Draft Horse after Haseltine / graphite and chalk

It's not exactly right in proportion, but not too far off. See the photo below.

It’s not exactly right in proportion, but not too far off. See the photo below.

This is my 3rd try drawing the sculpture. I went to the VMFA on 3 different rainy days and worked on it about 2 hours each time.

Sometimes when I stand there in front of a sculpture for a few hours, I get the feeling I know what the subject is thinking.

Sometimes when I stand there in front of a sculpture for a few hours, I get the feeling I know what the subject is thinking.

His eyes are so realistic, it seemed like he was looking at me. The eyes are made of lapis lazuli, ivory and onyx. The horse is made of bronze and gold plated.

It seems like he’s flaring his nostrils. This is what I imagined he would be thinking. He knows he’s the strongest. He’s a hard worker too, and proud of what he can do that weaker horses can’t. He knows he won the prize at the fair because so many people are making a fuss over him. Someone spent hours doing his hair. Then they showed him his reflection and he’s saying, “RIBBONS?!!! You put RIBBONS in my hair?!!!” (snort)

Secretly he likes the ribbons though. hahahahahahah

I know this because I spent the time looking. If you take a photo then trace it, you don’t get that kind of intuition about the subject.

At the museum, the rule is graphite only.

At the museum, the rule is graphite only.

The plaque at the VMFA says he’s a Suffolk Punch Stallion.

I could ask for a permission slip to bring in charcoal, but I probably won’t. The whole permission slip thing just bugs me as an artist. I’m saying this because if I could use charcoal it would be easier to draw. With pencil it takes longer to block in an area and you end up making outlines more often which is less accurate for getting the proportions correct.

It’s difficult to measure the proportions of a horse, and every breed is different. When I got home and looked at this sketch, I knew it wasn’t right. I transferred it to another paper and did some correcting, but it still wasn’t right. I’m showing this bad sketch so you can see that it doesn’t have to be right the 1st try. You can keep trying until you get something better.

If I continue to draw horse sculptures, when the time comes that I can draw live horses, it will be a little easier because of this practice.

yeah, that's me. I'm much more attractive in real life. hahahahahaha

yeah, that’s me. I’m much more attractive in real life. hahahahahaha

This is the way to learn to draw.

Rest your sketchbook against your body. Hold out your pencil at an arms length resting your arm on the sketchbook. Close one eye. Hold the pencil up so you can use it to measure the head of the subject by putting your finger on the pencil at the length of the head. Then use the head as a measure to get the proportions. Compare the length of the head to the length of the body and make marks on the paper in those proportions. Measure in all directions. Measure the length of the legs compared to the head. You can use the pencil in this way to see more easily the angles of the legs or any other angle you want to draw. Measure, draw, measure, draw. Don’t be shy.

Why don’t the art teachers teach their students to draw like this? Is it because it’s no fun? Are they self conscious about others seeing them make a face by closing an eye and squinting? Is it because it’s a slow process and they can trace a photo so much faster?

I see classes coming through sometimes, when I’m drawing, and the students seem interested in how to do what I’m doing, but the teacher doesn’t explain it to them. It seems like the teacher rushed the last group through before I had a chance to give  them the art lesson they wanted to hear. Maybe the teachers don’t know how to draw, so they can’t teach it. I’d like to teach. I’m just not keen on making it into a JOB! So it goes on the blog.me drawing

It’s easier to stand up to draw. Sometimes, at places like the museum, where taking an easel is a problem, you need to be able to hold the sketchbook in one hand and draw with the other hand. That way, you can look from the subject to your sketch so much easier because you don’t have to keep looking up down, up down. You hold the paper up and compare what you drew to the subject.

Also, if you can draw without an easel, standing up, you can exit the scene faster when it gets crowded, or not block other people from the spot.

Here endeth the lesson. hahahahahahah




Still Life with Pascal’s Pensees by Henri Matisse

It's in the VMFA flower exhibit.

