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Archive for the ‘Sketches’ Category

Rinse and Repeat

I wasn’t kidding when I said draw it again and again and again. It’s Herakles and the Centaur! Again!

Young Michael brought up an interesting point in the comments on the last Herk post… About us being taught to show the MIDDLE of the action while we were in school. A lot of emphasis was put on things like the line of action and the follow-through. That is, making it very clear where the action is about to take place. A good example of this that comes to mind in Renaissance art is the Ferryman of the dead in the bottom right corner of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement in the Sisteen Chapel. The creepy old dude is in the middle of swinging his oar at the souls he’s about to take to Hell. Pretty gnarly. It looks like he could finish the swing at any moment… FOLLOW THROUGH, if you will. Which is evidently what I look for. Anyway, I suppose what it comes down to is that one can never help one’s training. All those Norrellite sympathies popping up, y’know?

It also brings up a good point about other cases of pre-action depictions of this sort of thing (I guess it really does help being in Italy when talking about this)… FOR EXAMPLE: Both Michelangelo’s and Bernini’s statue of David show him BEFORE facing Goliath. In Michelangelo’s, he’s contemplating the task ahead, and in Bernini’s, he’s pulled his sling taught and is about to launch the stone. Quite a contrast to a large number of other depictions of David and Goliath, both in painting and in sculpture, where David is shown with the severed head of the already defeated giant. Interesting stuff, folks… Gets those rusty ol’ wheels turning, eh?

It looks all little and cute here, like a paper weight!

It looks all little and cute here, like a paper weight!

Another from the same angle. Different day, different ink, and a bit of a different approach.

Another from the same angle. Different day, different ink, and a bit of a different approach.

There's that death grip.

There’s that death grip.

It's very disorienting to draw an upside-down head.

It’s very disorienting to draw an upside-down head.

Here's the first time I drew it from this particular angle. You can see the skin of the Nemean Lion really well from here.

Here’s the first time I drew it from this particular angle. You can see the skin of the Nemean Lion really well from here.

Can you imagine the strongest guy in the world bending your head back like that? Not that you could stop him, but would you even be able to put up a fight?

Can you imagine the strongest guy in the world bending your head back like that? Not that you could stop him, but would you even be able to put up a fight?

Lookit that handsome determination and them purdy little fingers! No, wait, don't lookit them fingers, that's a different statue.

Lookit that handsome determination and them purdy little fingers! No, wait, don’t lookit them fingers, that’s a different statue.

There are just so many lions.

There are just so many lions.

I could (and probly will... and probly should) do a whole ranting post about flayed animal skins in sculpture. It's so rad! Remember, the Nemean Lion was unstoppable before Herk came along. HEY! Patroclus, get yer upside-down face outta there!

I could (and probly will… and probly should) do a whole ranting post about flayed animal skins in sculpture. It’s so rad! Remember, the Nemean Lion was unstoppable before Herk came along. HEY! Patroclus, get yer upside-down face outta there!

Ohhh, just a hint of this one, eh? I see what you're up to...

Ohhh, just a hint of this one, eh? I see what you’re up to…

Bronzi Del Mondo Ellenistico

I’ve gone on about this exhibition to anyone who’ll listen, so I guess it only makes sense to post about…

THERE WAS THIS EXHIBITION of large-scale bronze sculptures from, well, the Hellenistic World! And hooooly crap was it awesome… I couldn’t stop going back!

There were some life-size statues, and some tiny ones… and life-size statue of Athena that adorned one of the Medici’s writing desks?! Who has a bronze statue of a goddess on their writing desk… WHAT DID THE REST OF THE DESK LOOK LIKE? Anyway, I think it was called the Athena of Arezzo, cause it was found in a well in Arezzo. Man oh man, the history under our feet and in our drinking water… And there were some huge statues, too… Fragments of some that must have been more than ten feet tall…

It was just inspiration itself. Seriously.

Hahaha, if I haven’t made myself clear; I LOVED IT.

Alexander

Herakles and Hermes.

Herakles and Hermes.

This horsey bro was HUGE.

This horsey bro was HUGE.

Apollo and Athena.

Apollo and Athena.

I love the colour and texture of bronze... I mean, I won't say I captured it here, but I love it...

I love the colour and texture of bronze… I mean, I won’t say I captured it here, but I love it…

Some of them just kept on inspiring me over and friggin over.

Some of them just kept on inspiring me over and friggin over.

Watercolour

BronzeBros

Some of them were broken. Sooo broken in the best possibly ways...

Some of them were broken. Sooo broken in the best possibly ways…

The statue on the left (apparently) was once considered the most ideal Greek statue in existence.

The statue on the right (apparently) was once considered the most ideal Greek statue in existence.

This awesome statue of Athena was like a giant coin, and she was popping out of it. Can you see the head of Medusa on top of her head?

This awesome statue of Athena was like a giant coin, and she was popping out of it. Can you see the head of Medusa on top of her head?

INTERESTING HISTORICAL NOTE: Palazzo Strozzi, where the exhibition was held, had an exhibition on Cezanne and his contemporaries back in 2007, the first time I was in Italy. I saw it. It changed me forever. Cezanne is one of the first artists that I’ve ever actually understood… after seeing his work, that is. The exhibition itself actually had way more of Cezanne’s contemporaries on display than actual Cezanne paintings, which I didn’t quite expect. But… well… it was fantastic. It changed me. Maybe the Hellenistic exhibition will do the same…? I’ve never thought so hard about sculpting than I have since this exhibition…

Repetition and Obsession

There is just so much to draw here. And what draws your attention? Draw that! Draw it again and again and again and again if you have to. Obsess over it. Master it and learn it and never even scratch the surface of it. Beautiful.

