Friday, February 20, 2009

Tres Caballos - Drawing Class Homework

Okay, so I said I was going to do three candles on a mirrored rock tray for my still life homework this week, but after I set it up it just wasn't working for me. Instead, I set up a wine bottle, glass and corkscrew. That didn't work for me either. Just couldn't set up a composition that inspired me. Thursday morning I was at work stuck in a meeting thinking about my still life set up when I saw this one in my mind - three horses, each completely different. On the left is an old Breyer model, in the middle is a handcrafted Caribbean bamboo souvenir, and third in my herd, a plush toy horse a friend gave my when I left the country for a walkabout. His name is Wylie. :-)

I placed the three in various positions until I found one that worked for me, and then adjusted a halogen desk lamp above them until I found a good contrast of cast shadow. I was happy with what I set up and fortunately, Bear, my overly inquisitive Australian Shepherd, left them alone so I wouldn't have to reset them every time I sat down to draw.

I started with a 2H graphite pencil and very lightly roughed out my composition using the spidering technique our teacher showed us in class. When I was happy with the overall composition, I worked over the light lines pulling the image out of the spiderwork. It was actually pretty cool doing it that way instead of using an eraser - I had to pull the Breyer model out a few times until I was happy with him - or so I thought at the time - then I switched to a 4B graphite pencil and started laying down the heavier lines. That's when I realized the Breyer model needed a little more composition work, but, the heavy lines were started so no going back.

Because I did this in my lightweight sketchbook I worked left to right with an extra piece of paper between my hand and the sketchbook. Seems the graphite sits high on this lightweight paper and smudges far too easily.

When all three horses had been filled in and detailed somewhat I tried to make an effort to display the textures that differentiated them. For the Breyer model I used a tortillon to blend and give the impression of a smooth molded surface. For the bamboo horse I left it partially blended and partially raw so the contrasts were sharper. For the plush horse I used a circular pattern with a 6B graphite pencil and left it raw. For the overall base shadow I used simple hatching with the 6B pencil. The finished work sits nicely in my 9" x 12" sketchbook.

I'm so looking forward to class tomorrow - Baroque-modeling the form, tonal drawing; working with light and shadow. :-)