- Lesson details
In this video lesson, master draftsman Glenn Vilppu will show you his approach to designing a composition for a painting featuring multiple figures. Glenn shows you every step of his process, including choosing figures for the composition, drawing various thumbnails, and designing a grid to assist with placement choices.
- Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Sanguine and Black
- Winsor & Newton Watercolor (Homemade Altoids Palette)
- Pentel Water Brush
- Drawing Paper
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That starts with, of course, an idea and how you take and develop this idea, whether it’s
into a painting, an illustration, or a storyboard. We all have to take and visualize and organize
our visual presentation. So this session is focusing on the process towards a painting,
but it’s no different than any of the other processes of how I take and develop a composition.
It’s developing it, going from thumbnails to how the ideas start
from a germination and expand.
begins with thumbnails and working within a frame.
Now I start thinking, okay, what am I going to do here? It’s a big variety
of poses here. One of the things that I try—even before I get into that, let’s just think.
I’m looking at the one figure here. It’s just sort of an interesting thing going up.
I’m just going to do just a simple bather’s type of thing
as sort of an opportunity just to compose.
Again, one of the other poses here, sort of a simple play of opposites here. Coming across.
I can take and then if I’ve got that what would I want to do. It’s moving into the
picture. I might be more inclined—that’s actually sort of interesting there. We tend
to read pictures or paintings from left to right, so first thing I need to be thinking
is if I start something I would take and maybe let’s try this first. If I’m looking at
that shape it’s a strong line that could take and lead into the painting. It’s a
little scrunched up now. I’m thinking maybe this would be a big figure here coming through.
I want to get all the way across. If I have this going here maybe on the opposite side—I’m
thinking of going back over on this space in here. I want to take and create an opposite
point of view here. I want to take and get the figure, a figure taking and going off
the other way. So it’s just the complement going across. Maybe this figure is farther
in space, going back. We have some depth. Let’s see what else we can take and think of.
This is sort of another one. The figure right down here in the corner. That could be a lead-in.
Let’s just play with some of these.
Figure going in. Going through. I’ll look at this
as a line moving in. I’ve got that line moving in, and that would feed into. That
could take, and then that next figure pulling across doing that. That’s sort of interesting.
That could be something to take and lead in, one thing leading into the next.
We have a back, a front.
We can play and do this. We have a bunch of bathers here coming through.
That’s sort of—I have a potential here. Now, as I go back into this thing, let’s take and think.
We’re taking and feeling this moving into this. Let’s take and think of the frame here.
Now, I’ve got this figure coming down. I might just crop that. Coming through. I’ve
got this coming in. We start to play with another figure going through.
I’m looking at this figure here.
So now what I’m doing is I’m trying to feel the lines coming across. Sort of awkward
spacing. Too much the same distances apart. That’s a basic no-no.
Let’s try it again here. Let’s take and start out more with…
Now, I’ve got this figure moving in and really pretty, pretty… In other words, what
I want to try and do is get the viewer, get the composition moving all the way to the
left so that I can pull through. I want to encompass the whole canvas as I’m doing
so this one is going through. I can take the figure, the front of the figure that we started
with. I can take and just pull this. We’ve got these figures now. That’s sort of interesting.
I’ll drop that arm though. Coming through and having her looking back and maybe I was
thinking of having that arm but making the arm going up still. Coming through. Then I
start to work within the play of an opposite here. Coming through. This can be taking and
looking at play from here. Moving.
In other words, here is this better so you know I’m getting a progression going across.
This figure coming in. Fall through.
Moving. Then possibly going across. Now I’ll take
and—see those are too equal. I would take and move in, getting a progression. Something
is needed here and possibly another figure taking and lying.
Nothing on the page here particularly, but
that doesn’t mean anything. I can make up my own. As this stuff is going in then I can
have the figure leaning on its head here going back in space.
We’ve got then the figures back inside here.
Okay, let’s start bringing this up a little bit in size now. Still a very rough idea here.
Still using this figure, and I’m going to pull movement going this way. Pulling and
playing as we go opposites here. If that figure is going in and then take and have this figure
coming out. Across. Coming back.
I’m sitting here looking at things and summoning an idea here.
There is the figure. Got one. That’s too much in the center. These are too equal.
Maybe this is going to be way up. Let’s try something up in here. I can create a…see
this is a shelf here. Maybe this figure is in the water. Since we have bathers I can
play with anything I want in here. As I’m looking at this and I’m also, at this point
I’m thinking that creating a line going down that I’m starting to tie into here,
we can feel this as starting to carry with that character here. Start moving up. As I
work I work into the structure of the painting too. Structure is actually sort of a geometry
that comes into play. It takes and helps to collect all the loose ends. Like coming across
horizontally like that now. Coming through. We can let this figure actually go out the
leg like this. Horizontal. Now we’re pulling through and carrying the next figure going
up. The arm raised. Coming through.
Maybe that will throw that up, taking and..
I don’t know what she’s doing here. Maybe she’s holding something. We’ll worry about that later.
We come through. I like to see the idea of this going up. This figure is going in. Arm
is down. The vertical and bringing that into a vertical is a nice way of taking. Again,
I would start looking for something happening in here. I’m creating a belt of structure,
and I would even be thinking of taking and using a square coming through, and so maybe
this would take and pulling into here.
So now from that a pull.
Yes, I like the idea of a straight line playing right up against
that straight. Except now we’ve got two back views here. I don’t want that. Here
I’ll just take and pull this up.
At this point I will just take and...
this is coming out at us. Now I’m inventing my own figures here to go along with this.
I’ve picked up this. I’ve got that. So at this point I am no longer using this. Getting starting
into the composition here a little bit. Let’s see. Vertical. Maybe bringing the arm across.
She’s leaning in. Going through. Maybe somehow involve this figure here. Going across.
Creating a really strong foreshortening down here. Coming through.
Let’s see where we go with this.
Now, as I’m doing this there is no guarantee that this will
actually take and be viable. I’m just thinking through.
So the poses that I’m looking at are the jumping off point.
Now, as I’m drawing this scale-wise I cut down a little bit. And this leading into here. To this.
Now, this arm coming down. I like that straight and it’s coming down. That can be useful. I can even
take and have this leg working down to this point. I’m trying to knit everything together.
Then playing vertical against the strong curve. We have the horizontal here. We have the leg
going right back in. Then we start to pick up. So here, as I lift this leg up I see that
this leg here can be coming down, paralleling this. This is looking this way. This is looking
that way. I start to think, okay, that elbow is going up. Maybe like bathers, maybe she’s
taking and using a towel and taking and drying herself. That creates a vertical line. Come
through. Now, this figure is back. That’s nice. I like that. Timing for that.
It’s coming through.
Now, as I’m building down this way I can see that this sort of parallel line is starting
to build up. I got this leg going this way. I can bend this figure going slightly behind,
and we can feel the leg going in this direction. Maybe this figure is kind of ahead… Arm
holding up the head. Shoulder maybe coming across, maybe reaching for something here.
But I’m looking at that line that’s being created. Then we can take and make any verticals.
Doing this. We start to take and create a movement. Let’s take this other leg, and
say going back in in this direction. So that’s a pretty extreme foreshortening there. I’m
not sure how that will work out. But we can take and see that this—then I can take and
go to the figure and back in here. That is actually maybe taking and leaning in the opposite
direction. I’m playing with the opposites here. This will be in space. Coming through.
We’ll have to build.
Now, like over here, like I said, this is a beach scene or something. So this figure
could be in the water. This could actually be an edge where we… Actually pulling all
the way down through here. This figure now taking and coming up. Even stretching. I have
to figure out what that pose is going to be. Coming through. So then if that’s…we’ve
got this movement coming across, building up. Now maybe like in here I can use a landscape.
Have the trees coming across. This lake, I would drop the horizon line down into here.
Coming through. I’m building. This can be water still down here. This figure can be
actually a little bit larger and in the water. Let’s go back to my pen where we can define
this back here a little bit. This figure we’re taking and…through.
The arm raises up. Maybe again, just use the convenience of the towel taking and maybe,
taking and starting to wrap a towel around herself. Okay, so that’s a possibility.
We can go back to what I was dealing with before. This figure coming through. Now, see
this is the—essentially, I’m taking and drawing from imagination. I just got a suggestion
of some poses that might be useful. I don’t usually search through lots of drawings to
see a pose. A lot of times what I’ll do is I will do something and I will look at
it and say, I like that pose. Maybe I can use that and do something with that. And so
then I'll start to take and build around that pose.
Here it starts coming in. Got that vertical hand coming down. The whole point of that.
I like the vertical. It’s sort of a point that I can play then, like a vertical line
going in contrast to that. Coming through. The next figure now is taking and—now you
can say we started out, and now I’ve turned this into this figure. This figure is going up.
So all of this stuff now I—I may have started out with some ideas of the figures,
the jumping off point. But by this time they have pretty much changed. Coming through.