It’s in the VMFA flower exhibit.

Photography isn’t allowed in the show. I lifted this off ask.com.
This show is a great inspiration! They have Van Gogh, Manet, Matisse and a lot of other artists.

I got a sketch of a Manet painting, Vase of White Lilacs and Roses, which is one of my favorites. The museum limits you to graphite pencils only in the galleries with the paintings. They have a room with colored pencils and paper and a giant arrangement of flowers in the center for people to do their own drawing, but if you want to copy a masterpiece it’s graphite only! hahahahahha. Oh well, They’re scared, or so they say. As if a pencil might fly out of your hand and hit one of the paintings, only a graphite pencil won’t hurt it but a pastel pencil would? I don’t get it. You can get special permission to bring in pencils other than graphite but they make you jump through hoops for a permission paper, which is a little off putting for artists. I guess other artists don’t care because they don’t want to draw in the museum. But maybe if the museum would relax a little, artists would feel more comfortable drawing there.

Anyway, you should go see this show because you will want to paint flowers too!

Edgar Allan Poe / graphite / finished drawing

I've always loved him.  (sigh)

I’ve always loved him.

Yeah, I heard he was hard to get along with. I’d still like to take him home and sew his buttons on and straighten his tie and comb his hair and make him happy. 😉 Oh well, he’s dead, but still alive in the hearts of millions.

Edgar Allan Poe / graphite

This is my study of the bust of Poe at the Poe Museum.

This is my study of the bust of Poe at the Poe Museum.

They have a call to artists for a show happening in May titled “Painting the Enchanted Garden”. It runs May 22 to July 18. I want to work on this a little more and enter it. Also I’d like to try to paint the garden.

When I was drawing this a lady working for the museum stopped to talk to me. I asked her if she knew if Poe had a broken nose because it doesn’t look straight on his bust. She didn’t know for sure but she told me he infuriated a lot of people. He was a harsh literary critic. She told me Poe accused Longfellow of plagiarism!

The Poe Museum is great! You should check it out!

my study / Large Seated Lion by Antoine-Louis Barye

original in bronze. my study graphite and white chalk

original in bronze.
my study graphite and white chalk

The bronze is small but I get the feeling this is a very strong animal as I’m trying to copy all the muscle groups. A museum guard and I both wondered if Barye exaggerated  the anatomy. I think the sculptures are probably anatomically correct but they seem like stronger lions than what I see on TV.

It’s important when you do a drawing study to stand in front of your subject and make the drawing as close to what you see as you can. If you take a photo and trace it you don’t remember things like muscle groups as well. And the proportions of the subject get a little file in your brain that you can use in the future. But if I took photos of lions I would only have a drawer full of photos.

At York Academy of Art they told us drawing is the most important skill an artist must have. The better your drawing skill is the better your paintings will be. There’s always room for improvement so an artist is not wasting time if they do a lot of sketches they never use for a finished painting. Every study is a challenge and answers questions.

my study / Lioness of Algeria by Antoine Louis Barye

original in bronze. my study in graphite and white chalk.

original in bronze.
my study in graphite and white chalk.

Barye was French 1796 – 1875. He studied lion anatomy. These sculptures can be found at the VMFA. , a nice place to hang around and practice drawing if it rains all week.

5 photos from Rebirthing the Classics opening night at Art6

debriefing follows

debriefing follows

This shot shows the hall looking towards the front door on Broad St. with my work on both sides. The camera shots on the wall show the original masterpieces from the VMFA and Hollywood Cemetery that are the inspiration for each piece. Last Sat. was the day to take our entries to Art6. I loaded up my car in the morning and got there at noon. As I was unloading my work in the gallery Helene talked about putting my smaller pieces in the hall. That meant a bigger showing for me so I drove home and loaded my car again. I also brought 4 landscapes and some things I made up from my imagination. They don’t all fit the theme but it’s ok because they show continuity.

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