Sunday, July 28, 2013

Figuring it out

Two weeks came and went.  It was premature, but I got my hands dirty in the art of painting with a live model. New paints, new brushes, new mediums, and of course, a new canvas. We started from scratch. Drawing with a pencil, and then sketching using the dry brush method.  Next, a grisaille (which means a painting done in shades of grey), and finally moving on to painting in colours.  Boy was it intense! But very, very fruitful for me to be able to see the entire process of what I will be learning in the next few years. What's great is that I know what to focus on for my foundational year and I will be looking at the bargues from a different point of view, leaving me less frustrated. :) 

Can't wait to get back to the bargues again this Fall. Looking forward, ahead and beyond!

Grisaille piece of Rebeca.

This quick exercise is known as Planet Saturn. :) 

Dry brush sketch of Cadavid.

 Here's doing the big form modelling of the figure. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bargues in Detail

Ciao guys!!

I've been asked to share a more detailed process of copying Bargues. For those who are unfamiliar with this word... Bargue the last name of French artist who devise a drawing method with the same name. Read a little more about him here.

What's great about this foundational drawing exercise is that it's like a pencil sharpener for your eyes! The more you do, the better you get with your drawing and painting skills. 

And so here it is:

These were the materials I used on top of my pencils.

Draw a plumpline on your a good quality paper, then mark off the highest and lowest points using a ruler. (This will be the last time you use a ruler.) Next, get a piece of thread and use it to locate the coordinates of every single point. How you go about it is to measure a point using the string you would like to mark off from the top most point from photocopy. Then immediately translate the coordinates to your working sheet using that same string. (Careful as you might over stretch the string will result in an error while plotting out the coordinate.) 

OK, that was a mouthful! 

The idea is to cover the large shapes first, and then work to find the sub or smaller shapes. Once the points are confirmed (precision is key), you can used those newly confirmed points as a way of double checking other coordinates. 

This will take a while... give yourself some weeks.  So listen to an audiobook or music on your iPod... 

Once you are 100% sure of your shapes [at school, you have trained instructors to guide you :) ], you start filling in the a 90% black for the shadows. Flipping your bargue 90º or even a 180º every now and then allows you to see better your errors. And trust me - there will be! :)

Once the black shapes are in, you do the big form modelling in on your copy ingnoring the details.
See the snout of the horse on my work in progress? Can you see it as a cylindrical tube? That's what Big Form Modelling is all about. Here, you are still not concerned over the details, hence the name Big Form Modelling.

Get as many trained eyes as you can to look at your bargue. After the BFM, you work on the variations of the shadows and lights and take it to an accurate finish.  This is when you focus on the smaller details... this should be therapeutic for most people. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Art of Copying

For the bulk of one of my workshops "17th, 18th and 19th Century Painting Methods", I'm doing a copy of Dali's Christ of Saint John of the Cross. From the 6 pieces I could choose from, this one had the most anatomy.  Here's posting a work in progress.  Can't wait for the new week to begin so I can continue with this piece.  :)

Getting the sketch down with burnt umber on the Campitura. I chose to use the grid-method as oppose to the tracing method. 

Blocking off the entire dark area with a dead black. Already, the painting begins to pop right of the canvas.

After working on the bottom scene a little, I started to adjust the anatomy of the figure as accurately as possible. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What's cooking?

Summer's in here in Florence and I'm taking a couple of workshops at the academy. Diving into the deep, deep end again. Fortunately for me, I have fantastic classmates and monitors so willing to help on top of Maestro John Angel's guidance.  Mediums are a brand new thing for me.  I've only used water-based oils before. Words like Dammar, Liquin, cobalt dryer and mineral spirits have just been added to my vocab. Learning to pronounce some of these mediums are a whole other story!!

For me, jumping straight into paints is doing me a lot of good. I see the full picture of what I will be doing in the next year or so and by the process of backtracking, I am seeing clearly what I need to be doing for the next full year starting this Fall '13.

New poisons... erm... chemicals I've been introduced to. It will be awhile before I find a system to get my tools in order. 

New gear: Large format panels, aprons, making campitura. I'm preparing a copy of Dali's in this 16th, 17th, 18th century method of painting class. 

This is a warm up 1st painting piece by Sir Thomas Lawrence.
It's a section of Charles William Vane-Stewart, Marquess of Londonderry.