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Old 07-31-2006, 06:05 PM   #1
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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Eye training - a series of cast drawings




I've just started a series of cast drawings which I thought might be interesting to share here.

I'm planning ten of these drawings initially, following the progression of the Bargue plates as far as I can. the first two will just be schematics, to get me used to sight size drawing and the measuring technique. On the third I'm planning to refine the lines, as in plate two of the Bargue drawings, and on the fourth I'll begin to add tone, as in plate three of the Bargue drawings. If I'm doing ok at that point, I'll add more tone on the fifth.

The general idea is that I add something new at each stage, working up to a finished cast drawing on the tenth one.

Although this series will probably take me a long time to complete, (the first drawing shown here took about eight hours,) I'll come back to this thread and add the drawings as they're done.

If anyone here who has done this before, or is currently doing this at a real atelier, has any comments, I'd very much appreciate any feedback you might have on my approach. I've put up a more detailed write up of how I approached this one on my site here:

First cast drawing - Clytie One
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Old 07-31-2006, 09:49 PM   #2
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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A perfect beginning, to my eye. I'm jealous of your few errors. I struggled a long time to get where you are.

Post more often than naught -- ten steps is okay, but don't feel that 20 will overburden your bandwidth allowance here. The intermediate stages are much more useful to many than the "perfected" plateaus. The goofs and the the corrections are every bit as much a part of the process as the gallery-ready slides, and far more instructive and inspirational.

And in fact, if you catch yourself in error, please shout it out. That is the greatest encouragement to all of us who rarely get it right the first time.

Getting it right the first time must, in fact, be about the most boring occupation in the universe. Not that I'll ever know.

Which is a big part of why I don't do watercolour.
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:16 AM   #3
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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Thanks Steven.

The drawing is far from perfect. Unfortunately I work in a small room and my camera tripod doesn't get up to eye height, so I had it sitting on a swivel chair for this photo, as far back as I could get it. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't seem to get a shot from exactly my viewpoint, making it hard to judge the accuracy of the drawing from the photo. Plus I'm all fingers and thumbs with a camera. I'll try to get a better shot on the next one.

I must also thank you for your posts here on sight-size drawing, they've been a big help. The Bargue book also has a good section on sight-size.

I think part of the difficulty in teaching yourself this stuff is that no matter how strict you are with yourself, your eye is necessarily less developed than a drawing master's eye would be. There's no one to say, "Have another look at that left eye..."

I console myself with the thought that the practice will be excellent eye training, whether I produce any decent drawings or not.

Despite the aforementioned difficulties, on this drawing the shadows on the base, and the shadow cast by the base, fairly scream at me. You can see that on the photo, bad as it is. I got a bit tired and rushed that part. I had a strong word with myself and threatened to throw myself out of my atelier if I don't do better next time
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Old 08-01-2006, 09:36 AM   #4
Steven Sweeney Steven Sweeney is offline
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Speaking of shadows (and I'll quit interrupting after this), I did want to add that you've either instinctively or deliberately approached the desirable 2/3-1/3 ratio of light to shadow for these kinds of objects. That of course more easily contributes to the depiction of form than if you had to work with great subtlety in a narrow range of values over a large area, and it is as well an expression of composition. The same ratio of light to shadow could be maintained with the light coming from a different direction, yet the composition would be altered, and it would be a different picture.
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Old 08-02-2006, 04:34 AM   #5
Mischa Milosevic Mischa Milosevic is offline
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Paul, I found that working from the cast was a excellent study, for me. The Bargue drawings did prepare me for the cast and the cast work helped me better understand working from the model.

You mention a possibilities of critiques even self critiques. If you post your image in the critique section i am sure that members will respond. A word to the wise never change anything until you can visually see, in your minds eye, what that change will do. It is like playing chess. Having sead that check the width of the head.

Wish you the best that you can be
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:03 AM   #6
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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Hi Mischa, thanks for your comments.

I think I'll leave the drawings here rather than the critique section though, primarily because they're not finished drawings, just exercises in accuracy. The problem with critiques for these drawings is that unless I can get a reliable shot from exactly my viewpoint, accuracy can't be properly judged from a photo. I hope that makes sense.

I've taken down the set up now so can't re-check the drawing, or correct it any more. I'll try to post 'in progress' shots of some of the next drawings.

Steven, that's interesting what you say about the proportion of shadow to light. I hadn't thought about that at all. What I have done is tried to control the light in what might be called an 'old master' approach.

It's natural light from the window, with all but a square foot or so screened off, to give me lighting slightly above and to one side of the 'model.' After a few experimients with different lighting, proximity to the window etc, I'm beginning to realise that less is often more. This is pretty much how I light the subjects for my still life paintings.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:43 PM   #7
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Hi Paul, I'm delighted to see you posting this because I've just ordered a cast from Giust Gallery and, armed with the Barque book and some sharp-eyed artist friends willing to tell me where I'm "off", I'm getting ready to roll as soon as it gets here. (Usually I draw from a Planes of the Head cast but I'm feeling the need to expand.) Your drawing looks excellent to me. Steven and Mischa, it's good to know you both have had much experience with this, I hope you keep posting as well.
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Old 08-03-2006, 03:58 PM   #8
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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Second drawing underway

That's great Linda, hopefully we'll be able to compare notes as we go along. Please feel free to Bargue in (ouch!) on this thread with your own drawings.

I should point out to anyone reading this thread that I haven't the faintest idea what I'm doing. Don't take this thread as a recommendation on how to do cast drawings, I'm learning as I go.

Today I started the second drawing. This shot is a work in progress at the second stage. Stage one is selecting, measuring and placing the marks for the main points on the form, stage two is literally 'joining the dots.' At this point I've been working for about five hours. Next I'll be making corrections to this stage before proceeding to refine the outline further, then laying out the shapes of the main tone blocks. At that point the schematic will be done and I can start the next one.

I got a new tripod today which means at least that I can get the camera to my eye level, but I'm still struggling with getting shots that look the same as what I see when I'm drawing. For reasons I don't understand, the drawing appears substantially larger than the cast. I know it's out, but it's not this far out. It's mostly down to my lack of knowledge about how cameras work I'm sure, but it just confirms my deep mistrust of these nasty mechanical contraptions.
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:37 PM   #9
Ngaire Winwood Ngaire Winwood is offline
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Great Stuff Paul, where did you get your casts and how much?
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Old 08-03-2006, 07:46 PM   #10
Paul Foxton Paul Foxton is offline
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Hi Ngaire,

I got them from ebay, this one and one of adonis which I haven't drawn yet. I think they were about
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