Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Beauty, Expressiveness and the Human Figure.

Michael Whynot. Figure Study. Red chalk.

The range of beauty and expressiveness possible within the attitude of the human figure never fails to leave me with a sense of wonder. The flesh is the veil through which we glimpse the soul.

Is it any wonder that the figure has been the focus of art since we first began to draw?

The drawing above began with a few quick gesture lines. I had a simple twist of the torso in mind when I set down with my drawing pad. I began to explore the figure on the paper, changing the gesture lines for the neck, arms and legs. The range of possibilities was nearly endless.

An hour later, I had this expressive figure on the page, the head lolling against the shoulder, knee thrusting forward, arms spread wide.

A person could spend a lifetime exploring all the possibilities of the figure and, I dare say, it would not be a life wasted.

Monday, 23 March 2015

The Classic Portrait with Robert Liberace.

I just finished watching Robert Liberace's newest DVD The Classic Portrait. Those of you following this blog, will know that I did a previous post on Rob Liberace, and that I think very highly of his work. His drawings show the strong influences of the classical trinity of draftsmen: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. And his painting is every bit as good as his draftsmanship.

That being said, I am most interested, this time around, in his teaching ability. Rob Liberace has the rare knack of actually being able to teach what he is doing. He has an articulate, easy-going conversational style of describing, at the same instant, exactly what he is painting(which must be no easy task). He manages to merge art history, anatomy and painting technique together seamlessly. He explains this technique and his purpose for every brush stroke, value and colour change.

I watched the entire four hours of instruction in one sitting and was totally immersed the entire time. Although it must be amazing to be able to study Mr. Liberace's techniques during a five day workshop, this DVD may be the next best thing to being there in person.

You can see more of Robert Liberace's work and purchase his DVD at The highest praise that I can give this DVD is that when I was finished watching it, I actually felt like I might be able, at some point in the future, to duplicate some of the magic Rob was creating. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what great teaching is all about?

The Advantage of Drawing from Imagination.

Michael Whynot. Leg study. Red chalk.

I am posting a leg study done this morning in red chalk. Once again, this was done from imagination. I have been away from drawing the live model for some time now, but I am finding that I still retain my basic understanding of the human form and how it is constructed. I will soon go back to the live model to make sure that I am not missing the many nuances that go hand in hand with changes in viewpoint, lighting and individual body shapes.

I believe this ability to draw from imagination is a necessity if an artist wants to move on from portraiture to multiple figure works, where having live models pose for the composition could be daunting. Drawing from imagination allows us the freedom to explore themes and poses before committing to live models to capture nuance.

The human form offers incredible possibilities in terms of its movement and multiple figures make these possibilities nearly infinite. Imagination allows us to explore these infinite variables of composition. In short, the ability to draw from imagination is the key to the creative process.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Snow Day Drawings

Michael Whynot. Red chalk gesture drawings.



We received a huge amount of snow here, last night and this morning; spring can't get here soon enough.

On the bright side, it gave me an hour to play around with some  rough gesture drawings, exploring different poses for the figure. This is where you can give your drawing free rein without the constraints of drawing directly from life. And it's a lot of fun.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Upon Closer Examination: Drawing and the Beauty in the Details.

Michael Whynot. Figure study. Red chalk.

Michael. Detail.

Michael Whynot. Head study. Red chalk.

Michael Whynot. Detail.

Michelangelo. Head of a Young Man  C. 1516.

Michelangelo. Detail.

There is something wondrous about drawing: this ability to illuminate the three dimensional world of forms upon a two dimensional medium - light where there is no light, shade where there is no shade, and form where there is no form. Simply amazing.

And, as beautiful as drawings are, we can often be so beguiled by the illusion of three dimensions where there are only two, that we fail to examine, closely, the actual marks themselves that created the illusion. And in so doing, I would argue that we miss the beauty inherent in the details themselves.

The lines of a drawing reveal themselves not merely as the edges of forms, but serve to describe form beautifully as they travel over the surface, creating patterns as they bunch up and spread out, flowing in one direction and then another.

If you truly wish to appreciate a good drawing, and draw better yourself, don't be content with studying the big picture; examine the details and you may come away with a better understanding of the drawing and the wondrous illusion it creates.