Let’s illustrate this form of madness with some of the drawings I’ve done of one particular statue… I think at first I might have drawn this statue more than any others, but it’s been pretty heartily surpassed by a whole bunch of other things. So much to draw… So much to see, too. Geez, imagine all the things I don’t even know about that I COULD have been drawing… good lord…

Anyhow, this statue is in the Loggia in Piazza della Signoria. Herakles and Nessus, the Centaur. Lots of drawings, lots of times of day, several weeks now and a few different angles… (so far, that is…)

Herakles1

Herakles2

Herakles3

Herakles4

Herakles5

Y’know, the position of Herakles’ brazen club has been bothering me since I arrived (and actually now that I thinka bout it, this might be very well-illustrated in these drawings. It’s facing down, almost pointed at Nessus’ head)… I mean, I picture it coming down on the Centaur’s head, or flank, or I donno, wherever, and it just doesn’t seem like a practical position to hold it in. I mean, it’s not a killing blow, more like he’s disciplining him or giving him a warning or something… Herakles, of all people, who has clubbed everything you can think of, should just be more natural, more adept at it, right? It bothered me, ok? Well one day I was thinking about this and that, and then I got thinking of how it’s one very particular moment that’s captured in a painting or a sculpture. I think I was specifically thinking in the Renaissance-ish era, I don’t remember what got me on this train of thought exactly, but I realized that I was looking at it all wrong… Here’s the Centaur with Herakles standing overtop of him, his horse legs forced into some unnatural positions, his head bent back at a horrible angle, struggling entirely in vain and clearly not going anywhere. We’re not looking at the moment before impact; we’re looking at Herakles having just finished subduing Nessus (and he’s pretty friggin’ subdued), and he’s just starting to raise the club! It’s on the upswing, not the downswing! It’s this detached and methodical thing that Herakles has done over and over in his labours. It’s right before the clubbing begins! Makes a heck of a lot more sense that way. …at least to me. It’s so infinitely fascinating even to have the slightest insight into the context of a work of art and then to imagine at what point of the story it’s supposed to be taking place at. What, who, why, where, when and how was the artist interested in this particular myth, this particular scene… You know, what’s shown, what’s not shown… Unreal, bros. (Did that actually make sense?)

And there was this pigeon pretty proudly crapping on Herakles’ foot the last time I was there. Like, strutting and standing next to it and looking me in the eye. Context. Oh, and more on Herakles and his tendencies to go out clubbing another time… Till then, hang loose!!

More From Ottawa

I have a healthy obsession with red-tailed hawks.

More drawererings from the Museum of Nature in Ottawa!

ARR_TEE_HAWK

They have a couple different specimens at the museum. Just like the ROM! I think the ROM has four (on display)...

On Christmas Day, I saw (and heard, holy crap) a pair of them hunting pigeons over Sherbourne st, just outside my old apartment in Toronto. In a museum, they’re pretty brown and dull, but when they’re in flight with sunlight going through their tails… That’s how they got their name. I love them.

Sketchbook Cobbling

So WAY WAY back in 2007, the first time I was in Italy, I got a really beautiful sheet of marbled paper. And what did I do with it, you ask? Well I very carefully ignored it for seven years, that’s what. BUT AFTER THAT, I finally decided to use the damn thing to repair and/or improve some sketchbooks that were in desperate need of repair. Or improvement. Take a look!

The top one reeeeally needed the repair, and the bottom one reeeeally needed to look less boring.

The top one reeeeally needed the repair, and the bottom one reeeeally needed to look less boring.

So having done a half-decent job at sketchbook repair, and with a lot of the marble paper leftover, I figured I’d try my hand at making a whole new one…

FrontCover

BEHOLD! A sketchbook of marker paper!! Marker paper always comes in those stupid pads, and bros, a pad of paper just ain’t the same as a sketchbook. I had decided to spend a few days over my birthday in Ottawa drawering at the Museum of Nature, so that’s where this little bro got it’s first test run. There’s a few things to do better next time or whatever, but I think it’s pretty goddam good for my first book!

It's not gonna win me carpenter-of-the-year, but it's a place to hang up the old toothbrush.

It's not gonna win me carpenter-of-the-year, but it's a place to hang up the old toothbrush.

The spine needs a little reinforcement, which I kinda figured, but it's structurally sound on the inside till I get around to it.

The spine needs a little reinforcement, which I kinda figured, but it's structurally sound on the inside till I get around to it.

I think I'll reinforce all the corners, too, and make it look real fancy.

I think I'll reinforce all the corners, too, and make it look real fancy.

This isn't a huge deal, but I definitely can't use both sides of every sheet cause of that greasy marker bleed. (And I think marker paper technically has a proper front-side, which I didn't consider when I grouped the pages, but that really doesn't matter to little old me)

This isn't a huge deal, but I can't use both sides of every sheet cause of that greasy old marker bleed. (And I think marker paper technically has a proper front-side, which I didn't consider when I grouped the pages, but that really doesn't matter to greasy old me)

But look at how much fun you can have in a marker sketchboooook!

But look at how much fun you can have in a marker sketchboooook!

tonsOFfun

wolverers

And don't forget to hang loose, bros.

And don't forget to hang loose, bros.