Before and after A personal comparison

Edward B. Lindaman

Thinking in Future Tense, 1978

Your recent R-mode drawings, on the other hand, are more complex, more linked to actual perceptual information from "out there," drawn from the present moment, not from memorized symbols of the past. These drawings are therefore more realistic. A friend might remark upon looking at your drawings that you had uncovered a hidden talent. In a way, I believe this is true, although I am convinced that this talent is not confined to a few, but instead is as widespread as, say, talent for reading.

Your recent drawings aren't necessarily more expressive than your "Before-Instruction" drawings. Conceptual L-mode drawings can be powerfully expressive. Your "After-Instruction" drawings are expressive as well, but in a different way: They are more specific, more complicated, and more true to life. They are the result of newfound skills for seeing things differently, of drawing from a different point of view. The true and more subtle expression is in your unique line and your unique "take" on the model—in this instance yourself.

At some future time, you may wish to partly reintegrate simplified, conceptual forms into your drawings. But you will do so by design, not by mistake or inability to draw realistically. For now, I hope you are proud of your drawings as signs of victory in the struggle to learn basic perceptual skills and to control the processes of your brain.

Now that you have, with great care, seen and drawn your own face and the faces of other human beings, surely you understand what artists mean when they say that every human face is beautiful.

A showing ofportraits

As you look at the portraits on the following pages, try to mentally review how each drawing developed from start to finish. Go through the measurement process yourself. This will help to reinforce your skill and train your eye. Three of the drawings are instructional demonstration drawings from our five-day workshop.

A suggestion for a next drawing

A drawing suggestion that has proven to be amusing and interesting is a self-portrait as a character from art history. A few such examples might include "Self-Portrait as the Mona Lisa"; "Self-Portrait as a Renaissance Youth"; "Self-Portrait as Venus Rising from the Sea."

"The object, which is back of every true work of art, is the attainment of a state of being, a state of high functioning, a more than ordinary moment of existence____We make our discoveries while in the state because then we are clearsighted."

The Art Spirit, 1923

Drawings Self Portraits Before And After

Two additional self-portraits by instructor Brian Bomeisler. Note how they differ one from another. You will find that your self-portraits will differ, reflecting the mood, feeling, and surroundings of each sitting. Remember, drawing is not photography.

Grace Kennedy

A beautiful self-portrait in light/shadow by instructor Grace Kennedy.

Mauro Imamoto

A three-quarter self-portrait by student Mauro Imamoto. The composition is especially fine.

Pics Hellen Keller Color

Drawing

Hon the Beauty of Color

Helen Keller Pictures Color

"No one knows how far back in time the human passion for color evolved, but... its transmigration from one culture to another can be traced from archaeological fragments as old as recorded history."

Color Observed, 1980

Miss Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, writes of color:

"I understand how scarlet can differ from crimson because I know that the smell of an orange is not the smell of a grapefruit... Without color or its equivalent, life to me would be dark, barren, a vast blackness_Therefore, I habitually think of things as colored and resonant. Habit accounts for part. The soul sense accounts for another part. The brain with its five-sensed construction asserts its right and accounts for the rest. The unity of the world demands that color be kept in it whether I have cognizance of it or not. Rather than be shut out, I take part in it by discussing it, happy in the happiness of those near me who gaze at the lovely hues of the sunset or the rainbow."

The World I Live In, 1908

IN AN AGE LIKE OURS, color is not the luxury it was in past centuries. We are inundated by manufactured color—surrounded, immersed, swimming in a sea of color. Because of sheer quantity, color is perhaps in danger of losing some of its magic. I believe that using color in drawing and painting helps us to recapture the beauty of color and to experience once again the almost hypnotic fascination it once had for us.

Human beings have made colored objects from earliest times, but never in such great quantity as now. In past centuries, colored objects were most often owned by only a few wealthy or powerful persons. For ordinary people, color was not available, except as found in the natural world and as seen in churches and cathedrals. Cottages and their furnishings were made of natural materials— mud, wood, and stone. Homespun cloth usually retained the neutral colors of the original fibers or, if dyed with vegetable dyes, was often quick to soften and fade. For most people, a bit of bright ribbon, a beaded hatband, or a brightly embroidered belt was a treasure to guard and cherish.

