Having completed three of the four series of drawings of features (eyes, noses, hands and mouths,)I’ve just embarked on a new series. This series is going to be a bit tougher than the last lot, and willtake some time I think.
A few months back I got hold of a reconstituted marble bust of Clytie (I think it’s Clytie,) withthe intentionof doing some atelier style cast drawings. A classic nineteenth century atelier training wouldbegin with copies, like say the Bargue plates or something similar, before progressing onto drawing fromcasts. After these two stages were completed, students would move on to drawing from life.
I’m a spoiled, impatient twentieth century westerner, so I’m doing everything in the wrong order.Or rather, I’m doing everything at the same time. But drawing from a cast will be, for me, somethinglike drawing from a model, so will be very good practice for portraits. And the nice thing about Clytie is shedoesn’t fidget, doesn’t need breaks, and doesn’t need paying. She’ll happily sit for me all day with agentle smile and no complaints. Here she is. Say hi to everybody Clytie.
She’s so polite.
I’m taking my lead from the progression of the Bargue plates for these drawings,and plan to stay one step aheadof what I’m doing with the cast drawings on the Bargue drawings, so that at least I’ll have tried a copy oncebefore I try to do a similar drawing from the cast.
All the drawings are being done sight-size. Although I’vetoyed with sight size with some of mystill life paintings, I’m applying thetechnique much more stringently now. The basic idea, like pretty much everything else I do, is toimprove my ability to see, to judge shapes and their relationships better, and to learn how to simplify form.Sight size cast drawing is like extreme eye training.
The first drawing was just a schematic, like the schematics supplied by Bargue to show how to simplify form.I say “just a schematic” but it still took around eight hours to do. Sight size work requires a lot of patience.I have no idea at this stage how long this series is going to take, but each drawing will be started in the sameway, refined a little more each time until for the tenth one I’ll try to produce a full on, sight size,absolutely accurate drawing of Clytie. Another thing I’m hoping for with this series is to graduallyintegrate tone back into my drawings, one step at a time. Of course this also means I need to get back to theBargue plates again, so I need to solve my reproduction quality problems pretty sharpish.
You can read all about sight size and the first drawing here:
Posted 31st July 2006
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