12 May 2016

The Making of "Patience" and "Intuition" - Twin Allegorical Illustrative Drawings

"Patience" and "Intuition"...

Concepts of value in the human psyche. Skills of perception and volition that are strengthened with time and self-discipline, or honed and refined with care, and experience.

*Scroll down for the content artist's statement

"Patience" and "Intuition", respectively, *custom framed, pre-show photo - May 2016

My notable colleague Evan Kitson curated this show called "Beyond the Surface: A Survey of Contemporary Drawing", bringing together the drawn work of artists from the East Coast metropolitan area.

I knew these two concepts that I had been long wanting to put to paper would be the ones I would contribute to the exhibition.

The concepts are near and dear to me, for philosophical and personal reasons. Once I had articulated the intention for each of the drawings for myself, I set to work visualizing the composition and working with a photographer friend to create the figure reference I needed, using myself and the choice model and friend for the other image.

Here's an idea:

Sample photo ref for "Patience" drapery...

 I tend to doodle out my initial composition thumbnails at true 'thumbnail' scale, about an inch or so large, in the "ideas" sketchbook I have... I get the thoughts down fast, scramble them about a bit in various iterations, then go to the best ones with full scale gusto.

And so begins the drawing - I'm not bashful about going all in, especially for a show:

I work with reference that I take myself, if I need it, and I work all by eye, I do not trace, I create my content drawing loosely, building up internal structure abstractly into cleaner, attentive, representational form.

It's easiest and most natural for me to find outer contour by the dictation of gestural and circular mass structure; in other words, the final outline of a figure, for example, becomes more accurate through first understanding the internal, underlying anatomy, as well as impression of character. Structure defines likeness.
Start from within, work your way out, and you won't have to erase so much, or get so lost along the way.

Working with your own likeness can sometimes be a bit weird, but you have to look at the process as another objective study, stepping away from personal preconceptions as much as possible and exploring what you know of yourself with your inherent insight, but leaving behind insecurities and grand projections of self-image.

I think artists naturally have more of a capacity for doing this, though, because our sort of permanent job description is to observe everything, and that means we have an inclination to try and look at ourselves more curiously than others might face themselves.
It's just a theory, but this is my experience.

I think if you're more willing to draw what you see, not what you think you see, the result will be more honest, and it will inspire more response in others.

Here, below, I am content to leave what I've sculpted out of my portrait for now, and continue developing the posture, the torso, the mass of the body, and it's lighting.

You can see down towards the pelvis and the abdominal section how I'm refining the circular structural shapes into a cohesive whole, and etching in rough sections of tone to then smooth out into a likeness of skin and shadow on skin.

That tricky hand holding the dirk, or dagger, will come later.

Below are the sweepingly loose circular structure shapes I've jotted down to get a sense of where the osprey bird will go, in relation to the figure. It's a rough impression of the inner 'wiring' of the bird's body, but that's all I need. I can refine from that, looking at my reference. And I can let little impressionistic moments from this stage linger in the final definition, to give it spontaneity and breathability.

Using an example of the process from "Patience" now, you can see the open and gestural swipes from my brush, which I used to add depth of tone and texture to the final drawing. This was a series of layers of fairly dry washes of watercolor.

I tend to geek out over simple moments, like taking the tape off the parameter of the final drawing, and seeing the stripes of natural white against tone and messy medium: #artnerd

The final art for "Patience", 7x9 1/2":

Artist's Statement:

     “Patience” is a personified illustration of the virtue and burden behind personal resolve. Calmly tenacious, centered within evergreen wisdom, there is a kindled strength to the seeming vulnerability of slow growth.

The final art for "Intuition", also 7x9 1/2":

Artist's Statement:

“Intuition” represents, in a parallel manner, the inner sage, that swift perception, a vital philosophy for free spirit and accomplishment.

     Together, the quiet volition integral to these indomitable realms partner the human icon with universal totems in their own symbolic environment.

"Intuition" has already been SOLD, through Red Raven Art Company:

"Patience" is still available for purchase, custom framed, original art:

*Fine Art Prints of "Patience" and "Intuition" are available through my website


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