Here is say, well, okay again. It’s a towel. But maybe the towel is actually taking and
it could be the feet going out this way. We’re blowing the towel. Blowing in the wind. That’s
a nice line. I like that. I would drop the horizon line down even lower. Come through.
The next figure now is taking and going along with this, taking and we’re pulling down
through in here. So now I’m thinking this figure is going in. This is coming out and
maybe sort of engaging this one down here. Let me look at the lines. This goes in.
Okay, I’ll pull. I don’t want that knee coming straight out at us, so I’m going
to take the other leg, and I can take and pull this up.
Okay, so now that can take and be coming across. We’re going over to here, or we’re coming
out slightly towards us. And we’re learning out towards this a little bit more. Really
playing of opposites here now. Come down. Maybe this one is actually maybe reading a book.
How’s that? Taking and coming through.
Today we’re building up. These are really playing opposite. This one is taking and towel
blowing in the wind and drop the horizon line down. Okay, so now this figure, the other
leg here, let’s think what’s going on here. Maybe the leg is crossed. This is going
underneath. Coming through. Then we’re pulling down. The head distances are awkward here.
That’s too much in the same in the center. So now I need to take and be thinking this
has got to move at least over into here. I’m constantly adjusting.
Now I’m going to take and pull this figure around this way. Going behind that. I don’t
even see the leg now. Stick with the hand holding the head up. I like that lying down.
Maybe this one is taking and doing something…
contemporary, having her checking her email or something. Anyway,
the lines are now coming through. I can create a rhythm. I can start building out coming
to this point. Building off of that. Any overlapping. Got a clear contrast in here with this.
Now, as I move through here, I would take and put some drapery down, which becomes a
useful line, taking and going back up. And I would be pulling that off over my horizon
line. Okay, so this may be added folds coming through. Horizon line. Eye level maybe. Lower
me down. Going to have to take and juggle that a little bit. I want this figure in the
water coming through. Maybe this is the horizon line. Maybe that is just the edge of something.
Maybe the horizon line is still out here. We’ve got water. Reach, building up. This
building up to here. Maybe we have some trees in here. Now we’re starting to take and
move the eye out this way. And it’ll carry this one all the way over.
Or, as I was thinking, maybe this is the point where I should take and—that’s a bit more
compact. Alright, maybe I’ll work with that.
through. I still leave the frame fairly flexible. Rough idea looks like maybe 30 x 40.
Now, come through. Each time I do this—of course, I could easily take and square off the small
one that I did. In doing that, it starts becoming mechanical. I want the experience of actually
doing the drawing as a way of helping me to develop the composition. A good example here
right now: As I was drawing this line here, I’m putting up the leg. That wasn’t in his.
So now I can see the good line I can use to take and compose. Now the figure is
taking and going in. As it’s going in maybe dropping a bit more, hair of the other figure.
I’m picking up the line. I want that vertical, have that arm coming down. I may need to adjust
this. We’ve got this coming down, going in. Through the next figure. Notice I lead
the eye and want the eye to be carried with these forms. I keep doing this in a way where
I’m leaving more space up here. I’m not sure if I really want that.
Pull the arm up above that head. Lifting up. Heading up in this direction. Down. Coming
through. Each time I go through the drawing I’m taking and picking up. Using the idea
of the drapery in here, I can use the drapery picking up this line. Coming through. Down
to now. Coming across. The next figure is pulling. Pull it fairly tight from here. This
is a typical line that you see. Everybody from Caravaggio to Rubens. The Michelangelo
of the plane. You notice the vertical plane, playing a curve against that vertical, and
another curve against that. We’re really even playing curves against curves.
In doing that, I’m basically saying I like that. I like that kind of a play. So the composition
is taking—now here we can feel these lines. We’re picking up the lines that I’ve got
here, and I’m trying to think of where is this going to go. Where is this when we’re
building—what’s that point here? Maybe this is where my frame should be. Or maybe
in here. I don’t like to take things straight into the corner. This leg is going in, but
I think it’s coming across horizontal. So then take this, the other leg. Coming out.
But again we’re taking and building. Looking to where this is building.
So you can see, each time that I draw the thing I’m taking and getting a little bit
more into what am I dealing with. I can see this parallel line. We’re repeating and
coming across. The figure, we see her reading. Here I can take and use, for instance, the
hair. If I can use the vertical, the hair coming down becomes a vertical that I can
take and use. And we’ve got the shape here, and the arm behind. Again, building up through.
It’s coming down.
Even though this is sort of a realistic group of figures, you can see that my approach to
it is highly abstract in terms of how I’m taking and thinking about the forms and the
arrangement. So now I come through here. I see the next figure now is taking and playing
all in here this way. Take the pelvis coming across. I start seeing the alignments that
I can take and use. It’s coming forward. Shoulder up. Here is where the straight to
the horizontal. Back here it would help to close these forms. So you’re taking and
coming forward with this, taking the elbow and dropping down. So now you look at this
as another element here. What I’m having is very definitely, this is a rising up. We’re
getting a dropping down. I like that. It’s how we’re playing a series of opposites.
I can take and carry this all the way down, say with the drapery running out of the frame here.
We have the pull.
The drapery can take, of course, all kinds of configurations. Coming through. So maybe
now I’m looking at these figures. I don’t need to take and have somebody standing in
the water. I can take and just have a vertical figure here. Now we can see—not sure quite
what I’m going to have this figure doing. These figures are leaning here. I would probably
make this figure just looking back, leaning off out here. Maybe stretching. Arms going
back. Coming through. Now, this is something that I don’t—it’s not part of the poses
that I’m starting with. I’m starting to feel—I would take and do something like
that. I’ve got the beach. The horizon. I’m taking and rising, dropping, and rising back
up all at the same time here. I think I’ll forget the trees and all that stuff in the
background. I like just the simplicity of all these elements playing against each other.
This becomes now a point that I can take and start to work with.
Carrying this all the way up.
Let’s take and draw this a little bit more with a black here so I can start to see a
little bit more clearly what I’ve got. Again, this is still very preliminary. Coming through.
Now, how I treat the light and dark pattern, that becomes another element in the process
that I can take and work on. I’m trying to feel how that comes across. Through. Picking
up the line. Arm coming down. Figure is going in. I’m going to take and turn this a bit.
Build into the next figure.
Okay, the hair then can become an element, the ponytail type thing. That can be used.
Take and working out the frame here. This should line up pretty
much with this head over here. Basically, the eyes are the center of the head. Taking
a vertical of the hair. Through. This vertical. Going up. The idea of the beach towel type
of thing is just a convenient device that allows for a lot of lines. In other words,
I can take and create the towel doing this while at the same time I can take and be—this
can be the vertical creating a point here. We’ll tie that in. Okay, take that back.
What am I running into? Well, maybe I would carry this down to the idea of the horizon.
Now, pull. I’m constantly taking and just—now I’m really playing the lines.
Designing one line against another.
Once again, they’re going to be leaning over a little bit more.
take a look at Puvis de Chavannes. This would be we might say almost influenced by
Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Now, I like that line now. All of this stuff starts to—maybe I
do something with that. Coming through. I’m thinking of this pulling down. I think that
if I have the heading for this point… Coming down. At each point.
Now I’m looking at the break into thirds. That’s not bad. It’s not obvious shapes. You can’t obviously
see it but it gives a sense of order. I’m going to take and have this figure looking
up at the other figure. Coming in. The leg would be going back across. We can then use
beach towels. Going through where this would take and pick up. I don’t know about that.
I can even play with the shape of the beach here. Coming through. It doesn’t have to
be perfectly horizontal. This can take and have some lines to it. The horizon line is
still coming through. So I’m getting a dropping, and then I can take and try to probably—this
dropped down. Then when we’re going up. Then I would actually create something down
here. Then I start to work with the vertical in here. Through.
At this point I need to take and—I’m thinking what am I going to do with the light and dark pattern.
This becomes a parallel.
That leg becomes a parallel to take and work with all these lines that I’ve got going
on the other side. Picking up some of this, and I would take this arm in here. You can
see now the metamorphosis from where is started. I totally abandoned this. I have none of those
figures. None of this. Not this figure. And I’m slowly adjusting and changing. You can
see the composition is now evolving into a fairly straightforward classical theme, although
I had no idea what I was going to do with this.
I’m looking at this. Her hand up over her hand. This becomes a line now. This would
start to take and pull into here. We got the vertical going up into that. It’s now take
and pull through. Tying all the pieces together. Start to come through. Now I’ll take and
start to draw this in a larger scale.
I want to take and blow this up. I want to get a rough idea of the proportions here.
This is like 7 inches by 4-1/2 inches; it’s almost 3 to 4. That’s what I saying. Let’s
just take…I’m going to take…4. I might take and use 7 here. This is a way of building
this up. Now let’s see, what does that come out to?
