Saturday, July 16, 2011

Copying Old Master Drawings

As usual, around here one thing inevitably leads to another. I recently picked up a copy of William L. Maughan's "Drawing the Head". The exercises call for toned paper with red and white pastel pencils. I'm trying to simulate the effect with Stonehenge Fawn paper and Polychromos Burnt Sienna and White. The White is annoying--very shiny that lends to a creepy look, but it's good enough until the real pastels get ordered up.

This afternoon I began rereading "Drawing Lessons from the Old Masters" by Robert Beverly Hale which reminded me that Koo encouraged us to copy Old Master drawings and paintings. So next I was skimming through Taschen's "Leonardo da Vinci" by Frank Zöllner.

I'm equally pleased and distressed with my first attempt at copying a portrait. At this point I don't think one could even guess who this might be but I'll be practicing. I didn't realize until just now that the Taschen book has lots of closeup images of portions of the portrait, all with incredible detail. What becomes apparent is that line is nearly nonexistent. Gradual transitions are key. By the way, this portrait was painted in egg tempera.

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