Monday, January 14, 2013

Hall full of mirrors

The first time I was in the Louvre (about six years ago), we went to see the famous La Joconde, Mona Lisa, or whatever name you call her (or him?)
The Louvre is full of Clichés, by that I mean works that have so much cultural clutter it is hard to see them clearly, and this one is exceptionally hard.
In a lecture I heard about the Louvre by someone who works there, I learnt about 80% of the crowd at a given moment is in the halls of the Mona Lisa, and Venus du Milo.
Furthermore - you can't get near the painting (there is a guard), and it is covered with a double vitrine, so the only thing you get to see is its real size, which is no surprise as well, since you know Leonardo traveled with it all the time, so it couldn't be huge.
Still, being in the presence of the real thing (assuming this is not a copy, while the real one is deep in the safes of the Louvre) has its impact...

The stuff I am interested in is the process of visiting it, people (me included) came to see it so they can say they did (to themselves, to others), to mark a V on the must-sees.

Nowadays, this ritual is supported by the ever-accessible photography, and since the purpose of a photo is to mark the event, and not document the richness of the work (you can see the work in meticulous proximity on the web), a simple phone-camera may do the trick as well.

And since art is about reproduction of a reproduction, I was fascinated by the details of this process.

I've been doing some past-surfing lately, so I dag these from the archive, I hope you like them...

*Note - these photos are not the originals, but merely copies :)

And Mine:

And finally, the girl didn't have a camera (don't worry, she has one now...)

And just so you see the full picture: look here.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Research & Discovery with a Model

Those of you who follow my post may already know that:
- One of the reasons I draw is to explore and experiment with the boundaries of vision
- I love to blabber (but usually try to restrain myself)

It's been a long time since I did painting, and a longer time since I drew a live model, and since I have my drawing-group I didn't find the time to take the time and paint in a relaxed manner.
So yesterday I treated myself to a meetup of a live model, which was 90 minutes of pure pleasure,
Partly since Scott (the host) Lucie (the model) and the group were so friendly and fun.
But mostly since I had the chance to introspect and extospect, experiment with colors, compositions, lines, and just plain listen.

So today - the five are colored drawings, the two are hidden colored drawing, and there's a pencil one as well.

And for the blabbering part - I'd like to share some of the noise that crossed my mind while drawing, and the drawing experience a bit...
You may find it boring or obscure, but I wrote this one mainly for myself.

I brought a block of colored paper, and red and yellow acrylic left from a workshop I did. chose purple and yellow since it clashes so well, and started drawing using a finger. soon enough I discovered two things:
- Thinly spread yellow actually darkens the paper. so some places I wanted to lighten became dark.
- The finger is too thick to draw facial expressions.
Than used red to define the darker-than-purple, and the outer bounds.
What I'm mostly happy with are the arm on the left and the rib-cage.
And a general rule - sometimes I make a move I regret (the nose, the red part of the chest), I take a breath and accept it, and try not to fight it or cover it.

After a pause, a new pose. I choose another paper color, borrow a brush (thanks, Scott), and go for a more detached set of spots, again starting from the yellow.
I search for the shadows, try to examine whether their border is well defined or not, how do they define the body, the yellow works, but it remains too flat, so I take the red again... just to find that the the color combination doesn't work at all (I still have to understand why...)
Covering the yellow of the hair (that should have been left blue) makes the hair come-out even more. what I do like is the face and the knee. and I realize I may have confused the yellow on the right... sometimes use it as a definition of the border, and sometimes as part of the arm.
Also - I have lots to learn about holding a brush - a finger is waaay easier.
And for the first hidden painting - to illustrate why the color combination doesn't work, watch what happens when I remove the colors... suddenly the darks and lights work much better.

Next, I left the colored paper for a while, and drew on white. 
The idea was to clean the red brush from the color left from the previous drawing, to have some background, and than draw on it with a pencil.
The red part passed quite easily, though I wanted sharper edges. than the pencil - starting from the face, I put too much details on it (but what's done is done)
The sofa turned out strange.
What I like:
- The contrast between the softness of the red and the sharpness of the pencil.
- Textural changes: radiator on the left, hair, stomach, toes.
What I don't like:
- It came out quite like I 'envisioned' it. not a lot of surprises.
- I'm sorry there was no place left for the left foot
- The face is too heavy.

