Cast Party!

I’ve been a little more remiss in keeping a serious drawing schedule than I should. I’m starting to get that self discipline back that took a little hiatus and I am making some progress with the skills I picked up over the summer. I am by no means a master craftsman but I thought I would post the rough sketches of the cast drawing I have begun. At this point the sketches are done but I’ll only post one since the others are best left unseen. My intent was, and still is to complete two more Bargues and a cast drawing by May. One small Bargue is days from being complete…painfully close. I just keep seeing more detail that need to be work in even if it is from a less than stellar photocopy of the original. I’ll post about that drawing when it is done. The Bargue of Homer took a bit of a backseat as I was preparing “the studio” for the cast drawing. I am quite happy with it for now. It is in it’s early stages but is coming along nicely and has been fun to draw. I just need to discipline myself about where my drawing priorities need to be. With the small Bargue nearly complete Homer will get more of my attention. I’ve been documenting him as well and may post about it later.

The Set UpI was very anxious to try to transfer the techniques I’ve learned from two dimensions to three and it has been an interesting experience. I procured a plaster reproduction of a sculpture by Donatello from Guist Gallery to be the subject of my drawing. The Cast 3Having rationalized the cost as a long term investment I was able to then move on to the set up. I built a pedestal from MDF. It is made of three parts: A top that sits like a cap atop a rectangular box which itself slides into another slightly larger than it. A few holes drilled through and a couple of heavy duty dowels and I have a pedestal whose height I can adjust by moving the dowel pegs up or down. So it will work with still life subjects of different sizes and I can also work standing or sitting. Two coats of neutral grey and it was ready to go. I covered the portion of the studio I was working in with a large piece of neutral grey fleecey material. This seems to help with keeping the light from bouncing all over the place and also provides nice areas of mid tones and shadows that help define the subject so I can see it more clearly. The whole thing is installed in a very non-invasive way so when I need the space again for something else it is easy to dismantle and store.

I set the cast on the pedestal and separated from the easel with a piece of foam core draped in the same fleece material. I placed another piece of foam core on top to block out some of the light from the light stand. The light stand is just a 2×4 cut to about 7 feet and painted grey. I attached four shelf “L” brackets (the king you would use as shelf supports that you can find at a home improvement store) to act as a foot to hold it up. Nice and stable. It also got a coat of neutral grey. At the top I attached one of those bendy clamp-on desk lamps fitted with a decent white fluorescent bulb. A smaller clip light is above the easel. The lights are blocked from each other so they don’t throw off what I’m seeing. I wrapped some aluminum foil around the lights to baffle them a bit and control how the light was hitting the cast. A folded piece of paper to bounce some reflected light onto the neck and viola! No French Academy but it will get the job done.

Then it was just a matter of drawing. I’ve never used sight size techniques on something three dimensional so there was a bit of a learning curve. It did not take too long to adjust my thinking. Once you start think of 3D things as 2D stuff suddenly starts to make more sense. I’ve included some of the stages of the drawing. The images are pretty bad since they were taken with my phone and the lighting, while great for drawing, made getting a decent picture difficult; especially a side by side of the the cast and the drawing. When you look at that sketch in int early stages you might want to get out of the way because there’s a train wreck a’comin’! One thing that keeps coming back to me about this process is how ones brain processes information and what it is willing to accept as accurate. I can draw for hours and hours convinced things look great only to discover a new relationship that makes the rest of the drawing fall apart. Sometimes that is a little frustrating but most of the time it is pretty exciting. I have to keep reminding myself sometimes that drawing is a series of revisions. As one sees more clearly and deeply those problem parts of the drawing go away. I hesitate to call them problems because they are not. They are the natural growth process of a drawing. They have to occur for the drawing to progress, develop, and improve. It’s kind of like getting mad at an acorn because it’s not an oak tree. Give it time. Time and patience are the best gifts you can give your drawings and probably yourself.

Early Block InAs the sighting and measuring continued the sketch developed nicely. I am still wonderfully surprised at all the connections I discover in a drawing. Different parts lining up or being connected with an undrawn line or angle. It amazes me that artists, the old masters and Academics, where so incredibly conscious of the interplay of these relationships. There were times when I just sat an marveled at how tightly woven the connections were that I was seeing. It was frequently overwhelming. So much information to deal with. So exciting! These guy knew what they were doing. And I want to know what they knew. It was a joy just to discover these little magical experiences.

Refined Block InOf course my drawings do not exhibit that kind of mastery. I think I pulled off a decent preliminary sketch that helped me discover some important relationships within the shadows, mid tones, and highlights. I have since begun working on the final drawing. I made a few adjustments to the lighting and changed the angle of the cast a little. Things are going well and the best part is I keep seeing new things. I think discovering all those little nuances is one of the best parts of the drawing process. It make me smile and laugh out loud sometimes.Have you ever looked at your drawing, made a few marks, and then corrected them a few marks later and discover that everything falls into place as if that was the only way it could ever be? That’s because that is the only way it could ever be.…and you have the privilege to be the one to experience it. Good luck with your acorns and happy drawing.

The Final Block In

Please note that the sketch above is not based on the photo of the cast earlier in the post. The photo was taken at a very different angle and is included to give you an idea of the subject.

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~ by Kelson Barber on March 16, 2013.

One Response to “Cast Party!”

  1. You blow me away. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. Where did this gift come from. I can’t wait to see him face to face.

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