If I take… If I made that from 4 to 7…actually, what I’ll do is I’ll take and do is I’ll
create a line here. This is the simplest way to do this. Take and create a line. Now I’m
going to take… Instead of… I don’t have a triangle right here. I’ll use a piece
of paper as a right angle. Sort of a lopsided line. I want to square this off a bit.
Let’s just move this over.
Okay, now, I’m just going to measure this as 4, and this was…
Basically I’ll just go with a 7. So these are reasonable things. So we’ve got 4.
Then I’ll go across out here to 7.
Now, what I want to do is I want to make this a right angle here.
I’ll come down. I’ll make this just enough to—I want to get a point here. Come across. That was 4.
Where do I want my other line? Well, right about here. So I need to come back. Oops, using
the wrong line there. Sorry about that. Okay, this is going to be in…my cockeyed line
there to start with.
Okay, so now I’ll take this. And this will be a proportional enlargement. I’m going
to take and carry it out until I hit my line on the bottom.
This will be close enough.
From that I come back and…okay.
So there are my proportions.
So now, this is something I typically do. I don’t square it off. I take and I redraw
it so that I get a—like I’ve said before, I am constantly redrawing things as I’m
going through. Now, I can start looking at the distances here. I want to see where in
the frame, where that leg is going to be. I come through and I’m thinking with the
foot. Through. I’m not measuring off on here. I’m trying to—I’m redrawing the
whole thing. I want to get the feeling of how the thing is going to go. I’m taking
and working really the abstract lines now. Going through, over. Legs going in. Coming
back. Foot is playing into that. This is just a horizontal coming out. The next figure is
coming up. The arm going through. Hand going up. Drapery, we’ve got the hair going back.
The next figure, okay now, I can see…pull over the arm, going down. This is a vertical that
I’ve been playing against. This is building up. This is the point. Building up. I would
take and have a bit of the drapery. Thinking of this is going to be heading towards the
point up here. Now, coming across. The next figure is pretty pushing up against this.
I want to feel the distance. I want to feel the distance between this line and that. So
now I can pull it more. Really designing this now as I’m coming across. Pulling through.
Now, this version I would take and…if I go into the painting I will take and square
off for transfer because I’m taking enough care now in taking and doing this. I’m thinking
of this painting now. This drawing is a painting going to be built up to about that big.
So now we’re coming through.
I’ve got her taking and reading a book or something.
Mainly it’s a line.
I could take and it could be going this way. That becomes a line.
I can tilt it. Maybe I’ll have that also working with this.
Now, I’m going across that surface. Through.
Now, I may have to change my proportions here, which is fine. I want the, I’m more concerned
with how the forms fit into each other. If I have to change proportions of the canvas,
that’s okay. Through. Arm coming down. And it looks like I will. It’s coming in. Where the lines are.
Dropping behind. Okay, I’m just going to leave that alone for right now.
I may take and bring the drapery out here. The arm is coming back. That’s actually
not too bad. I feel comfortable with that. Maybe taking and maybe she has no drapery.
Maybe we just have the arms.
So as I draw the figure, the issue now is not is it anatomically correct. I expect it will be,
but more of composing the lines of the figure to take and show the composition
or work with the composition so can feel the lines.
I want the lines here now…carry through.
Maybe we get some of the belly showing in here. Would this still be…
shoulder, arm going down.
This may, I may need to try to get some more foreshortening in this figure.
We have to go in a little bit more, but I like that lifting. And so we’ll take and stick with what I’ve got here.
The leg going down. Coming through.
Over. Making this into a strong horizontal.
I take the foot now becomes part of the line that’s taking and coming through. Come through.
We’re taking and the whole flow of this now is going up, through the head is really turned.
Here the arm. Now, I could do something possibly with this other arm here. There is a plane.
Now, we’re taking this arm and coming across with this line here.
Okay, so now we’ve got, we’ve started building this into figure in the back here now.
We’ll take and come through.
Now we’re going over. Arm lifting up.
After I’ve gone through this drawing then I will square it off, and I’ll blow it up to a more—
I’ll take and do another drawing, where it’s really taking and refining it. But this is a stage now.
I’m going through.
Each step that I go through in the drawing is carrying it a little bit farther.
I still haven’t done anything about how I’m going to work with the light.
Right now we’re just talking about the main elements of how I’m dealing with the line. Through.
So this would be a type of careful shape and line that one would take and deal with if we were taking and say
working with a mural. You have to have very clear contours.
So this is more, if we were thinking Italian art, this is more Roman or Venetian. I mean Florentine and Roman
in that it’s a fresco concept. I’m taking now the drapery.
I’m trying to think of how this would be taking and maybe the drapery is blowing.
So I can take and make this shape anything I want to make.
Have it framed behind, picking up. I can see where I take this now. The curve.
Through. Now, the amount of time I’ve spent on this, if this works out, is not that long. Fairly short.
But we're not there yet.
The one on the left is going in.
You can see how this is pulling with—then maybe I would make this figure out here come out this way a bit more.
I’m coming across.
I’m trying to think about how I can carry these alignments so they would follow through a bit more.
The drapery would do that. Come through. Foot. This becomes a part of the line in here.
I would probably take and let’s see, take the drapery overlapping folds.
That element could take a considerable amount of time trying to figure out exactly how all of these parts are going to fit in.
Go back in.
I’m using the hair as a vertical.
I’m not sure if I want to do that book. There.
Maybe this becomes a convenient horizontal.
The leg and the other of this figure in the back.
I can see where this could take and overlap behind.
And we’ve got a line back in here. So all of these lines in here need some serious plane.
Figuring out how that arm is going to take and work.
Strong foreshortening here.
Coming almost to the frame. Here is a frame.
I’m just wondering if I hit that arm going back over there.
I don’t like that. It worked better coming down. Maybe arm going across this way.
Again, carrying the horizontal.
We can play with the towels, beach.
Here this can be a plate of glasses.
I can add things. When we you do that notice that the minute I added those this creates a line and a movement up.
And I’ve got it, tilting back through.
And we’re going around.
Okay, now we’re working…this becomes a really obvious plane.
We can take and pull the frame in here.
I like that. That’s almost a square, which I like to play with. Not quite,
but we can then have our—then we’re coming through.
Now, what is this taking and…on a painting,
if I’m working on a large painting, I will actually take and create a chalk line
and snap to that chalk line. Through. This pulls through.
This I’ll take and vary quite a bit.
Now I’m trying to tie up some loose ends here. I’m trying to think of where
different things would take and go. This can be wrinkles on a beach towel.
We have the actual horizontal of the sand coming through. Building.
If I want to take and see what kind of tonal arrangements I can start to make in this.
I’ll work on…we can start using some of the other ones here as a rough. Start thinking
that adding through.
Potential. Potential. Potential.
Towels can take and have shadows.
Create shadows from the figures.
That’s a potential. That’s a potential…coming around. Over.
I can also, if I start to work with this, the drapery, the beach towels, etc., can all
have local color. They can also have stripes. They can also have all kind so elements that
I can then take and incorporate. Some of that out. You’re not particular limited to things.
You can really start to play with the forms that you have.
Now, the next stage of the drawing is to take and square this off and transfer to a larger
format for a more work on it and carrying it and developing it further. So what I do
is just a very, very simple process here.
I’m using tracing paper. In other words, just simple, plain tracing paper. There are
many different brands at a regular art supply store. Very transparent. The tape I’m using
is just a standard masking tape. This is, again, something you can find at a hardware
store or art supply store. I’m just tearing off pieces here. Now, what I’m doing now
is just taking and I’m using a 2B graphite, which is sort of my workhorse of graphite.
The tracing paper that I have here is a little short, but it won’t really matter because
the part that it’s not reaching has nothing really going on there, so I’m not worrying.
You’ll see what I’m doing.
Also, I’m using a non-mathematical approach to doing this. Let me take and explain first.
So first let’s get our frame.
What I have is a center here. So what I want to do is
now I’m taking from here, I’m taking and I want to establish the center. So this is
roughly the 6-1/16 inches. So I’m just going to go up here and find a point here.
Now, with that I can take going through the center here. That’s about the extent of the measuring
that I’m going to have to take and deal with. Once I’ve got the measurements going
this way. I also have to find the halfway point through here. There is a another way.
I wouldn’t even actually have to measure that. In other words, if I just take a piece
of paper like I have here I can come through and say, okay, from this point to here this
will give me my halfway point on the side. I come through here.
Now you can see where it is unnecessary for me to take and do more in that area.
What I like about this particular process of doing it is the fact that it is mathematical.
It is just a question of just starting out with your rectangle and then progressively breaking
it down so everything is proportional. When I carry this into the next layer of doing
the drawing you’re going to see how this works. The same process will work.
At this point I don’t think what I’m doing is a necessity to take and carry
this part any further.
So what I’ve done, and I did this before just to get a sense of the proportions.
What size we’re going to take and work with.
