Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Antique Bottle: Session 2

8 x 10, oil on panel

This is a new little painting I started this week, a smaller size and a less complex composition than the previous four painting, just so I can get some satisfaction of completing a painting in less time.

I started with just the bottle and the shelf, I wanted to keep it really, really simple. But it just looked too boring, and after fiddling around with some twigs I finally gave in and crumpled up a small piece of wax paper and suddenly the composition was a whole lot more interesting... and also a lot harder. I was originally aiming for a 1-week painting, but this might take 2 weeks.

I thought I would share my drawing process. I diagrammed it below, on the under-painting (I did make a pencil drawing first, but I corrected the drawing with the under-painting, so I'll diagram my thinking on the better drawing.)

To start, I lay in some straight lines, trying to accurately capture the biggest, most general angles, tilts and distances. I spend quite a bit of time on this, until it "feels" like the gesture of he subject. I might break the lines into smaller segments than these, but I try not to.

Then I move into finding the curves, the major lines of movement or tension that are supporting the subject. This little piece of wax paper was behaving like an arch, so I knew I would find elements of the arch showing up here and there in the contours. The arch seems to me to have three points of contact with the board (at least from this view), so I tried to discover how it was supporting itself on these three points.

The corners peaking at the upper right are also part of the structure, so I searched for their relationship to where the arch legs are supported.

All the folds and crumple paths along the wax paper are arranged logically for how the paper is supporting itself, or being supported. I look for the main curves of movement, and as I develop the drawing along with the panting, I'll look for the smaller and smaller incidences of how the paper is logically crumpled.

When drawing the figure I follow the same method, except drawing the figure is harder.

See the first post about this painting here