for the eyes.
At that point I only had 15 minutes left so I started sketching his eye in a corner of the paper. Once class was over I showed that to Rob. He really liked the eye and told me that’s what I need to do to the main drawing. So tomorrow I will chamois out the eye and start over. I joked that I should cut out the one eye and glue it over the eye. My poor drawing.
I guess what I really got out of tonight was watch the demo, try to absorb one aspect of the lesson, and at least for the initial lay-in edit ruthlessly and be bolder.
Here is a copy of the DaVinci preliminary (he used chalks, charcoal and some paint) I am working on. So far I am about halfway finished. I am only using the verithins but it’s slow going. After looking at it Rob said I was about halfway there-I have some editing to do on it (adjust the nose and it’s shadows, rework lips and darken the darks).
Just in case you were wondering….
For class we use either prismacolor verithin pencils or chalks/conte crayons in black, white and sanguine (tera cotta color). We draw on specially prepared paper- you do this at home and bring in your prepped sheets for class, I use Frankfurt cream paper that has been prepared in the following manner:
- Prepare a watercolor wash (use yellow ocher, raw sienna or what ever color you prefer) -keeping it fairly light
- Prepare 1 part amber shellac with 5 parts denatured alcohol, mix and store in airtight container (you can buy these materials for under $10 at Lowe’s or Home Depot
- Apply a wash of watercolor, this will be your ground color and allow to try
- Apply coating of shellac/alcohol mixture and allow to dry
- Keep the shellac, alcohol, and shellac/alcohol mixture safely out of reach of children and don’t forget it’s flammable!
The color of my wash looks similar to parchment once the wash is applied and has dried. You can go darker but remember this serves as your midtone in your drawing so it needs to be fairly neutral. If your drawing the figure I’d suggest the ocher since it looks similar a skin tone. Another color you could try is for more French academy (ala Proudhon) affect by trying a blue-grey instead of the ocher.
A friend recommended I make the following disclaimer on my work. Unless otherwise stated, I own the copyright on all the art work (oil paintings, oil sketches, drawings, and photographs). You do not have the right to download or link the art in this blog without either correctly attributing it to me or asking my permission. Seems like most folks would know that but you just never know.