What I did, taking this drawing here, this sheet here, you can see that I took and what I did is I drew from here…
I just took a diagonal from the corners here, and I carried it out to here.
That gives me a proportional breakdown.
I could have done it to here, or I could have done it out to here and gone through that way.
Any place I take and decide I want to take and move this.
All I have to do is take and move from that point on and from where I’m at here
and draw the right angle. I will take and have a direct proportion of what’s underneath.
I will take and whatever size I’m going to take and draw this at I will then square that off.
That will then give me the ability to essentially copy from one squared off
sheet to the next squared off sheet. I do it in sort of a rough way so that it allows
me to take and really start working on the drawing.
So now we need to go from here and start on a clean sheet and build that up.
Okay, now I’ve taken and what I’m doing now is I’m going to transfer this to a larger format.
Exact same proportion but just larger.
I’m going to use the same process that we’re taking and working with here.
First I establish it by taking a diagonal off the things I showed. Now from here, I’m taking and I’m, I measured
this out. This is 16 inches and half of it was 8 inches. This is sort of a jumping off point. I’m going to take and
go back and draw over all of this. What I’m doing now is just taking and—
now I’m going to take and just do a very, very simple diagonal here just to find the half.
At the same time I’ve created this halfway point here.
I’m going to take and establish again where the half is on here. First, it’s just a simple line.
Okay, I’m taking and I’m going to break this down. I have four units here, and I break each one of these in
half, and this will give me my breakdown of eight verticals.
As I was measuring as I marked on the previous one.
Okay, so I start measuring here.
Marking here one, two, three, four, five, six, and this would be seven and eight up here.
I get a little bit more refined over in the corner here,
so I actually break one of the larger ones down to a finer point.
Okay, I think we’ve pretty much established where pretty much everything is.
Now is where I’m going to take and go back in and start to redraw the whole process.
Now, as I’m doing this I’m going to take and be referencing. So I’m just going to have this sitting
over here for a second. I’m just going to work on the first part just putting it down.
This is literally just to get the position. What I will do as I go through this, I can see there is another line here.
As I come through I look to see where things are, and I will—once I get it up to size then I will take and start to
redraw. So I’m just drawing right over this now literally just to get the position.
Just to get to where the forms are.
Once I get started then I will basically ignore all the lines underneath.
What happens when you’re drawing, the lines underneath that you put, using graphite for instance,
you will find that these lines will tend to disappear. I will take and build it up.
Of course, I could have taken and drawn many, many more rectangles in there. But again, as I’ve said,
I’m not going to copy this that literally. I’m going to come back in and start redrawing it.
I use the opportunity of redrawing things as a means of helping to just refine the lines as I’m doing it.
This part is sheer labor at this point.
Just trying to get a placement of where my drawing is at.
I can see I need to add a few verticals in here, which I didn’t have. And a few more horizontals.
what I will be doing is going back and refining the drawing again. As I work I’ll work one
from side to the other. There are several things that likely I will do. One is as I’m
doing this, as I’m pulling up these lines. I may come down and rub this down so that
I end up with more of a tone, and at the same time the graphite lines will start to disappear.
So as I start with this then let’s just get a sense now. I’m going back in, and
I’m really redrawing the whole thing, but it’s taking and pull…oh by the way, what
I’m redoing this with, with everything I’ve been doing in drawing was the
Polychromos Faber-Castell Royal Sanguine.
I’m going to paying particular care to how the parts work one up against the other.
Think when you blow things up in size they change. Proportions will tend to look different. The
spacing in between. I remember one of my professors suggested to take and learn how to take and
compose something is to do some large pictures, and the reason for doing the large pictures
is that a small—you can make any small picture work, when everybody is seeing the total.
When you start going up in scale you have to work much harder to take and make everything
work more clearly so that you’re really making the eye move from one point to the
next. So this really becomes the job. This is where they refer mural painting and design
is using the long line.
And so often when you’re taking and composing you’ll find that people will take and refer
to the long line. And that’s what’s you’re dealing with—the long lines that carry the
eye through the composition. So now I can see that I’m going to make this much more
curved coming through here. Coming down. Thinking okay, now, everything now as I’m doing this
really becomes more critical. All the little nuances in the drawing then start to become
more important. Still very, very simple. Look at my lectures on spherical forms. You’ll
find that so much of this is simple spherical forms. Also, the design aspect of that is
simple playing straights against curves.
Now I’m just trying to get a little more subtlety into the forms themselves. I’m
going to come back in and render these forms then so that it’s going to start getting
closer and closer as I develop the drawings to the original.
Okay now, as I go back into this—and it’s always you’re trying to feel the flow now.
Go back here a bit. I’m taking and seeing that. Actually, I really wanted this going
in so I sort of got led astray a little bit here. I want this leg going in a bit more.
Yeah, if I need to get the feeling this is going in a bit more,
and I’m hitting more point here.
Right here you can see I’m taking and picking up that back line of figure behind. I’m
just going to just barely go behind the shoulder here then start pulling this up. Going through.
Thinking of the rib cage underneath. Feel the scapula pushing out. But I’m more concerned
with the line and how it goes. Now, I’m going to carry these two figures fairly far
and then come back in and see how I will work it. Right now for me it’s a critical point
to see how this stuff is going to look. The other figure behind, picking up this line.
Feel the line and even taking the hair, how the hair is pulling back.
Make that line really follow through now
I really like that. Pull through.
So you’re getting my dialogue with myself here.
Elements of I like the way the design of that pulls through.
Then we have this gal’s arm coming down that strong vertical, and I’ll pick that up into the
drapery up into here. Pull this across.
We start to pull. Feel this volume coming down. I originally had a drapery coming down
here as the part of the vertical. I may keep that. I’m not sure. I’m using this really
strong, straight, coming through. Drapery coming from behind this figure that could
take and be pulling off of this line now. So the drapery could be coming across. Now
what you’re seeing is really the advantage of taking and redoing things even though the
scale is not that much bigger. The process of taking and developing it now is a little
bit larger. I can see lines now. I can come through. I’m thinking of this.
What I was doing there was I was going through a progression, carrying the fold in. The distance
of this to that, to that, getting smaller and then trying to see a little variation
in how it’s done. This can even be brought and come through the fold here. Here it would
be dropping a little bit farther. Maybe this could even be a vertical. I’ll leave that
for later consideration.
What I’m going to do this time, I’m going to take and I’m going to use the stump on
this. I want to see if I can work this out. I want to see these particular figures a little
bit further, so I’m going to take and rub this down.
to pick out lights. And I can go back into this, and I can rub it down. I want to start
to really feel. I want the two-dimensional line. While at the same time, I want the sort
of reality of the forms. I want them to show anatomy of the drawing, but I also want the
2D design to be really strong as I pull over these surfaces.
Now, what will probably evolve or should evolve out this also is the kind of light that I
actually want to take and show. Through. Refining. Once I have taken and carried the drawing
out as far as I want at this level, then I will take and do a painted rough this size.
From that then I will take and do a painted version of a section, maybe this section here,
up to full scale of what I would like to eventually someday do the painting. Here you can see
the way this line pulls in, and then I’m going to take that and pull it into the line
of the foot. Through. Pulling this in, make this even stronger.
Keep working over the form.
And actually this could be the other arm of the figure. Pulling down.
I want to carry this line through. Well, we’ll leave that decision until later. As
I work on the drawing, new possibilities continue to arise. As you’re doing the work you add
in here, even thinking of maybe pulling the hair over partially going over the other side
so that I get another line that’s taking and coming across. Through.
I’m taking the tail of the drapery, and it’s all being pulled together in my
imagination here. So that will require a study of the detail of how that is going to go.
Everything takes and has to work into the basic flow of the composition.
Design wise, you look at—these are too repetitive. Too much the same size. Here’s where I can
take and add a different play,
or the beginning of one anyway.
This distance is here to here.
That’s not good. I have to break this up. Maybe create lines in here that are going
to go in maybe like a surf. Something in here.
The lines here would tend to go with that.
Now, this next figure is really sort of a critical transition here. Pull.
The arm behind.
This is essentially a strong vertical.
Feel the pull of one thing. I’m trying to see
if I can feed that line. Here we go. Now I’m seeing this pulling up. I’m going to take
and pull this out. We can go back up and feel the drapery.
We’re getting the movements. Pulling through.
I’m going to try to pull this hair here on a straight horizontal.
Then we’ve got the hair coming down. This becomes a strong vertical.
So what I’m getting now is really a square.
And I’ll see how I can work that in.
People ask, why are you doing that?
Now, I like the play between the spherical forms, the idea of the rectangles. It’s just a
sense of order that you play against. It’s like the difference between a Bach fugue and
a Debussy. This is a different form of visual experience, the kind of organization that
I’m trying to create. It’s creates a different feel.
And it’s a weaving together of all of these parts.
far here now.
Take this stump and rub this down here so we get these elements.
