Monday, March 24, 2008
I REALLY enjoy drawing and painting faces, I'm realizing
In recent months, with my bum shoulder, I've been forced to slow down my caricaturing. I cut-back to only four days a week, and I'm just taking it easy while drawing, not trying to break any speed records. (Although sometimes I think I might be breaking a few SLOW records. lol.) It's been a financial disaster, of course, but I need to stop talking about that.
...I've been using the pencil more and more during this time, mainly for the outside contours of the face, but also for a lot of the bodies. But here's the thing: I am REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoying drawing the human face. I'm also coming to realize the wonderful possibilities in painting the face, as well. I keep thinking, "Man, if I could just be a painter of people for the rest of my life, I'd be happy." ...
All this makes me think of formal portraiture. Once upon a time, I thought portraits were uninteresting, since they seemed to be mere technical rendering of a static face. But NO! Portraits ARE caricature. The portrait artist uses his eye and experience to creatively determine the most important aspects of each face, and he then brings these aspects to the fore. Everyone has certain "telling" characteristics, but this is not just shape. A likeness may hinge on one or several things, from shape to color, or texture, from the dark values of the nostril, to the dull light glow of cerulean/gray eyes. When I look at the old masters portraits, I'm stunned. Look at those too-red cheeks! Look at that busted nose! Those full, craggy lips! ...But it's all beautiful (and probably great likeness).
This photo was from Saturday at Animal Kingdom, which was probably my best day of drawing in my LIFE. My shoulder was starting to bother me a lot, again, unfortunately, but maybe this forced slowing improved my drawing. ...Actually, the caricature in the photo isn't anything special, but it happens to be the only photo I took that day. The husband and wife didn't like to smile, but when they gave a little, I immediately noticed how WIDE their mouths became. And then there was the woman's nose, and rather short forehead. The guy had very short hair, almost shaved, and a dimple in the chin, and wonderfully shaped, prominent ears. I greatly enjoyed drawing them. Wish they'd got color.