Contrast this with the fluorescent world we live in today. Everywhere we turn, we encounter human-made color: television and movies in color, buildings painted brilliant colors inside and out, flashing colored lights, highway billboards, magazines and books in full color, even newspapers with full-page color displays. Intensely colored fabrics that would have been valued like jewels and reserved for royalty in times past are now available to nearly everyone, wealthy or not. Thus, we have largely lost our former sense of the wondrous specialness of color. Nevertheless, as humans, we can't seem to get enough color. No amount seems too much—at least not yet. True, quite a few individuals objected to the "colorization" of vintage black-and-white films. These arguments, however, were lost to commerce; most people preferred the colorized versions.

But what is all this color for? In the natural world of animals, birds, and plants, color always has a purpose—to attract, repel, conceal, communicate, warn, or assure survival. For present-day humans, has color even begun to lose its purpose and meaning? Now that we have this huge bulk of manufactured color, is its use

Fig. 11-3. Color Wheel. Complements are directly opposite each other on the wheel. The complement of each primary color (yellow, red, and blue) is a secondary color (violet, green, and orange). The complement of each tertiary color is another tertiary color.

Because any complementary pair always contains, between the two hues, all three primary colors, complements completely cancel color when mixed together in equal quantities. This characteristic is the key to controlling intensity of hues.

Exercise: The pattern for making your own color wheel is on page 234.

Fig. 11-4. Value scale. A scale in even steps between the opposites, the white of the paper and the darkest dark the pencil will make.

The inset strip is the same value throughout. The apparent change in value is a perceptual illusion, caused by the differences in contrast between the light-to-dark tones of the scale and the constant value of the central strip.

Exercise: Make a value scale of twelve steps, using pencil.

Fig. 11-3. Color Wheel. Complements are directly opposite each other on the wheel. The complement of each primary color (yellow, red, and blue) is a secondary color (violet, green, and orange). The complement of each tertiary color is another tertiary color.

Because any complementary pair always contains, between the two hues, all three primary colors, complements completely cancel color when mixed together in equal quantities. This characteristic is the key to controlling intensity of hues.

Exercise: The pattern for making your own color wheel is on page 234.

Making Your Own Color Wheel

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Fig. 11-5. Heather Heilman, age 6, The Park, 12 x 18". Courtesy of The International Child Art Collection, Junior Arts Center, Los Angeles, California.

Children tend to use symbolic color as well as symbolic forms. These symbol systems are linked to language acquisition: "Trees have green leaves and brown trunks." Learning perceptual skills helps older children to see beyond these symbolic systems.

Exercise: Review Chapter Five on childhood drawing, then redraw your own childhood landscape, this time in color.

Edgar Degas Complete Drawings Ballerina
Fig. 11-6. Edgar Degas, Ballet Dancer in Position Facing 3/4 Front (1872). Soft black graphite accented with black crayon, heightened with white on pink paper. 16 1/8 x 11 1/4. The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard. Bequest of Meta and Paul J. Sachs.

Exercise: To experience the impact of color on drawing, compare this drawing with another Degas dancer on page 157. See page 237 for a drawing exercise.

Fig. 11-7. Kathe Kollwitz, Self-Portrait (c. 1891/92). Pen and black ink with brush and gray wash, heightened with white gouache, on brown wove paper. 1513/16 x 12 11/16". The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Margaret Day Blake, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Press, and Prints and Drawings Purchase, 1980.

Over her lifetime, the German artist Kathe Kollwitz produced more than fifty probing images of herself. This serious, contemplative self-portrait was drawn when the artist was about twenty-five and reflects her early training in engraving.

Exercise: Try a heightened self-portrait, using the procedure described below.

The artist sits in front of a mirror, cheek resting on hand. The light, as you see, comes from above and to the left of the sitter (note the shadow cast by the nose and the crest shadow along the wrist).

Working on brown paper, quickly paint a dark negative space around the head, using a brush and black ink mixed with water. The brown of the paper supplies the middle value for the face.

Use a tiny brush to draw in the details of the face in black ink, and the same tiny brush to heighten the drawing with white gouache. The heightening lines follow the curve of the surface of the face, almost as though you are feeling your way across the forms.