Notice what happens when doing this. You can do this with just a regular drawing in a drawing class.
You’re rubbing it down it gives it a more developed look. It brings the tones together.
And you’re also going to end up having a tone that you can take and work with an eraser
to pull out the lights. You’re working on white paper without, you’re not using any
kind of toned paper so it works just as well.
I believe I have some demonstrations showing how to do that.
Really thinking of the hip.
Now the trick with this is going to be to get the action
and maintain the strong two-dimensional quality to the drawing, to the painting and still
have a fairly natural feel to it. Part of the—in the sense of the Holy Grail of painting
and drawing is to have a well composed drawing, have a strong two-dimensional sense to it,
and at the same time, take and hold on to 3D with sort of a naturalism to it.
So this is going to be a trick. I’m taking and giving myself a good problem.
That’s where the fun comes in.
Now remember, this whole series now started from just a few quick one and two
minute sketches. I started working with those sketches, suggesting possible composition
opportunities to making a painting. Now, those sketches are evolving into a totally unique
arrangement of forms, and the actual, what’s left of the original sketch, the artifacts
of it are probably just this one figure.
I’m taking the hair here and looking to see what
I can do with the shape of this. Coming down, going over the shoulder. Maybe even having
the hair coming down in front.
I’m trying to think of which way that hand would go best—this
way or… I’m going to leave it that way for the moment.
Let’s switch over to the other figure up here. Let me visualize this figure as taking
and turning its head. Looking away, looking up.
Also, what this is demonstrating is the
way artists in the past, as you can see, taking and developing the work without the model.
In general, that’s one of the hallmarks of my teaching is to be able to, is taking
and teaching the ability to take and draw without a model to create works without having
the need for a model to start with. Now, if at some point in doing this, I felt that there
was a need that I had to have a model, I would get a model. So I’m not averse to taking
and having reference material. I only get it if I need it because there is a natural
tendency to want to become a slave to your sources. I go out of my way to limit that
as much as possible and rely on my own resources. That way I can take and compose and design
without feeling any restrictions.
The actual exciting part about taking and doing a painting for me is what I’m doing
now—the act of composing and figuring it out. And so I’m going beyond just the painting
sometimes. You’ve already figured it all out and it just becomes a chore. That’s
not really true because I do, I really do actually enjoy the process of painting also,
but I enjoy the intellectual challenge of trying to take and figure the work out.
Right here, now you can see how just using the tone—and this is like—again,
one of the things that you can do with the sanguine Polychromos that you can’t do very
well with say a Prismacolor because they don’t smear. This does. You can take and move it
around. You can come back in. I can pick it up with a kneaded eraser, start getting lights
out of it. So it has a lot of advantages.
to get beyond just the fact that it’s a standing figure and pull in some of the basic
sense of rhythm that I’ve got going in the other part. So now she’s taking and leaning
towards us on the top, the pelvis is high on this side so I need to create a sense and
get the compression. She’s stepping down on one side. You can feel this pushing down.
I want to feel the fact that this is coming out, and I’ll add a little feel fullness
coming in. Now, this is…I’m going to start to push the flow. I’m feeling the rhythm.
Feel the pull.
This one is going to be, as often is the case, it’s what you consider a simple pose sometimes
becomes the hardest one. I need to sort of back off here for a second and look at how I want to
play with some of the basic structural elements here…this fairly low horizon going across.
Where some of these elements now, I started out with working with lots of alignments and
things, so now I’ve got this figure now and really pulling to this point. And here
we’ve got this building up. Got this building up, but we’re also taking and…this is
taking and working towards the center. And so I’m going to take and reinforce that
center a little bit. Maybe I’ll take and have the drapery in here, maybe some folds.
Maybe I need to take and pull back.
I’m thinking about how this figure is going to, maybe this arm is going to start heading
toward that. So I need to start thinking, is this what I want to do? Do I want that
center? Again, this is a general sense that’s heading for that. Through. I’ve got this
point here. We can start to see this leg, the sort of the center of this leg is heading—that’s
not the center anymore. We’re trying to pull, start to see where these lines are headed.
That’s a very strong point there. This is also giving us, we have a really strong point
in here. So now I’m taking and hitting that point and going, maybe these draperies need
to be going here and still have that.
I look at this, might be over—maybe we need to have that drapery coming from behind. Coming
through. And so now as I’m just drawing that line there what I’m creating is a whole
new sense of movement here. It does another thing for me. It creates an excuse for not
breaking this, not bringing horizontals. I’m breaking this line. I can let this drapery
take and be coming through. And so this is now, this is, I like that.
Notice now as you look at this you can see this whole unit here. Now, we have this as
very strong, but now this becomes a secondary thing now that is building and going that
way. This now is a part of that. So now you’re really seeing the evolution now of a composition
as I’m building through the way the shapes are expanding on this right now. That’s
fun. Okay, so now we’ve got this. We can start to play a little bit more, start thinking—I’ve
got that going. Maybe I would even take this hair coming back this way.
Okay now, this becomes a secondary movement. We’ve got this. We’ve got this pulling
through. It’s coming across. Now you can see why this is not just a copying of the
previous thing. We’re taking and expanding the whole idea. Think of the line of the breast
carrying through. That can carry through into the lake. We start to see now that this, I
can take and feel the pull carrying into…coming through. Pull.
This now becomes a whole new thing. Maybe I would take and change this. Moving in a
little bit more. Come through.
When I look at that I can take and carry this leg. Feeling
these lines now. Now, carrying in. This is really the mirrorless long line thing, which
I’ve talked about. This leg can even drop more. Now when I actually get into painting
you can see that this would go through even in another metamorphosis as the application
of paint. The physical way of taking and putting it down will take and affect the basic sense
of shape, form, light as you’re doing it. This becomes a process. You’ve probably
all heard about the idea of after a certain point the work is talking to you. That’s
what you’re seeing here is the drawing, the drawing is taking and going back and suggesting
or even demanding that I make certain considerations here.
So as I’m doing this, then, taking and saying, okay here, I’m thinking of the drapery coming
down, coming across. The drapery is pulled up. It’s not so square as what normally
happens as you go to the beach. It does take and get pushed around. As I’m pushing this
stuff around we can see. Now I can start to build it. I want to get some kind of relationship
going with parts—we can have some elements in here that can take and come into play.
Looking down. Through.
My first thought in terms of the whole area up here, which is to leave it alone. Maybe
I’ll take and add some clouds, something going off in a direction up there. I don’t
know. It may be best just to leave it alone, one solid sea of blue or blue-gray. I can
take and have elements of—in the background here we’ve got a sea. We can take and we
can have mountains, an island. We can see it now. You can see how those lines that I
put in, how that repeats. I’ve got going—again, I’m building up. Going through. The whole
new flow to the movement now. We’re building up. I have her, I hope. Too much towel stuff.
But she could have something coming down here.
I think I need to leave this alone for a little bit and think about some. I think it’s at
a point where I might have to look at it and give it some time to gel, which is the way
I normally work. I will take and start something and put it aside for a week, few days, maybe
a month, and let the idea sort of gel. I’ll get rid of some of this distraction in here.
variation on this background. Now, just a piece of tracing paper over the top. I want
to take and create a little bit more depth into the work. I’m starting on the left
hand side. We’ve got this thing moving in, coming in. Just it was bothering me. So I
think I’m going to try, this figure is leaning out towards this way. We’ve got the movement
going in here. I’m just going to pick up this movement and use maybe a tree form, I
don’t know. We’ll see how this…at this time if that’s going in then I would take
and be pushing elements going out at the same time, picking up the tones that come through
here. This is the typical way actually I take and work. I’m going to come around. Maybe
we can start thinking, coming through.
I think that can be much more interesting.
Start to pull.
Okay, I’m going to take and—that gives me an idea of where I’m going. I’m just
going to take and draw on the paper with the background of the figures.
This gives me a sense of where I can go.
Now, as I’m doing this I’m really trying to pick up the movements of the elements.
This figure is coming forward so I’m really going to be pushing stuff back in.
Now, as I’m doing this I’m thinking of where alignments that are
taking and carrying through. Still, this is a preliminary stage in the work.
This is very typical. You look at many, many paintings, Renaissance, you find that figures were added,
taken out, moved; backgrounds added, taken out. Whether you’re talking about a da Vinci,
even Michelangelo. Constantly adjusting and changing. That makes a much more of an interesting play.
Now, it gives me an opportunity to take and create other shapes and tones.
As I’m doing this start building up, going through.
Now, this is going to allow for a lot more tonal play within the figures because it creates
an atmosphere of trees, landscapes.
If I desire I can bring in all kinds of cast shadows although I could have anyway just
because the skies have clouds in them. You can make the light come from wherever you want.
It was a little bothersome—it was feeling flat to me. And so I wanted to create
a little bit more volume or depth within the work. Now I can start to play and build some
of this stuff up a bit. Also, one of the things that—as you’re working, you work on one
section then I’ll work on another section. You carry one up a little bit more developed,
and another. Then you come back and do something else a little more developed.
