Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forgotten Images from the Vault

A few days ago I was looking through an old portfolio.  It was full of older drawings and things from several years ago, and I wasn't entirely sure what I would find.  Since they were older I expected to find a lot of junk to throw out.  There was some of that, but not nearly as much as I expected.  What I did find were some of the things I did while relearning how to draw.  Some of them weren't half bad if I do say so myself.  At any rate I thought some of the old master copies would be of interest to you.  So let's see what I found.

Look familiar?  A nice little silverpoint copy of Leonardo's silverpoint study for an angel.  It's heightened with white chalk.  This is one of the earlier silverpoints I have done.  A handful came before this, but you don't want to see those.  Trust me on that one.  The ground is a watered down acrylic gesso toned with some dry pigment, prussian blue I think.

I love old master drawings.  The St Louis Art Museum has a gallery devoted entirely to works on paper, drawings, prints, the occasional watercolor, and I always make sure to spend some time in there.  When a list of the greatest draftsmen of all time is put together Leonardo is always on it.   Albrecht Durer always makes the list too.  If you're looking for drawings to copy he's got some nice ones.  He also has a great list of engravings.

Another pretty famous image.  Well, if you're going to steal, steal the best.  Now this isn't a bad bit of drawing considering it's me and all, but compared to the original it definitely blows chunks.  I've seen the original print several times, and it never fails to amaze me.  It's not very big, only about 10x 8, but there's a lot packed into that small space.

This might not be quite a well known, but still a pretty sweet image.  This is Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces Demons.  It's from a collection of etchings (maybe they're classed as aquatints) Goya produced called Los Capricios.  Pretty sure I spelled that wrong, have to check.  For all the non-etchers out there an aquatint is a resin dusted over the plate.   The plate is heated just enough for the resin to melt creating a resist to the acid bath.  When etched it will result in a wash-like tone like the background here.  The longer the etch, the darker the tone.  In the case of my drawing here I used charcoal.  I always liked etching.  Really should have broken down and bought a press.

A copy of Rembrandt's etching Woman with an Arrow.  Another of the world's all time great draftsmen and one of the great etchers too.  Nobody's quite sure what's going on in this image.  Venus giving an arrow to Cupid?  Maybe, as good a back story as any.  Personally I don't really care much.  I just like the image.  That's the reason I did most of these.  I also tried to copy them as closely as possible, trying to figure out the whys and wherefores.  Honestly I don't remember what I learned on any individual drawing.  It was more of a cumulative effect.   I have sketchbooks full of quick versions of things like this and other assorted objects.  The more you do the better.   One more today.

Recognize this guy?  If you don't you're in the wrong place.  I'm sorry, you'll have to leave.  I can only take this inclusive stuff so far.  I mean we're talking Rembrandt here.  Okay, the pose is based on a rather well know Titian portrait, but this etching may well be equally famous, and I do like a good etching.

Last thought for the day comes from Rembrandt while we're on the subject.  "Take the brush in hand and begin.  When you have said all you wish say you're done."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Playing with the Wind

Silverpoint on off white prepared paper
14 x 10

This is the companion piece to the last one I posted.  The size and paper color is identical.  The value range is about the same too.  If it looks different here blame it on the white balance.  It also illustrates the problem in photographing artworks.  I've seen the same image posted on different sites, all well respected art sites, that look totally different.   So maybe I'm not such a bad photographer after all.  Well,  I'll admit to being adequate.  Now there's something to aspire to.

I've been trying to think of something to actually say about this piece, but I really got nothing today.  The two drawings do go together fairly well.

or you can put them together the other way which I think I prefer.

That's not so bad a pairing.  I've considered doing a third figure to put in the middle, probably a standing figure about twice as big.  I think that might look pretty good.  Gotta give that some more thought.