Fig. 11-8. Henri Toulouse Lautrec, At the Circus: Work in the Ring (1899). Colored pencil with pastel and black crayon on ivory wove paper. 21.8 x 31.6 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. B. E. Bensinger.

Exercise: For practice with color, negative space, and sighting, copy this drawing using colored pencil and pastels, but change the colors to those of your own choice to see the effect of color on drawing.

Complementary Pair Portraits Pastels
Fig. 11-9. Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (French, 1699-1779), Self-Portrait with a Visor(c.1776). Pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas. 18 x 14 13/16" (457 x 374 mm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Clarence Buckingham Collection and Harold Joachim Memorial Fund.

Fig. 11-10. Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, Portrait of Madame Chardin (c. 1776). Pastel on blue laid paper mounted on canvas. 18 x 14 15/16" (457 x 378 mm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Regerstein Collection.

Toward the end of a long career as a successful painter of still lifes and scenes of everyday life, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin turned to pastels, a new medium for him, and to portraiture, an unexplored subject. Only twelve Chardin pastels are known to exist today, foremost among them the two masterpieces shown above. These portraits illustrate a point made in the text: rich and profound color can be achieved by using very few hues. The basic hues in each of the portraits are the complements blue and orange, each transformed into a complex harmonious medley of balanced values and intensities.

Exercise: Try a portrait or self-portrait on colored paper using only two complementary hues plus white and black. The masterworks above can guide your efforts to gain control of color.

Fig. 11-11. Elizabeth Layton, Seft-Portrait in a Mirror. Colored pencil on paper. Reproduced with kind permission of the artist.

Elizabeth Layton first began drawing at age 68 with the hope of finding relief from severe depression following a stroke. Drawing proved therapeutic (she calls it "cure by contour") and she continued to draw. Since then, her work has been exhibited nationwide and is greatly admired. She believes that everyone can learn to draw and that children in particular should be taught to draw at an early age.

Fig. 11-12. Photograph of Elizabeth Layton. Reproduced with kind permission of the artist. Exercise: Try a colored-pencil self-portrait in a mirror, including your hands.

Richard Diebenkorn Drawings

Fig. 11-12. Photograph of Elizabeth Layton. Reproduced with kind permission of the artist. Exercise: Try a colored-pencil self-portrait in a mirror, including your hands.

Elizabeth Layton Self Portrait MirrorDiebenkorn Ocean Park
Fig. 11-13. Richard Diebenkorn, Untitled (Ocean Park)(W7). Acrylic, gouache, cut-and-pasted paper. 18 1/4 x 32 3/4" (47.6 x 83.2 cm). Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase.

Exercise: Working within an unusual format (tall and narrow, short and wide, circular, oval), divide the space and manipulate the quantities of hues to achieve a pleasing, harmonious balance and tension (a sense of connection or "pull") between color areas.

Fig. 11-14. Brian Bomeisler, Adam and Eve. 1984. Mixed media on paper. 10 x 9". Collection of the artist.

This New York artist explores color, light, and scale through themes from mythology and literature.

Exercise: Experiment with scale by using contrasting sizes-very large to very small. Experiment with light by changing the values of a hue to achieve luminosity in color. Observe how the artist achieved a wonderful sense of luminous color in Adam and Eve.

Odilon Redon Soft Pastel
Fig. 11-15. Odilon Redon (1840-1916), Head of a Young Girl. Pastel on blue-gray laid paper. 20 5/8 x 14 7/8". The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard.

Exercise: See page 243 for an exercise based on this exceptional drawing.

Monochromatic Still Life Exercises
Fig. 11-16. Student Gary Berberet, Self-Poiirait. Pastel on gray paper. 18x24".

Exercise: Try an intense, close-up self-portrait in pastel on colored paper. Remember that you always have an available model-yourself. The addition of props such as hats can stimulate interest in each new self-portrait.

Fig. 11-17. Student Laura Wright, Umbrella Still Life. A monochromatic color harmony based on varying values and intensities of orange.