So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take and work on the right hand figure for
a while along with the background and carry these a bit further. What I’m doing is I’m
coming back in, just clarifying I’ll take and put a little bit more tone down, and then
I’ll probably stomp it down. I can come back in with a kneaded eraser and pick out
the lights. I want to feel the flow. Figure is really leaning. So I need to…also it’s
been a bit of time between sessions working on the drawing, which is always good because
that gives you a fresh eye when you come back to it.
Also, this is a pretty standard for me. I generally don’t work from models. I use
models only for demonstrating in a class. Other than that, as far as painting goes and
composing, it’s strictly from imagination. Changing the girl’s hair here to give me
some lines that hopefully will tend to go a little bit more with what I’m pushing
with the trees in the background. Now, I can take that line with the arm, and I’ll pick
up tones. So you can see it’s really the abstract element here now that the important
part is going over. I’m trying not to spend too much time with detail at the beginning.
It’s enough. It gets me moving on. Now, as this figure is leaning, I’m looking at
this whole thing, and I’m thinking I can work with the light maybe coming down. Working
with the tone underneath. Create a cast shadow. Come through.
This is—as I’ve think I’ve mentioned several times, that the one advantage of working
with this Polychromos pencil is that they, they’re able to, you’re able to take and
get tones out of them. It doesn’t break, and you can erase it. I’m thinking of the
light coming down, so maybe this would be more…through.
Notice that what I’m doing is I’m changing things. Even a slight proportion
of elements, and I’m doing it not for measurement, but by taking and just looking at the figure
and seeing how it, in a sense, how it reads. So I’m taking and adjusting it just the
same way I would evaluate somebody if I saw them walking down the street. If you didn’t
look at them, say, well, the leg is too long, too short. Something we constantly do. Thinking
of having her hand come up on top of the head.
Now I’m trying to weave and weave elements that I see and extending lines.
What I’m looking at here is that these side proportions were too much the same. So I need to either
get larger, and maybe I will because that will give me an opportunity to—I’m thinking
of this as really sort of an old tree now. It’s got a lot of irregularities to it.
That gives me lots of opportunities to take and build. One thing with nature is that it’s
incredibly inventive in that you can hardly do anything that is more extreme or having
more surprises than you can find in nature. It give me lots of room for taking and inventing
and creating lines that I can use.
Bringing in a twist into…now since I’m dealing with this I can take and start to
consider what the shapes of stuff in the background here now. All of this now, I’m taking and
creating a general movement that’s going up in that direction. If I start thinking
that maybe these are very, very ancient olive trees. I can take and start thinking of the
trees in the background here.
Okay, I’ve still got my sea here. And we’ve created, we still have a coastline out here.
Through. Now, as I’m dealing with that I can take and get all of this stuff
going through here. I’m just wondering if I need something going off in this direction.
I’m going to take and stump this down here and then come back at it again and see.
Even here start to create a little bit of tone.
I’m thinking that this tree in the
background will be treated a relatively flat tone.
Here we would start coming into drawing leaves.
Drawing this some more.
Now, what I’m doing here is the whole process. The next
step as I take and develop this…once I’ve gotten a drawing, composition overall that
I’m fairly comfortable with, then taking and doing individual figures, possibility
paintings, doing rough paintings of parts to see how the color is going to be handled
and the actual tonal qualities that will be developed.
Now, as I look at this, this arm seems rather skimpy. Again, constantly adjusting.
Titian, the famous Venetian artist, has one painting which I actually use in a lot of
my lectures. I was reading just the other night that that particular painting, it’s
what he kept near him. It was in his studio when he passed away. But he would keep going
back over it. We’re talking about the changes in time from over 10-15 years. It may be even
longer. He would constantly adjusting. There are paintings by either Renoir, one of his
classic pieces where he kept constantly working on the same piece for a period of I think
it was four or five years, one of this classical things, a piece that he considered his masterpiece.
The artist is constantly going back in and adjusting and reevaluating the works as you’re
doing them. In a way, it’s never done.
So now you can see there has been sort of a complete metamorphosis of this drawing so
far just by taking it and adding background. Now we’re creating a whole new sense of depth into the picture
besides shapes and light and dark patterns. Also, it gives me an awful lot more opportunities
now as you’re looking at the movement. This is taking and we’re really just pulling
right back. At the same time, I’m trying to create a counter so that we don’t just
cut off a corner. This is taking and building. We feel the build. Building up. All of this
has to do with the leg going down and start working to a point in here on the frame. So
I’ll probably adjust. Thinking about what maybe…okay, now this is taking and going through.
I keep adding little bits and pieces to break the irregularity of it. I want it
to have a natural irregular forms. Things that we would expect—or not expect, but
what we do see in nature.
A lot of what I’m doing here would be resolved in actually painting, but I try to have as
much direction as I can before I actually start to take and do the painting so I have
a pretty clear idea what it is I’m trying to accomplish. The painting itself takes on
a life of its own.
Originally, I had drapery going up here. Well, now I’m taking that idea of the drapery
and feeding that into what we’ve got going with the roots. These could be rocks.
They could be any number of things. Start building back out.
Okay, I’m going to take and shift over to the other side for a while now. I’m going
to take and stump all of this down, which I’ve actually done at least once before.
I’m just taking a little bit at a time here. The wrist is pulling the drapery
here and holding on to it. Some on the other side.
Just indicating a bit of detail now. I start to pull the figure.
I really pay a lot of attention to how one line works with the next.
Notice that one little line right there gives us the indication of the other breast,
and it also helps with the symmetry to help us see that she is actually turned.
Okay, I’m bringing a hip line around the shoulder of this figure. That line I’m going
to pick up with the other figures. The rib cage in here with the arm going past
and heading up in this direction.
Using the line of the drapery then pulling with…
I'm trying to feel the pull.
All of this is going to take and go heading.
maybe picking up a little bit of light on it. Then using the head tilting toward us.
Cast a little shadow and pushing all of this down in tone,
but it brings some light through, hitting the breast.
Now, I’m pushing this figure behind into tone.
That is giving me the opportunity to silhouette the figure in front into light.
And I take and use the drapery then, and I can start to think of that as having tones.
Now, as I look I can see that this leg feels way too long. I need to shorten.
It’s probably also too thick.
As I’m doing this it is a continuous evaluation, not only the structure but the shapes of lines,
where they’re going. For instance, now I need to have her resting on something because she’s not—
I’ve got her lifting up. This is not going to work with her just, her arm going down to the ground
and not make any sense. So I’ve got her sitting on something, and I can carry that line through.
And let’s see…
Now, obviously this is not going to be in the light here.
I’m drawing this. I need to go back in and look at just distances, size.
Okay now, the next figure right alongside…
If I drop this bit of drapery in tone behind.
I’ll come back in and pick up the light on this surface.
Here I was concerned about that she was not looking at her book or pad, whatever it’s going to be.
So I just did a little bit of adjustments in the eyes.
and where would this would be hitting the frame. So then I’m tying that point down
into this tree, hitting the same basic, the same spot up on the frame up here. Also, looking
at that is this is a parallel. This whole thing paralleling. So much of what I’ve
got going here. There is the same general sense. We’ve got this movement going that
way, playing of opposite constantly as I’m going through and following this up that all
of the elements now, there is some kind of rationale for where everything is at. Shapes.
Here I’m thinking of fairly straight lines now that I’m coming through. Really quite
round forms. I’ll probably drop this a little bit. So I can feel the distances in here a
little better. The movement of this feeds right into what we’ve got going in this
figure going back up and up. This is taking and pulling out, coming through. At the same
time I’m going back in. We’ve got our closest objects as we come into the picture
here. And we will be having the deepest space then. Basically, the horizon back behind.
So there is a nice, I like the contrast between this open size here, closed off size over
here, which I think was probably what was bothering me before.
In other words, one of the things that I discuss a lot in my class is the contrast from one
side of the picture to the other side. Over here this is really a mass, but we’ve blocked
off the depth over here. We’ve got the masses in the front and the depths behind, so it’s a different play.
Also, I’m creating a, without really focusing too much on perspective what you’re getting
is foreground object, the trees, the next index. So we’re progressively moving back
into the picture. That’s going to the left behind these figures that are coming out to the front.
Now, as I look at this some more, the troublesome area is right here. This is not
working very well. What I need to do is just knock this down and rethink how that figure is going to go.
I’m going to put a little piece of tracing paper over this to take and…
I'm not worried about the stuff up here being correct, I just want to think maybe...
I’m raising that leg up. Trying to find how I can work with some of the figures here.
Now, the minute I draw that line up I can see that this is going to carry through
a bit more now. That’ll carry through with what the tree is in the background back there.
I’ve got this, this.
If I’m twisting the figure this way, come through,
possibly have this figure now looking down this way also. Taking the arm coming back in here.
