Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There is simply no substitute...

Bundled (Mo)   Watercolor   14 x 10
for drawing from life.  It is in this life situation that we are able to understand the forms, the roundness, the hills and valleys of the human face.  And, when practicing, the best way is to use pencils or charcoal....values will teach these subtleties more easily without the added complications of color.  I have seen seasoned artists freeze up when faced with portrait-drawing.  It is here that small errors in scale and measurement show up.  And, when we freeze up, we tend to see the human face as we did when we were children....two eyes, a nose and a mouth....and perhaps a  couple of ears and some hair.  Getting the eyes "just right" will help, but is not the true foundation of drawing the human head.  In actuality, the simple planes of the head tell the true story.  It is indeed an overwhelming task.  It is easy to practice on yourself in the mirror....perhaps limiting yourself to just one quadrant of the face.  That success will urge you onward.  My friend Mo does a self-portrait each day, both to improve her skills and to understand herself maneuvering through life.  Her set-up is stationary in her bathroom.  Her drawings are done in an old copy of The Gulag Archipelago.....one page a day.  Whatever medium spins her fan at a given moment.  What a wonderful way to learn.  Let that be a lesson to us.

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