Learn to Draw – Model in the Interior

Richard D - Copy

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Model in the Interior

In our second last life drawing class we were introduced to the notion of drawing the model in the interior and I had no idea what how complex the subject could be.

Drawing the model in the interior involves a dialogue between wildly different elements, sometimes in conflict or opposition with each other. Depictions of interiors can reveal a great deal about human life, social conditions, politics, history and the personality and mood of the artist.

To start with, the figure needs to be compatible with the interior; the two elements must go together.  The interior becomes somewhat of a “still life” with the figure adding specificity. The conflict results from the figure distorting the sense of interior environment of the drawing. The psychology is within the figure and in the field much less.

Secondly, the figure in an interior symbolizes a certain take on an individual in terms of his interior/exterior. The interior becomes a pictorial desire to gain light inside and another kind of light outside and therein lays the contrast, the interior and exterior lights are different.

There is an exception in the interiors of Matisse. His outdoors and indoors were consistent (except in the drawing) and sometimes his outdoors were more artificial and illuminated than the inside. His exteriors appeared to be a continuation of interior space.

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“Open Window Collioure” – Henri Matisse 1905

http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/highlights/highlight106384.html

In 1942 an interviewer asked Matisse, “Where does the charm of your open windows come from?” He replied:

“Probably from the fact that for me the space is one unity from the horizon right to the interior of my work room, and that the boat which is going past exists in the same space as the familiar objects around me; and the wall within the window does not recreate two different worlds.”  From a radio broadcast transcript made available by Pierre Schneider, J. D. Flam, Matisse on Art, Phaidon Press, Oxford, 1978.

My favourite drawings of the model in the interior (above) were done by American artist Richard Diebenkorn.

In a 1952 radio interview Diebenkorn stated, “There is a hierarchy of importance to the various elements, the chair less, the rug less, the hands, clothes more, the faces vary accordingly.” 

Here are some drawings I did in class.

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Model in the Interior

Can’t say I was overly pleased with them.  The teacher said the man on the top right was too skinny and the lady on the stool drawing needs to be cleaned up.  Oh well, back to the drawing board so to say!

A drawing and painting site by Edward A Burke is a great reference.

Courage – Daily Therapy

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“Making art is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”  Gene Fowler

Copying Great Masters as an Exercise – Edgar Degas Amrita Sher Gil, Pierre Bonnard

 

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Above is my copy of the Edgar Degas work titled “Combing the Hair” (La Coiffure), 1896 (top).  I really liked working with these different tones of orange and the contrast of the purple in the dress of the servant girl on the right really tied everything together.

 

Brides Toilet

 

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The next one copied was a painting by Amrita Sher Gil titled, “Bride’s Toilet” (top).  I love the abstracted figures, the composition and the colours used in this work. It has a mystical other worldly look that I found impossible to capture.

I had some difficulty with this work and in the end, went my own way and did not look at the original at all.  My copy does not have the mood of what seems to be a candle lit room as seen in the original.  Copying this work helped me to accept various aspects of my figures that were out of proportion.

 

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The third one copied was “Wild Flowers”, 1916 by Pierre Bonnard

The unusual shape of the vase, the use of blue and brown together and the red reflected in the background and flowers combine to make this a great painting.  The subject is simple yet it speaks of majesty and wonder.

My copy is on the right.  I used potato cuts for the flowers to get some random shapes and went over them in detail later.  For the stems I used string dipped in acrylic paint and pressed into the paper.

Copying great masters can be fun.  You can learn a lot by by imagining what the artist may have been seeing and feeling all those years ago.  These three copies were painted in acrylic on paper.

Courage – Daily Therapy

Greyhounds

“Let nature teach you the way of courage.  Animals, plants, wild and living things of every stripe and color know the art of taking chances.  Learn from them.”  Linus Mundy

Courage – Everyday Therapy

4.22 The Sun 41cm x 30cm

Are you courageous enough to believe life is safe?

Are you indeed courageous enough to believe flowing with the current of being is the simplest way to live?

Would you dare to believe resistance never really succeeds and trying to control the flow of life is impossible?

 

Courage – Daily Therapy

3.10 Frank 30cm x 27cm

Courage is not only given  to fierce warriors on battlefields.  Courage is a gift to you, seize it!  Accept that gift!

Using the gift of courage could be taking that first swimming lesson, learning a new language or making your first artwork.

Courage – Everyday Therapy

Fat Man

“Without uncertainty and the unknown, life is just the stale repetition of outworn memories.  You become the victim of the past, and your tormentor today is your self left over from yesterday,” Deepak Chopra

Can you practice trust by not needing to know what will pop up next?

Courage – Everyday Therapy

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“In everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:3 (King James Version)

Quotes For Artists: Challenge Your Fears and Continue

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What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.

Drawing – Can You Match the Tones?

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EXERCISE

Can you match the tones in the photograph?  This is an easy exercise, all you will need  is a soft pencil.  Allow yourself about 30 minutes and stop there even if the drawing is not finished.

Try not to be hard on yourself, after all, you are not doing a drawing for the royal family. See how lazy and casual I was with mine.  Drawing is about meditating through the process and is supposed to be a form of relaxation!  I love half finishing drawings too because it gives the viewer a chance to participate in the work.  He has the chance to make up his mind about what is not shown.  Many famous artists deliberately decide a work is finished when there is space left for contemplation.

To make it easy this time, you may want to lightly trace the main shapes first then lay the page alongside the photograph and copy the tones. The exercise is made simpler by using only 4 tones, light (the white of the paper), medium, dark and darkest.

It may help if you refer to the tonal bar from the previous post called “Drawing – Living in the Light.” http://zenschoolforcreatives.wordpress.com/category/learn-how-to-draw/

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Build up the tones gradually paying particular attention to the hard and soft edges. Squinting helps to compare your drawing to the photograph.

Have fun with this and remember…your drawing is good enough despite what you may think!