That’s a possibility.
Now, again, the pull. This, carrying the line and really twisting figure here.
Pulling this arm back. Again, working, heading for this point. This is not quite the center, which
is okay. I could have used the center. It’s just not working out that way. Push
the line a bit stronger. I can eliminate that because…through.
We have another reader here.
Okay, I like that. That looks like we’re headed
in the right direction now. Figure out what I’m going to do with that hand. Now we’re
pulling down. Come through this. I don’t need the drapery going up that way anymore.
In fact, I’ll take the drapery now. This will work to take and add down. This way I’m
taking—now, this is going to take and work with this. So we’re building off of that
point. And I can take the drapery actually all the way heading for this point, maybe
even carry it to there. I think that’s a much better solution.
Now we’re really evolving this composition. Pull through down.
The center figure, this almost feels too large. Might have to—well, the torsos are about
the same size. This one just might be small. Going back in. Let’s take and remove, or
I should say add, the light. Through.
Pulling all these lines, coming through.
and so I need to take and create a sort of secondary plane…going to be taking and working
with the vertical of this figure. I’m taking and building up lines in here now.
Okay, as you can see this—visually now you can start to feel this is working
more now. It’s what we’ve got going in here. We build…
I keep putting sort of random things to make it not quite so extreme so we get
a little bit of variety within that. That’s pretty extreme there. I need to soften this
a little bit, this tone. Now, I can also take and use the light on the tree. I’m thinking
this is a strong diagonal. Coming across. Building the tones still. Now, this whole
area here is pretty dead at the moment, so I need to take…the figure.
This figure is taking and going in. Pretty much having the whole, the figure in
all light here. I’m not sure if I want that or not. What I don’t want right there is
the tangency between the foot, the two feet. I need to resolve that. Okay, that’s better.
Let’s move it forward. It actually works better with all this other stuff we’ve got
going. Through. I’m still not sure. I wonder if this line needs to come down. There is
always some little thing that takes and—like a pebble in your shoe. It drives you crazy.
Okay, let’s see here. Actually, what if took that leg and came out this way? That
creates a strong line. If I turn it…maybe even try to show the underside of the foot
a little bit. Have to shorten it a little bit. So you can see now one problem creates
the solution for something else. It creates its own problems.
That feels like it is too wooden.
I want to take and give this one a little bit more shape.
Well, I’m going to have to leave that for right now and come back to that later. I need to let that one rest.
Meanwhile, we can take and think about the ground here is going to be.
I’m taking this and just enlarging this figure slightly.
If I look at it, it feels in comparison, particularly to this figure, we’re on the same ground.
Feeling a little small. This is a rather large figure right behind it. So pushing the scale a little bit more.
Notice it’s not a tremendous difference. I’m just taking,
slightly thicken the arm.
So this figure now is bigger.
What you’re witnessing is, of course, the birth pains of the creative process. You’re
constantly adjusting, changing, reevaluating everything as you’re doing it.
I’ll have to take and do some serious drawing. I’ll do this probably on the side of how the hands
and that book, how that’s all going to work.
Not necessarily looking and having a model,
but taking and using. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I’m dropping that so it’s
not quite the tangency with that knee. So I’m just going a little bit behind. I could
have multiple lines and maybe raise that.
The water has lines and picking up a landscape in the background.
So I’m building, building.
And I could even come through. We could have distant hills in the background. I don’t
know if I’m going to want that or not. Here I can have the Palisades dropping down.
Taking a quite a metamorphosis in a couple hours worth of working here.
You can say it’s a constant adjust, adjust, adjust.
It just occurred to me that I didn’t want to break this line so I can take and actually come in and use a diagonal
that I want to take, and then we can see that
this sort of maybe on a bank. Down below here a little bit we would have the surf and the
water so that this gives us an impression that we’re slightly up on an embankment.
That way I can maintain a fairly strong line here if we have the sense that this is an
embankment. Also, I’m taking and dropping down at the same time that I’m lifting up,
which is what I would want to do.
Much of what this is in composing your, and it’s
like taking and composing a piece of music or something. As you’re doing it you feel
things so there is a—as you can see I’ve been trying to be rather logical about a lot
of it, but also there is a tremendous amount of just intuition, creativity if you would call it.
I’m taking and constantly feeling like you’re really pushing this tone down.
Feeling the tone from the hair coming down a little bit.
All of this feeding into We’ve got going up.
I don’t know if I like that sort of rounded surface.
Giving this a sharper feel when we can take and use that sharpness.
In other words, coming through. I’m not sure what that line is going to take and work with.
I like that little bit of sharp.
It gives it a sense of the way air,
the way things flow in the wind.
I’m tempted to take and go back into this with ink.
I think first I’ll just let things settle for a little bit and then decide.
Cause I can take and go back with ink. I can then
go back over that with wash and start to clarify it. I don’t want to do that before I’m
actually feeling pretty reasonably comfortable with what I’ve got here.
That leg is still a problem. I need to…
I might have to do some independent drawing
outside the composition to take and just really feel and work through.
As much as I like that straight line, maybe it’s too much. Maybe I need to go back.
The way that leg has been drawn so many times it’s looking like animation here.
Maybe I don’t need to have the foot raised. Maybe just taking and…
since her hip is really up we can drop that foot. It can actually take and be flat.
Don’t have to have it raised then.
And it’s slightly turned.
Coming in a little lower.
what’s so nice about the Polychromos.
Still thinking this out.
Okay. Back to close to what I started with.
really giving me a bit of a pain here. Pretty much just the sense of the way the leg goes.
I’m going to take and feel the flow. This leg is coming down. Now, I think I’m just
going to take, I think I can just drop this leg. I think that’s about the cleanest and
simplest way of doing it. The leg coming off of the hip. That’s a little bit wider. Tone.
Pushing out. Through. Maybe not such a pot belly. Through. I think also I’m here to
get the sense of the shifting I can maybe show a little bit of the buttocks on the other
side. Definitely lower, and then we get this coming down. Through. It was really foolish
to continue going on before is solved this whole—this is an important figure here.
I need to get that working before I take and go back in dealing with the rest of it. Through.
I think that’ll work. Particularly you can start dropping the other buttocks there.
I think that helps too. I think that’s one of the things we were missing there a little
bit. Come through. Now we can feel this dropping. Coming in.
Sometimes the simplest is the best, and you’re trying to get a little too complicated.
Feel the pull. Actually, dropping that, actually just the line of the buttocks brings the figure
around so actually we’re getting the whole sense of the twist a lot better. I can reduce
some of this stuff, all the clutter here so I can see what I’m doing.
What I’m going to do while I’m working on this, I’m going to take and go over this
using some wash. This will be a very subtle play to start with. This is something I carry
around in my pocket all the time. This is an Altoid can turned into a sketch pad watercolor
set. The structure on the inside is from a sculpting clay that you can use to take and
bake it—children’s stuff even—you can bake it and put it in the oven. Then added
watercolor to it. Actually, this was made by one of my students. Oops, careful of what
colors I pick out here.
I’m going to actually make sort of a sepia brown so that this will blend a little bit
with the colors that I’ve got. I can take and make a little bit warmer tone. This is
the water brush, the water is just in the handle. I use this when I’m traveling. This
is pretty much what I use all the time. Now, that’s a little darker than I want to be
to start with, so let’s just take and…you can see this will blend in with the colors.
So first of all, I’m just going to use it as a line and start adding the tone.
I can get much more refinement working with a brush and a lot faster. Here I’ll even
take and put in, indicate some of the idea, what I’m going to do with the hair. You
can see the tone I’m putting in is just blending in with the color that we’ve got
going here. I generally will take, and this will then—is this again a step. Then maybe
I’ll be adjusting of this, so I’m starting to feel. Every time I go over I’m subtlety
adjusting the drawing as I go through.
Now, you can see the effect of working with the brush is giving a much more clear sense
of the form. Even though it’s very light, it has a way of solidifying. Okay, here is
where we were struggling. Get that going down. We’ll overlap. You’ll find that just putting
a line around the form tends to give it a more finished look. Okay, as I’m going through,
like I said, just the act of putting a line around something tends to clarify it, make
it a little more complete. I find for myself now I’m working with the brush it’s more,
it has a much more fluid quality to it.
Since I’m working with this figure here, I’m going to at the same time now start
putting some of this stuff in the background. Now, this is not necessarily the ultimate
value of things. It’s really just, again, a process. Probably will be coming back over
the figures, maybe dropping them in tone completely and then coming back in and painting over
them, with say a white to start modeling the form. Each step that I’m going through here
now brings it a little bit closer to the painting.
As I was working, I noticed that I—this is really a good opportunity to take in the
opposite here. I’ve got this. I’m going to pull this out toward me. I’m thinking
about the leaves coming out and then having the branch behind and going in the opposite
direction. Now, I probably will have to go back in with the pen to clarify all this.
