Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cast Drawing - Level 2

By Lynn Snyder
Level Two Student

After 18 three hour sessions, Level Two completed its cast drawings. The goal of the class was to push you to see and draw as clearly and accurately as possible. The work began by drawing in the contour to lock in the proportions showing light and shadow. Once the shapes were correct, we began to build form with graphite in a slow manner. The class focused on drawing skills required to paint human form and still life. These are the fruits of our labor.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Drawing Freehand Ellipses

By Chris Brizzard
Level One Student

At Studio Incamminati, one of the things we learn is to reduce objects to straight lines and basic geometric shapes, which can then be refined at later stages as needed. This fits into a core idea here, namely working from big to small, and it applies equally well to that form we all love to hate - the ellipse.

The ellipse is a form that one encounters frequently, especially in working with the still life. The tops and bottoms of vases, jars, cups, etc. are all elliptical forms and so having a method to deal with them is an important tool in the artist’s skill set.

In our first semester still life classes, we learned to reduce the ellipse to a basic hexagonal shape.

This is extremely useful and will suffice in many situations, but what if one wishes to refine the ellipse a bit more? The following steps show one approach to doing this.

First, let’s deal with accurately drawing the hexagonal shape used to represent the ellipse. Establish the long and short axes of the ellipse, remembering that they will always be at right angles to one another.

Next, add a rectangle to show the boundaries of the ellipse.

Add a grid to accurately divide the rectangle into thirds.

Now you are ready to draw the hexagonal shape used to represent the ellipse.

The question now becomes, how can one refine this abstraction into a more ellipse-like shape? Now the process of subdividing begins. The hexagon has six sides and we will now add points to divide each side into two.

By connecting the new points, we can create a 12-sided form which starts to look more elliptical.

This may be all the refining one needs, but it is possible to keep adjusting the shape. One idea is to add straight lines where two lines meet, thereby subdividing the shape even more.

We can now erase the grid to better show the elliptical form.

This form can be further subdivided using the same process, and it is up to the artist to decide how refined a shape s/he needs for the task at hand. The basic hexagonal shape will suffice in some situations where the overall forms are very general in nature (the block-in phase, for example), but there are also times when a more refined shape is needed. This is one approach to achieving that end.

Ultimately, the artist must wrestle with each concept and come up with something that works best for him or her. As instructor Natalie Italiano keeps telling us, there is no one “right” answer, and ultimately, that is what makes a piece work or not, for each piece that we work on is a record of choices (both conscious and subconscious) that we have made along the way. Learning to make informed choices is one of the benefits of studying at Studio Incamminati.

Another day in the life...

of a Level Two student.

By Wendy Wagner

Continuing from my previous post, I invite you to follow my Tuesday as a Level Two student in the Professional program.

The first snowfall of the year greets us as we arrive.
With two weeks left in the fall semester, we are finishing our class, Drawing the Figure in Graphite. After a year of charcoal with Level One, we graduated to graphite. The class was broken into two long poses, about eight  weeks long, with a few shorter poses in the beginning of the year. Our instructor is Robin Frey.
Library w/painting by Nelson Shanks

9 am: Before jumping into the pose, we head to the library to show our weekly sketches. Robin has us draw from life on our own, and also copy from various books over the semester. For the past few weeks we have had to copy from Anthony Ryder's figure drawing book. 

Coffee provided by the school daily
This is to reinforce the habit of daily drawing and it's one of the things I enjoy about the class.

Coffee (and tea) is provided to the students by the school, so we fill up our cups and meet to show our weekly sketches.

It's also interesting to see the personality of each artist emerge from their sketches. Some chose to do quick sketches, while others prefer longer master copies. Robin is very open about what we do, as long as we draw, draw, draw.

Here are some examples from sketchbooks:
Examples from our weekly sketches.
9:45 am We then move on to continue working on our longer pose. This is week seven of an eight-week effort. At this point, we should have the full value range, calibrating off the lightest light and darkest dark. Others are developing the lights with a hard pencil.

Did we capture the light effect? If the light on the shoulder is the same as the light on the knee, there is a problem.
Michela, working during the break
Noon: Lunch. Time to head to the kitchen with the other levels.

12:45. And we're back, continuing to assess which areas need attention, standing back, getting feedback. Here are snippets of some work.
Parts in progress

Level One artwork
During model breaks, I like to look at the artwork on the walls. Studio "A" has charcoal drawings from Level One. I remember those days!

As our instructor, Robin put it, It's not just about it copying, it's about interpreting. You have to build an understanding about what you are drawing.

The group got together for a photo:
3:45 Time to put it away for one more week!

Until next time,