Exercise: Construct a still life with some randomly chosen objects. Do a negativespace drawing on colored paper (or do a preliminary drawing and transfer it to colored paper, using carbon paper). Choose colored pencils that are variations of one hue, the hue of the colored paper.

Fig. 11-18. Student Ken Ludwig, Large Stuffed Eagle. Rubbed pastel on white paper with pen and black ink. 18 x 24".

A few analogous colors can produce a surprising range of harmonious hues. Strong contrast is supplied by the black ink and white paper.

Exercise: Draw an animal or bird from life, if possible, or from photographs. (Habitat groups at natural history museums are wonderful as models-they hold very still.) Rub analogous hues of colored chalk into white paper and draw with pen and ink.

Fig. 11-18. Student Ken Ludwig, Large Stuffed Eagle. Rubbed pastel on white paper with pen and black ink. 18 x 24".

A few analogous colors can produce a surprising range of harmonious hues. Strong contrast is supplied by the black ink and white paper.

Exercise: Draw an animal or bird from life, if possible, or from photographs. (Habitat groups at natural history museums are wonderful as models-they hold very still.) Rub analogous hues of colored chalk into white paper and draw with pen and ink.

Example Analogous DrawingPiet Mondrian Red Amaryllis
Fig. 11-19. Piet Mondrian, Red Amarylis with Blue Background (c. 1907). Watercolor. 18 3/8 x 13". The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection.

Exercise: Prismacolor watercolor pencils convert to watercolor when dampened with a wet brush. Using these pencils, try a "portrait" of a flower or plant, paying attention to negative space and using contrasting colors, guided by the superb drawing above.

David Hockney Crayon Drawings

Fig. 11-20. David Hockney, Celia in a Black Dress with White Flowers, 1972. Crayon on paper. 17x14". Collection of the artist.

Exercise: Try a half-length or full-length portrait or self-portrait in colored pencil on white paper. Place an object or objects in front of the figure and use negative space to delineate the space between. Three distances are described: from the artist's eyes to the objects to the figure.

Fig. 11-21. Paul Gauguin, Tahitian Woman. Pastel on paper. 21 5/8 x 19 1/2 ".The Brooklyn Museum, New York.

Exercise: Combine warm and cool hues in a pastel drawing.

Fig. 11-22. Student Thu Ha Huyung, Girl in a Flowered Hat. Colored pencil on yellow paper. 18 x 24".

Exercise: For a colorful drawing, try a portrait using two sets of complements and black and white on colored paper.

Fig. 11-23. Hans Baldung Grien, Se/f-Portra/t(1502). Öffentliche Kunstsatnmlung, Kupferstichkabinett Basel.

Exercise: This drawing combines three-quarter view and full-face in one drawing, with strangely intriguing results. You might deliberately try this distortion as a step into more abstract portraiture.

Negative Space Drawing Face
Fig. 11-24. Student drawing, The Arrow Hotel. Negative space and contrasting colors transform an urban scene.

Exercise: See page 240 for suggestions on drawing an urban landscape.

mostly indiscriminate? Or is purpose and meaning still sublimi-nally inherent in color as a remnant of our biological heritage? Is the pencil I write with painted yellow for a purpose? Did I choose to wear blue today for a reason?

And what is color? Is it merely, as scientists tell us, a subjective experience, a mental sensation that can only occur if three requirements are fulfilled: that there is an observer, an object, and sufficient light in the narrow band of wavelengths called the "visible spectrum"? It certainly is true that at twilight the world turns to shades of gray. Is the world really colorless, only seeming to become full of color again when we turn the lights on?

If color is a mental sensation, how does it happen? Scientists tell us that when light falls on an object—for example, an orange—the surface of the orange has the particular property of absorbing all the wavelengths of the spectrum except that which, when reflected back to our eyes and processed through the visual system, causes the mental sensation we have named the color "orange." My writing pencil is coated with a chemical substance (paint) that absorbs all wavelengths except that which, when reflected back to my eyes, is "yellow." Is the orange really orange? Is the pencil really yellow? We cannot know, because we cannot get outside of our own eye/brain/mind system to find out. What we do know is that when the sun goes down, color disappears.

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Responses

  • Chelsey
    When did David hockney celia?
    4 years ago

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