But this is, I am thinking pull this out. A lot of the tree here that I’m drawing
is sort of artistic memory. In my many travels to Italy you see a lot of these very, very
ancient olive trees that take incredible shapes. Often if you look at things you wouldn’t
imagine that as you’re working they’re so extreme in the contortions and the shapes
and the things that take place. This is a lot of the quick terms and changes that I’m
adding in here. Chalk it up to artistic memory.
You notice I’m drawing, I’m doing this light enough where I can take and change
without any difficulty. Separating these planes takes and helps to…even as I’m doing very
simple patterns here. Going over. Now, this isn’t watercolor paper per se, but it is
allowing me to take and go through. And this water. I can basically get away with it because
I’m not covering large areas, so the paper is not really buckling that much. A little
bit but not enough to destroy the process here.
I tend to generally be pushing the limits of my materials.
Artists that you can look at that follow this similar track in working that I’m following here is the Italian Barocci.
I use him a lot in taking and lecturing. You can see what I was doing right there. I’m
taking and actually using sort of a cross-hatch with the watch, just putting a tone down without
making it a solid tone. The tone is sort of sneaking up on the whole thing. So I cross-hatch
with the brush the same way I do with the pen.
Now, the intention is to take this study that I’m doing and to carry it farther
into paint. My first inclination was to do it much larger, although at this point I might
take and work at this scale. It’s a little small for me, but we’ll see. That starts
to clarify the whole form a bit more. Through. Here again I’ll just cross-hatch with a
very subtle wash, pushing that form down. Picking up the lines of drapery coming through.
I have to also start to seriously consider colors, like what color am I going to make
that drapery. Is it going to be just a white or orange or what color? So at this point
I haven’t really decided. We have all kinds of drapery on the ground that can themselves
take on colors. I keep sort of stepping back to look at what I’m dealing with here. The
things that interest me are the way one line plays against the next. I think I’ve mentioned
that a number of times, but those are elements that I like the play. It’s like the design.
One of the differences that you find between artists, and we all have to take and deal
with how we deal with differences, what are the elements, and that’s often how you can
define one artist to another, is how they work with differences. I’m really quite
Although at this point, with my emphasis on composition and even working with the kind
of subjects, here just simple bathers. The bathers is not really, that’s not the subject.
The real subject is the composition. So we find that in actually just dealing with the
competition with what I’m doing that becomes in a way a rather radical contrast to the
way things are done. Also, taking and dealing with realism, and yet, as you can see this
is the, the subjects are “real” but the emphasis that I’m interested in is the abstract.
So in a sense it’s not real. It becomes a play in all of the different elements then
that you’re working with. It’s the combination of realistic elements but drawing from imagination,
taking and bringing a really quite formal element that in a sense is not natural.
Really, it’s like a friend of mine referred to painting as like a very elaborate chess
game. In a sense it’s the game, it’s the process that is really the interesting part.
As I look at this, I think I want to take and shift with a little media here. I’m
going to take and, what I’m going to do here is I’m to take and sharpen some of
this stuff up. I’m going to use a graphite pencil. This is a 4B. Now I’m starting to
pull…going over the surface. Now, what I want to do is I made this thing so dark in
here that the tree now gets pushed in the back. I want to take and pull this using the
graphite now, which is actually—graphite actually gives it a blue quality. Take and
bring that, bringing what I’m doing here into focus a little bit more. Get these farms.
Okay, I’m trying to see how to back in. As you can see, I’m definitely mixing media.
If necessary, I’ll come in and add the ink line. What I was trying to accomplish with
this is to bring this tree out into where it’s coming into the foreground here. I’m
taking and building, I want to start suggesting what’s going on. I want this to come out.
That’s the idea. This will become form in front, coming out, hitting the branch
behind going in the opposite direction. This goes back in. We will take and carry this
all the way up.
I’m thinking of the way the roots are going. I want to pull things out this way.
Maybe I need to go back in here to clarify it, push this a bit more.
They take it a little bit more sense of form to it.
I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with this book thing here.
I’m going to come into this with a pen. Need to clarify. Coming through.
This is the ink that I’m using.
If I take and add water to it, it will take and come out red or fairly close to the sanguine.
Okay, that’s starting to…
in between the pen and the brush for me to facilitate the clarity of the form.
As I go through, I'm able to clarify things.
Amongst all these pencil strokes that I’m doing, even here I still haven’t
resolved what that hand is actually doing and how it’s holding the book. I may just
as the politicians do, kick the can down the road a little bit. Come back to it. Now, we’ll
take that area. You’ll see the effect now when I come through. This is picking up the
ink, and this is bleeding and so I’m blending it in, using it as like a watercolor bit of the wash.
Now I may come back and put the tone over the whole thing and come back in
with white on top of this, which is another level, step.
What I’m doing is I’m going through the process. Each step I go through takes it closer
to the painting. That’s pretty harsh so chances are I will go back
and paint over that with the white.
That’s way too harsh for me. Let’s see if I can soften this.
I'll just be putting it slightly into tone. I can come back. Now I can see I will have to take and
come back in with the white, to take and start defining the form.
Okay, let’s take and move on a little bit. I’m going to come back and work into that.
Maybe this is a point that I should just let this sit and dry while we take and—
I'll take a short break here. Let that dry and then come back into that. We’ll see if want
to take and use that approach for taking and dealing with all of the other figures.
That tone I did sort of messed things up for me a little bit, so I’m going back in with
white to see if I can…and I’ll draw back into that. This is a Conté white.
Basically, it’s not taking on to the surface. You can see it’s coming out rather gray.
Okay, now I’m trying a little different white here. This is a more chalky white, and it seems
to be giving me a little bit more tone to adjust with, work with here.
I still think it’s going to have to take and come in with paint on top of it.
This is just—it may be white but with the tones I have underneath it’s coming off very gray.
Okay, now I have a situation here where I’m going to show you a little trick. That’s
not a trick. It’s something I used to do in the studios all the time. I could show
you can example by ___ in the late 1500s. I’m really unhappy with this figure here.
Rather than cutting it out and replacing it, what I’m doing is I took and traced an outline
of it and transferred it down to here. I know you can barely see it. Now this is just a
flap on here. What I’m going to do is now redraw. So as I’m coming through I’m redrawing,
redrawing that figure. At the same time I will redraw the other parts of the figure
as they go through here. As I’m doing this then it gives me an opportunity then, of course,
to adjust and to change. I’ll take and carry lines through that I see, and we can take
and build the whole thing. I can then, if I want I can take and cut this and paste it in.
So you see now as I’m doing this I’m trying to think of what the difficulties were
that I was having. Come through, around.
So this is a little bit of an instructive for when you run into problems. You don’t
just take and throw away what you’ve got. You take and work with. You can see barely
the lines here. I just took a piece of tracing paper. I traced what was underneath, and I
put on the back of it, just rubbed graphite. I could have used a commercial transfer paper
that you can buy at an art supply store, but this works fine. Then I took and put that
down, and I copied this onto the piece of paper. Part of this was not getting the twist
and also the color just irritated me. The way I was working with the color there, it
separated so much. This is the color that the painting is going to be, just aesthetically
for the drawing. Feel this figure. I was trying.
One of the things as I was doing the figure before was that I was feeling that it was
a bit small. So now I can come through, and it still feels a bit small. So I’m going
to come through. When I look at it and compare it to the other figures, building it up. Through.
I will go over this with a stump to get it into the same sense as the other figures.
I can probably cut this section off so that I can take and not have to redraw all of that.
Come through. Lifting this shoulder up. Scapula. That was part of the problem with the figure
underneath. This was coming out fairly flat. Now we’re taking and solving some of that
at the same time. One thing that I guess is instructive for those of you who are instructors
that take and look at this. I never shy away from having the students see mistakes or problems
as you’re encountering them. We all have difficulties. It’s important to show how
you work through them.
Like I say, I still don’t know what I’m going to do with that.
Okay, that gives me what I need to deal with in terms of the book.
It’s all going to take quite a change once you start to paint.
Now if I take the stump to this we’ll start getting back to the overall sense of the color that we’re working with
so there is not quite so much separation.
Okay, now I’m going to take and cut off a little of that paper there.
So you can see how this figure—the difference between this figure. This is far better.
I think I’ve got this gal working on her iPAD or her iPHONE.
This brings a little bit of contemporary sense into the scene. Still feel that this may be a bit small.
What I’m going there is trying to get this to go back while this comes out.
That’s going back.
All of this backing the play between the elements here.
Bringing underneath or through. Going back.
Now that we’ve taken and gone through the basic process. This is not the finish, by any means.
This is the process that continues on. So you can see the care and considerations that I take in making
something. Now, this is going to be carried on further, but this is the process that I go through. It takes time.
It takes considerations. It takes a whole series of understanding about composition.
So, take a look at the composition series to take and give you a further understanding of what I’m doing.
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