Friday, April 18, 2008


The verdict on the portraits drawn for last faire, Sonora, was that they were too light...too hard to see from afar. I decided to get some practice in, this time using my actual materials, and keeping in mind a couple inspirations I've run across. The first was a portrait of a Black man (a celebrity, but I can't remember who it was now, darn!), that was drawn with passion. The marks were bold and sure. The second inspiration was the movie "Goya's Ghost," which presented Francisco Goya as a kind, effusive, and moral sort, despite his darkly disturbing images we in the present have come to judge his character by. I have no idea how Francisco Goya really was, as a person, but the actor played him as a very likeable fellow. More importantly, the way he drew and painted--bold, passionate, dark, and uniquely. His portraits, I would either say lacked glow (as we find it in human complexion), or contained darkness. His technique was loose, but detailed. He was a master in every sense, but seemed to have gone his own way. And if we have any doubt to his success, remember his portrayal of the Spanish royal family, and that that painting was accepted, paid for, and exists today. Anyway, here are some of my practice drawing, with bolder strokes:

And then there's Rubens:

In flipping through some of my books of old master's drawings, I notice a couple things they do that I am not doing--one is the anatomy of the eye. Look at the way Rubens drew her eyes, in this sketch...every piece is there! This doesn't mean that it always has to be that way (look at Sargent, who somehow implies things with his marks, and they look nearly photographic), but it's a good place to start...especially for drawings of women, which should have the focus on the eyes (a tip from Ryan Woodward I scratched down in my sketchbook back in 2004). Another idea/observation to practice: for women, less lines more tone; for men, more lines and more tone and darker values. Just some thoughts :-).