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."


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, I'm amazed by your Knight, Death and the Devil drawing. I just finished drawing this a few days ago, and was trying to find my next project when I saw yours on the web. How long did it take you? It took me 4 months working part time. Here is a facebook link to a picture I took of it: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3515504577956&set=a.1496223137182.2063779.1582200294&type=1&theater&notif_t=like

Yours is definitely better! What kind of pens did you use? I used rapdiographs. Have you tried to draw Meloncolia I or St. Jerome in His Study?

Anyway, I love your work and would love to purchase some as soon as financially possible.

James Porter

Dave B said...

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I haven't been very active here. It amazes me how many people are still looking. Anyway.

How long? No idea. This is pretty old and I really don't pay much attention to how long drawings take. They're mostly done for my own amusement, and to keep me from falling asleep in front of the TV at night.

I used a rapidograph too. A .18 Rotring to be exact. Those things are hard to find these days for some reason. Personally I loved them. Apparently nobody else does anymore.

And yes, I've done both the Meloncolia and St Jerome. They didn't come out bad, just not as good as the Knight. It's assumed that Durer did the Knight and St Jerome as a pair, so it just seemed natural to do it too. The Meloncolia is just a cool image. I'm thinking of doing a painting based on the idea. Already have the central figure, now I just need to put it all together. Could happen.

Thanks again. Just a little heads up if you want to buy something. Prices will be going up the first of the year.