Deciding when it is 'done' is quite arbitrary, it is really a matter of decision and not knowledge (unless the time is up for the pose). Since I ended before Lucie changed her pose, I took a shot at a quick sketch.
Not much to say about it, the haste to make the sketch in two minutes didn't do justice to her face (she was soft and smiling), the last few seconds I added the lines of the shoulders and arms, and it makes a movement I like.

Last pose.
Not playing favorites, I do like how this one turned out...
This time the paper color doesn't clash with the yellow, And painting with the finger I get good control so I can well define the legs, the foot, the breast and the rib-cage.
The pencil part adds different textures: the curved long lines, the vibrating hair and stomach.
I find the shadows (the hand's shadow on the sofa and the space between the sofa and the floor) are confusing and too automatic. (does the leg bend or is it extended)
And a thing I like is the open-ness of the form, that the lines don't frame the body but only help shape it (the arm extends with no limit)
Another thing I like is the two layers that interact without mixing, like two separate slides one on top of the other, defining separately light and shape.

Next, another take at the same pose.

This time only with spots. trying to define only the major outlines.
As I said, my brush technique sucks, still I like the way it turned out.
While drawing I tried to leave out as much as possible.
The jagged line below is an attempt to define the border between the leg and the tissue on the floor. The shoulder blade is so square it may be confused as part of the sofa. and the hair is the only dark part that is not a shadow. 
I like it mainly since even I have to struggle to find the model in the painting, she keeps appearing and disappearing. (if you don't see her - use the drawing above it as a reference)

And for the second hidden drawing...
when I came back, I was surprised to find a pose I didn't draw, and it took me a while to realize I was holding the above drawing at another angle. funny, isn't it?

Till nextime!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Marble to Paper

Yesterday I took my group to draw in the Louvre.

First Sunday of the month is free admission, which means long lines (unless you know alternative entrances) and lots of people (unless you know alternative halls)

Luckily I read the text in parentheses, so entrance was fast and the hall we were in wasn't crowded.
(They say 80% of the crowd in the Louvre is around the Mona-Lisa, Venus de Milo etc., so the rest is quite spacious)

This was the first time I took the time, in between challenging my group members,  to draw as well. (mainly since I promised the boy to draw a statue of Achiles fighting a snake (or something...)

Following are two different attempts to deal with a sad-postured statue.

just straight lines
just dark spots
 Followed by Neptune fighting a sea-beast (Hypocampus, is it?)
* this is a pencils that is an aquarells, which allows drawing, and than smearing it with the finger and some spit. exciting stuff! :)
And I just found a page of other drawing of this one (in case you don't understand what you see...) : here

And a general view, with the horses of Marley (Statues taken from Marley-le-Roi, and put in the Louvre when they created this new section of it)
The statue shows a slave trying to tame a horse, (if you want, you can see it here)

And a small story about the roof - it is a relatively new hall, and the glass roof is designed to pass a constant amount of light, so it stores the light if it is too much and emits it when it gets darker.
As this was told to me by the boy, I am sure every word is true!

BTW - if you want to see our group's work - take a look here.

Till nextime! 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Drawing me, Drawing you

I've been busy lately with a new adventure.

For quite a while I've bee looking for a group to draw with, but didn't find any, so I created one.

This post is of a special session in which I posed, 
The exercise was mainly drawing a model (me... :) on red and yellow.

We didn't have much time, so some drawings are on very wet paint, still, as a 'teacher', I am so proud at the result we produced, and I hope some of the creativity and fun we had comes through!

Hope you enjoy it as much as me, and a warm (colored red to yellow) thanks to all the participants for the contribution!

and to finish off, some pencil ones, (yea, I cheated by coloring the first two on the computer...)

A happy new year! till nextime!