Friday, July 22, 2011

Notes on Drawings #1
From the Studios of Garin Baker
Carriage House Art Studios
July 22nd 2011
"Ray" B&W Charcoal on Canson Paper, Garin Baker, 2011 
Over the last few weeks I've been doing a figure drawing class with a group of young art students.  Most quite talented and focused.  So I wanted to examine the basic underlying perceptions that many overlook when examining and appreciating the completed drawings of so many accomplished artist. 
Figure by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. 
We all are amazed by drawings that capture a compelling quality and marvel at the finished look and resolved quality not appreciating the underlying nature a simple figure drawing was conceived with.

Correct Proportions, and how the importance of simple gesture notations and the underlying beginning stages are. 

Many accomplished artist who draw from life regularly are poor examples for students since their skills have been honed to a point where they can edit past many of these beginning stages. Students see their work and believe if they can begin rendering a portion of the figure it will come out looking like what they see and feel.
Please forgive my directness, but nothing can be further from the truth.  I have for many years witnessed thousands of these beautifully rendered shoulders and noses only to allow my eyes to travel across the rest of the drawing to see the most out of whack proportions and relationships of body parts.  Many of us don't spend the required and repetitious hours needed doing direct, simple gesture drawings.  Seeing the whole figure as one movement and the immediate perception of the full pose from head to toe, and all the extremities as one holistic shape. 
This is crucial and can not be stressed enough.  And until this perception becomes second nature to any young artists,  representational drawing will be seen as a process of addition rather than subtraction. 

My series on drawing and perceptions will continue, so check back for more examples and additional "Notes on Drawing" #2.

Suggested readings:

Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters: 45th Anniversary Edition

Classical Drawing Atelier: A Contemporary Guide to Traditional Studio Practice 
Steven Assael: Selected Drawings
The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition

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