Monthly Archives: March 2011

Drawing Development

Particular Portrait

This was a home project to develop my portrait drawing technique. FOr the last several months my drawing has either been relatively quick in the life drawing class or oriented to helping me get started for a painting. In particular I have tended to focus on the structure of the thing that I am looking at and where one plane turns into the next one. Whilst I find it very useful in developing a painting, it results in a very particular type of image. I wanted to go back and look at drawing where the drawing is the end product, more tonally oriented. You can see both types on this page.

The image is made up of a series of scribbles, built up in layers to form a tonal and structural pencil painting. The pencil is both creating one, but also the directions of the marks is saying something about the direction of the plane and more importantly the change in plane compared to the one next to it.

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Fiona’s Eyes

Triptych portrait

I wanted to paint a triptych portrait that would further my quest for greater presence of the subject.  To do that I looked at Fiona’s head from different points of view so that multiple angles and perspectives are explored.  I arranged the sizes so that they became more of a single piece and carried the eye over from one into the other and back again.  I used a direct view of the eye to establish a sense of strong contact, of mutual examination.

There is something slightly disturbing about the result, the sense of contact and examination is so strong that you feel as examined by the picture as you are examining it.  To that end I find it to be reasonably successful.  Fiona does have an intensity about her and she enjoys the picture and I think sees it as reflecting that part of her.

While the mark making and brush work is not as ‘painterly’ as in some of my other more recent work, it does stand on its own feet and is clear.  On close up examination it just about passes my test of being abstractly interesting in close up scale, all over the canvas.  I am left slightly unsure in my own mind of the trade off between the more painterly approach and the more tailored one.  Maybe there is some point that can accommodate and take the best from both?  Something to think about.

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Colour as Music

Madonna Transformation 3

After a series of interim studies based off The Aldobrandini Madonna I ultimately produced this. It is fair to say that the coincidence of our project with the Bridget Riley exhibition at the National Gallery influenced my direction. I took the core colours and geometric shapes in the picture, to form the basis of preliminary studies. I used the shapes and colours to build up repetitions and movement across the image, firmly based in the original but having a life and energy of its own.

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Analysis of Pictorial Structure

Madonna Transformation 2

Like many images from the era, The Aldobrandini Madonna, is firmly based in geometric structure. The central part of the image, The Madonna, Baby and Saint Catherine define an equilateral triangle, while Saint Catherine and the baby are contained in a pentagon, a favourite from the era. The ‘background’ of the images supports this core structure with 1) an inverted triangle balancing the main one, 2) an outside frame that holds it all 3) an extended diamond shape that relates John the Baptist and some shepherds to the main protagonists.

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