Thursday, October 28, 2010

Drawing for Painting

I went to a life drawing studio yesterday and spent a blissful three hours drawing. It really reminded me of the importance of drawing in painting. If you don't do too much drawing, maybe try to make a little time for it.

Some artists maintain that you don't really need to know how to draw in order to be a good painter. I really disagree with this. I think you can kind of get by depending on your style of painting, but your painting will be much more confident and strong, if you have a good drawing foundation.

The landscape has so much about it that is reminiscent of the figure. Rolling hills are like a human body;  knowing how to show how one form meets another, what is in front and what is behind, what happens in those small spaces? Mark making to not just explain value, hue, intensity and texture, but also to describe the topography of the landscape. This is all about drawing. HUGE!!!

So what can a painter do to strengthen their drawing skills. Well, though it's really been said so much, keeping a sketch book is key. I keep two kinds of sketch books; one is just thumbnails which I create from photos, imagination, and on site while plein air painting, the other sketchbook is life sketches of people and places. I also attempt to sketch from the TV occasionally. It's really hard!!

I also try to keep my life drawing skills sharp by going to drop-in sessions in a couple local studios. This is hard, but really rewarding work. If you can draw the figure, you can draw anything. The demands of the foreshortened figure challenge your perception, forcing you to get proportion and perspective correct. Architecture becomes simple if you can master the figure.

Here are a few of my favorite books on drawing:

Dynamic Figure Drawing by Burne Hogarth
Drawing the Human Head by Burne Hogarth
Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
A Foundation for Expressive Drawing by E.J. Tomasch (out of print)
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis (out of print)

The model, Chris, was pretty hard to draw because he was really thin, yet muscular. I had a hard time getting his gesture down, but liked the drawings better today than when I did them yesterday.  These were done at Hipbone Studio in Portland. Jeff offers lots of opportunities for drop-in sessions. He has some long term pose sessions too. It's a nice studio, well lite, clean and comfortable. Only $10.00 for three hours of drawing. A pretty good deal, I think. I brought my small pastel box with me and did one drawing on Wallis paper that I toned with yellow ochre and one on Colorfix paper. Happy drawing and painting!!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What lovely colors in the flesh tones. Beautiful!