Posted 3rd February 2006
The first in a new series, twenty drawings of eyes.
For my first eye drawing, I’ve copied an eye from a portrait of Henry James by John Singer Sargent, oneof my favourite painters. A while ago I got hold of a book of Sargent’s portrait drawings published bythe Dover Art Library, an American publishing house.
Sargent is an inspiration to me, just like he is to thousands of other painters, especially portraitpainters. He has such an easy grace about his work, he makes it look like he just dashed them off on a whim,but of course that level of skill is the result of years of training and practice.
When I do one of these drawings as a copy, I use my picture framer to block out the rest of the drawing,so I can concentrate just on the part I’m copying without getting distracted. It helps with seeing thesection of the drawing as a collection of tonal shapes,right brain style.
This eye, like the portrait it comes from, has a thoughtful and piercing quality to it, whichis what attracted me to it.
Yesterday I was in theNational Portrait Gallery in London, where they have a few portraits by Sargent.One of them is ofHenry James,and has the same piercing quality (although not quite as strongly as in the drawing), so I guess the drawing that this eye istaken from was a study for the painting.
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