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Old 09-27-2003, 03:33 PM   #61
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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[quote]Works can be true without being accurate, as well as accurate without being true. Most of the award winners are both, and that
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:20 PM   #62
Tom Edgerton Tom Edgerton is offline
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Well put. As you already know, in my workshop I plan to teach them to use your tools to measure the bejeezus out of what's before them--as a path to that understanding. As I re-read Richard Schmid's book this week, he makes the point that the more correct work that is in place on the canvas, the more the incorrect is easier to spot


Add my kudos to Chris's for the above summation. I want to remember this as a yardstick for my upcoming work.

Best to all--TE
"The dream drives the action."
--Thomas Berry, 1999
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:29 PM   #63
Timothy C. Tyler Timothy C. Tyler is offline
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You guys may want to see;


you can see here that her feet are well behind and higher than her skirt, which extends forward and thus appears longer. If you look at the male he looks right-if you at the male and compare him to her they look correct together. It's the bottom of the skirt that stirs the remarks herein, I think.
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Old 09-27-2003, 06:55 PM   #64
Peter Jochems Peter Jochems is offline
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The more I look at it, the more I like the strangeness of it. It reminds me a little bit of El Greco. The clothing of the woman becomes a visual balance. I never saw this one in real life, but I can imagine that the effect of it becomes hypnotic when you look longer at it. Can anyone tell if that's the case in real life?

Especially the placement of the hat is magic.
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Old 09-27-2003, 08:44 PM   #65
Tom Edgerton Tom Edgerton is offline
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Yours is a good observation, and I'm sure her feet are really up under there somewhere, not at the extreme bottom of the skirt.

But Sargent would still really stretch 'em though, without hesitation. Look at the portrait of W. Graham Robertson, and also Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth.

But I digress.

Good painting to all--TE
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Old 09-27-2003, 11:46 PM   #66
Marvin Mattelson Marvin Mattelson is offline
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In my experience, I need to constantly challenge myself to understand what lies before me if I aspire to create a convincing portrayal of my subject.

I start with a two dimensional surface upon which I want to convey a three dimensional reality. I cannot recreate the volume of the form and depth of the air because these things happen in space.

I need to manipulate my painting and deceive the viewer to believe that I have recreated this space so they can experience the illusion of reality. In order to do this I need to fully understand what lies in front of me and meld it with my understanding of spatial phenomena.

Accuracy of drawing is very important but to just copy the proportions and positioning without pursuing the understanding of why things are where they are and why, leaves me in the realm of merely copying regardless of whether I work from life or a photo.

I can't stress enough to my students the importance of understanding the rationale for what they are doing.
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Old 03-25-2005, 11:59 PM   #67
Kimber Scott Kimber Scott is offline
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Sargent, Calipers and Leonardo da Vinci

I realize this thread is old, but I had to throw this out there.

I read somewhere Sargent began many of his portraits by measuring his subjects' head with calipers and subtracting 1/4 inch. I don't remember where I read it, but I remember it specifically because I thought it was such a good idea.

Also, using the head as a measuring tool began many, many years ago... Although, one could as easily use a foot, or a forearm, anything that could be compared against something else. One of my teachers taught us, when drawing, to start with the thing closest to us (lower leg, for example) and then use the size of that to measure everything else against. I've always been a head measurer, though. His method is much better for creating the illusion of depth and foreshortening, I admit, and I should use it more. Old habits are hard to break... I'll have to pay more attention.

With regard to the relativity of our body parts... did you know the length of your nose is the same as the distance between the first and second knuckle on your index finger?
Or, that a person's height is usually equal to their arm span?

Leonardo da Vinci wrote much on the proportions of man and the perfection of the design, using it as an argument as to how to design architecture:

This is where Sharon's illustrators' book "eight heads guideline" originated. (Well, I don't think da Vinci originated the idea, as he refers to the ancients, but he did, most famously, write it down.

Vitruvius, De Architectura:


2. For Nature has so planned the human body that the face from the chin to the top of the forehead and the roots of the hair is a tenth part; also the palm of the hand from the wrist to the top of the middle finger is as much; the head from the chin to the crown, an eighth part; from the top of the breast with the bottom of the neck to the roots of the hair, a sixth part; from the middle of the breast to the crown, a fourth part; a third part of the height of the face is from the bottom of the chin to the bottom of the nostrils; the nose from the bottom of the nostrils to the line between the brows, as much; from that line to the roots of the hair, the forehead is given as the third part. The foot is a sixth of the height of the body; the cubit a quarter, the breast also a quarter. The other limbs also have their own proportionate measurements. And by using these, ancient painters and famous sculptors have attained great and unbounded distinction.

3. In like fashion the members of temples ought to have dimensions of their several parts answering suitably to the general sum of their whole magnitude. Now the navel is naturally the exact centre of the body. For if a man lies on his back with hands and feet outspread, and the centre of a circle is placed on his navel, his figure and toes will be touched by the circumference. Also a square will be found described within the figure, in the same way as a round figure is produced. For if we measure from the sole of the foot to the top of the head, and apply the measure to the outstretched hands, the breadth will be found equal to the height, just like sites which are squared by rule.


Book 3, c. I1

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