Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 02:03
I was lucky enough to grow up with a father who appreciated and studied many things. One of those things was an appreciation and reverence for the human form. We could stand together and view a nude drawing, usually in the classical manner such as a Michelangelo or a David, that’s Jacques-Louis David, and he would point out the Latissimus Dorsi , Oblique or Glutes and comment on their proportion and beauty. After playing in a football game on Friday night in high school, I took a 3-4 hour life drawing class the next Saturday morning at 8:00. I loved it too. I also took took many life drawing classes in college.
I believe to master the human figure, in any medium, is one of the most difficult challenges in all or art. It exemplifies the truth of the creator. It is a beautiful and constantly changing with even slight or subtle movement. Artists throughout history have tried to master or create a perfect human proportion - truly a mystery.
Another gift of my Father’s interest was growing up with /American Artist magazine. In one particular issue, the figure drawings of Paul Cadmus were featured. The Cadmus drawing shown above had a huge impact on with me, and still does. It reaches high as a drawing. It is a master view and realization of the human figure. The drawing in done in conte crayon on a stained or tinted cotton rag drawing paper, heightened with white tempera.
The sense of weight, the foreshortening of the position of the figure, the way a strong directional light rakes across to revels form, is all set up beautifully. The minimal amount of actual rendering to achieve such a clearly visualized moment is incredible. The figure looks as if it were going to move and change position in a moment. It also looks as if it could have been done yesterday…timeless.
Dad, I’m glad you introduced me to Paul.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 at 16:31
Summer Card Game
Be it summer or winter when the family gets together and everyone has been counted in attendance, the men slide off to the side somewhere and pull out the cards and change. My grandfather did it in Pittsburgh and my wife’s Italian family is all over it here in Rochester. A tradition. A right of passage. A place at the table.
I came across this image from one such summer day when everyone else was out by the pool. I liked the way the sun rakes across the table and room to reveal shiny change and deep thought; blinding summer light falling into the room through the window revealing each character. Its summer and there’s a card game be’in played. There’s beer to drink. Feel the heat.
Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 17:55
I love the first stage of an oil painting. After all the build up of the image and reworking of the drawing I have allot of investment in the piece. If it doesn’t live up to my vision of it, I’ll lose interest.
The wash and how the base colors are established, the traditional Renaissance approach (also used by Maxfield Parrish early on), is to lay down a Burnt Sienna wash as a ground to work from, adding color and painting into. For this piece, which is meant to be very human, I think the warmth would work well. I also added a little Perylene Black up top by the type and bottom right. It is a green back so its cool on the color temperature scale. I am developing the warm/cool balance of the underpainting. The wash is applied light enough to reveal the pencil underneath. I sealed the canvas with Crylon spray.
Once the wash is down, I chisel out the figure and type by allowing the oil wash dry to tacky before hitting areas up with turps and blotting them out. This creates a color splatter or doppled look to the wash too..very organic. I then took the painting outside and let it bake in the sun for a day or so.
The next big scary phase is how to I develop it SLOWLY without overpainting. I particularly want this piece to have poster, designerly, graphic quality but rendered in a really subtle way.
I started with the type and turpentine and brown and black. After I got done, I thought I ruined it..to dark...to much. I wiped if off and started over. This time it worked, particulary when I painted in the blue around the forms to solidify the entire design.
I then wanted a sun felt look to the face and the billowy white/golden of the puffy folk shirt. And yes I wanted the swirl of the hair and type and all to intertwine. The piece has the folk feel that I got when I walked into Brununzio’s...well crafted instruments and wood but organic. I am going to scan this in and add some more type for at least one version of the poster but who knows what else will happen?
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 at 19:26
Burnunzio Poster Design
In an effort to do some interesting design work about a subject close to my and allot of folks hearts, I am working on a poster for Bernunzio’s, a local stringed instrument store. John and Juli
e, the owners are very approachable decent people. I ran the idea by them and they said “sure”. Before we could speak about it again I just did one. I detected a vibe from the store and audience I felt I may be able to reach through image and type...at least a portion of their audience.
I immediately felt a handcrafted, inlaid, seasoned, rubbed out wood feel and the organic nature of each instrument. The major influence of the look and feel of much of the literature in their we store comes from the arts craft movement, with some deco and ornamental letter forms and swashes. A great sense of craft in the work is always present.
Looking at current identity materials the most generic part of the name, Uptown Music is the largest type while the elegant and ownable Brunuzio is smaller. I felt an great opportunity to really hand craft the type treatment of the name Brunuzio. I wanted it to look well crafted yet have an Italian ornate feel at the same time. Show here is the pencil I worked and reworked until it looked balanced yet full of movement. I did several sketches of how the type would work with an image
that related to a stringed instrument. I wanted to show the effect of that instru
on the player. I tried fingers touching the strings and a couple other ideas. After seeking some photo reference of different players just of guitar it occurred to me that perhaps we have a series concept here. Maybe I could create and icon of a given genre, like folk, or electric rock, and weave in into the name Burnunzio.
My good friend and photographer, Mark Sampson, allowed me to use a photo he had taken as reference for my folkie icon. I drew the image a couple time to get familiar with it and to make it my own. When I felt I understood the image, I d
rew in and the type on a canvas panel. At this stage the entire poster comes together from a d
esign perspective. I get a stronger sense of color, tone and the surface quality I am looking for. I work and rewo
rk this part, just using a pencil and eraser. I am going to paint
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