Thursday, November 5, 2009


The best paintings start out with a "correct" drawing and a great composition. Laura, who has never attempted painting a portrait before, has decided to challenge herself by doing all three of her children. Do-able, but she needs to know up front that this will take some time.
She sets out using a grid to establish the shape of the head of the first child and outlines the features of the face. Even after "thinking" that by using this technique that her drawing will be correct, she quickly learns that it is not when asked to review the "relationships" of the drawing - where does the corner of the eye align with edge of the nose and the corner of the mouth, where does the bottom of the ear align with the tip of the nose and the brow, what is the measurment of the distance from the top of the forehead to the bridge of the nose and how it relates to the distance from the bridge of the nose to the bottom of the chin.
Laura learned that although the grid is an excellent beginning tool, her drawing was not correct. She was given one more "general" rule of thumb that there are "three" eye spaces which did ring true for this child.
Overall, I find that many students are anxious to have a finished product without first spending the time on the fundamentals. The key word is to SLOW DOWN and allow yourself to really "see" the relationships.
I cannot wait to see where she is on her drawings at our next meeting.
Then, on to laying in her darks and introducing the complexity of skins tones...and there will be more discussion on compositional design elements of an art work on this blog...CRITICAL!!

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