Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grayscale, Value, Color Temperature: Drawing Resources Online, Part 2

More conflicting advice. Read something on Cheap Joe’s art site championing mid-range values for watercolorists. Well, it’s a transparent medium, higher keyed. But for the rest of us, let’s stay out of the muddy waters of the middle range of values!

My teacher, Ron Lemen, has some instruction floating around online about sticking to a limited number of values toward each end of the grayscale. At his Studio2ndStreet site, materials on using a limited palette stress the importance of picking up colors of the same value on your paintbrush.

Alexander Schaefer has posted a useful graphic lining up some sample colors against a grayscale. The same graphic shows how color temperature affects those samples: cool light, warm shadow, and vice versa.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Outline: Drawing from the Outside In or Inside Out? Drawing Resources Online, Part 1

In this corner, champions of nailing down the outline first. In the other, people who start their drawing in the middle and let the proportions evolve from there. At least, it’s starting to sound like a fight to me, as I begin cataloging and reviewing online art lessons.

The get the outline right first camp terrifies me. A perfect outline? Not going to happen; so I’m defeated from the get-go. Seems easier to me to paint in the general areas of light and shadow and refine the edges from there.

Maybe the conflict between outside in versus inside out is the conflict between drawing versus painting. Or media which are set in stone or nearly so, such as ink or watercolor, or oil paint you can push around. Or line versus color.

One proponent of silhouette – and a whole lot more interesting material – is Michael Britton at ArtAcademy.com. You can see a sample online portrait how-to video on his homepage. I would get on his mailing list post haste. Sculpture plays a big role.

Cheap Joe’s Art offers has instruction online, with a watercolor slant. This article shows the graphic power of getting the outline right in figure drawing: Getting Figures Into Shape. One suggestion is to take an old not-quite-right work and reconfigure the silhouettes to come up with a more successful design. Hmm, maybe if I can get this silhouette thing working for me I’ll warm up to the idea …

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paint Made Flesh Exhibit in Washington, D.C.

Today's Wall Street Journal has a review of a figurative painting exhibition at the Phillips Collection. Apparently the catalog and exhibit signage contain plenty of highfalutin talk. The Journal suggests letting the paintings speak for themselves.

The show has some old (from the fifties) and a few new paintings. The Phillips Collection Web site doesn't have the expected slide show, but the newspaper put one together here. (Let's hope the Journal leaves these pages online indefinitely.)

The Phillips Collection did make a video.

Think big fellow artists!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anatomy and the Artist

Summer of Anatomy

At the moment Comic-Con is going on just a bit south of here at the San Diego Convention Center. I think people know pretty early in life if they are comic book and/or science fiction fans. A number of video game and comic book artists work in San Diego, and that's how I heard about Andrew Loomis. These artists are the standard bearers of the mastering figure drawing cause. Aspiring young artists go to the convention hoping to show their portfolio to a pro. It's a charming and touching scene.

I am spending my summer, er, boning up on my anatomy. First I pulled my reliable An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists off the shelf, but still felt a little lost. A trip to the bookstore lead to a newly published book, Classic Human Anatomy: An Artist's Guide to Form, Function, and Movement. The difference between the former and latter is like that between a printed map and a GPS. There's a time for each; I'm really pretty thrilled with this brand-new book. Read the review here.

There is no wiggling out of studying anatomy. Just like life, you can't skip steps. Sooner or later lack of anatomy understanding will come back to haunt you. There's a dichotomy at play here: on the one hand you're supposed to draw what you see (easier said than done!) by breaking it down into simple shapes. On the other hand the human body is so complicated, you need to understand what you are looking at before you can pick out the simple forms.

I think a serious landscape or botanical artist would spend time studying the generic forms of trees. This is my lifetime third round of anatomy study, and it's turning out to be fun. Every tiny breakthrough helps. I was looking at my little (plastic!) skull the other day and it finally dawned on me just how a particular plane turns. Give it a try.

Outside the Studio

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a Pompeian-themed exhibit, and the Getty Museum further west in Malibu, which replicates a Pompeian villa, has been renovated and reopened fairly recently. Great photos of sculpture to draw from (for your own practice, of course). Sculpture models are free and patient.

It's the warm season in half the world. Shorts and tank tops make it a lot easier to scope out those anatomy landmarks you've been studying.

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Wishing you the very best for all your creative endeavors! -Karla Mulry, Editor, LoomisBooks.com