Archive for August, 2015

Cultivating the Sketching Habit (IV): Figure Studies & Loosening up

Not everybody has access to a subject for figure study. Figure study is one of those bedrock artistic practices you should always revisit. You simply are never too experienced. You’ll always need to keep the skill sharp –with practice.

I managed –somehow– to not only land a musical collaborator living with me. But also an experienced alternative and plus-size model. (Contact and other info: http://www.modelmayhem.com/325517). Of course I jumped at the chance when she agreed to a few poses for me to use in sketching. She’s always a lovely subject.

This morning I pulled up the photo files I had taken, and began sketching. (Common wisdom is that you shouldn’t draw from photos, I’ve always done so. I take a lot of photos with a couple cameras I own, so it keeps me in subject matter that interests me. I have had many people tell me it’s not the same, but photos from a good camera are convenient and can be available whenever you get the urge to practice).

The first sketch was in pencil. It feels less than perfect, but adequate…

The first image:

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Muse, figure study, pencil on paper

Muse’s pose (she was posed lying on the bed, gazing up at the camera) is really lovely, and there’s a lot of challenges in her poses –foreshortening the legs and abdomen. The harder part was capturing her really quizzical facial expression. I felt I pulled it off in this little sketch.

However, the next sketch I botched. I was starting to get frustrated and getting ready to put pencils down until another day. One thing that helps when a subject is challenging me for whatever reason is to loosen up.

I frequently warned my students about the dangers of becoming to tight and getting stuck just getting details right. When I find myself doing this I back off and do simpler line and gesture drawings. I don’t need to focus heavily on details, and turn my attention to proportion, gesture, and the pose. Get the pose right first, and do it over and over. So, that’s precisely what I did.

Some of the sketches were rather abstracted, others are slightly more detailed. All of them were done in a few minutes a piece, the way one would do in a 5 minute life drawing pose. There’s something I like in pretty much all of them.

Changing my focused work. I turned my attention to some problem areas, and worked them over and over:

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

working on problem areas, charcoal on paper

In the end, I made several more simplified sketches I was happy with. More sketches to come as I work on them.

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

figure study, Muse, charcoal on paper

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Muse, figure studies, charcoal on paper.

It took a while to loosen up my sketching until I was seeing results I was happy with, but it got there. So, snatching a small victory out of an earlier attitude that was pretty defeated.

[update, 9/13]

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female figure, study, upper body

I secured a commission with a client that has requested life drawing/portraiture, in charcoal on paper. So, pretty fortuitous I published this blog less than a month ago. Not to beat a dead horse, but when I spoke in the original post about bed-rock artistic practices, and keeping your skills sharp, I was very serious. The opportunity to do this commission came at a good time, as my teaching of the class is on hold at the moment.

The following images include both male and female figures, in charcoal on paper.

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

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female figure, charcoal on paper

At one point I focused on a a face (my partners).

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study, face.

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figure study, charcoal

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Male figure, charcoal on paper

Eleven Images: Featured Pieces of the Week

I decided to make a new feature for the art blog. Each week I will spot-light a different work that is for sale and not currently on exhibit. This summer and fall is shaping up to be pretty busy with exhibition. Also, with the Art on Eight show having come down, now, I am suddenly with a glut again of work back in my two-bedroom apartment. With that in mind, I will feature different pieces here each week. Some of these will be discounted from what I have asked when the works were on exhibit.

Currently, I am running sale on selected items. The small works (at this link: http://wp.me/p2c9SR-zF) are at their sale price ($20) with have off the second one if you buy 2.

Below are a selection of items on sale for the duration of the week.

Brand new, finished up over the weekend:

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Aphasia (blunt-force) oil and graphite on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $90

Some older featured works, –now at reduced prices for the duration of the sale. “Body at Rest” I love his little guy so much, and I’d like him to have a home.

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Body at Rest, oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″ $175

“Mother of Crows”

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“Mother of Crows” acrylic paint on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $70

“No One who Wanders is Truly Alone”

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No One who Wanders is Truly Alone, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″ $150

Also, “Uneasy Chair.”

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“Uneasy Chair” oil on canvas, 10″ x 10″ $95

 

Keep checking back as I’ll be featuring different recent pieces in this space. There’s a few more if you scroll downward that are also on sale.

 

 

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“Do Hearts Find Jagged Edges?” 16″ x 20,” oil on canvas, $125.

 

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“No Lover Isn’t a Noose in Time” oil on canvas, 12″ x 12″ $65

 

 

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“Lullaby for a Castaway” 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas $55

 

 

Please email inquiries or offers to eaton.robert@gmail.com (see the about section for details). As I said earlier, I have a whole lot of work that has recently come back to me. The following works were all included in The Art on Eight show. The show was put on by the New York State Office of Mental Health to spotlight the art work of artists who receive services through the Office of Mental Health. (Some of the previous show have been included in OMH’s Art on Eight Flickr gallery.

 

Several of the small works together that were recently in the show.

Several of the small works together that were recently in the show.

You can see more close up shots of the works as you scroll down (all these works are framed –you will probably wish to use another frame, it was a temporary solution for display purposes) These works are all $25, use the contact information in the about section of this blog: The following pieces are all approximately 8′ x 10″.

Fedralsburg, acrylic on cardboard

Fedralsburg, acrylic on cardboard [sold]

Study (Manet) The Old Musician, acrylic on Cardboard

Study (Manet) The Old Musician, acrylic on Cardboard

Figure Study, colored pencil on paper

Figure Study, colored pencil on paper

Trinity Church, acrylic on cardboard

Trinity Church, acrylic on cardboard

Young Mother and Child, acrylic on cardboard

Young Mother and Child, acrylic on cardboard

Dread locked Cow-girl, acrylic on cardboard

Dread locked Cow-girl, acrylic on cardboard

Figure Study, charcoal on paper.

Figure Study, charcoal on paper.