Studio Mysteries

October 24, 2009

A Small Celebration And A Question

Filed under: Being a Professional Artist — Tags: , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 4:53 am

2002_painting_cold_windowsillSometimes, artists, by which I mean me, like to moan about how it’s ever so difficult to make a living as an artist. Sometimes, in response, life does something that makes further moaning completely untenable!

Recently, a friend from my home town in Ukraine emailed me completely out of the blue, and told me that someone she knows wanted to buy a painting. The sale has gone through, and Aleksandr Shatsky of Odessa now owns this piece, called Cold Orange, which sold for USD$500.

It’s not a huge sum, but then it’s not a huge painting, and it is a wonderful windfall considering that the sale fell into my lap with no effort on my part whatsoever.

In light of this happy event, I have decided to kick my own butt and do something proactive to further my professional standing as a fine artist. Here is a question I am putting to myself as well as to fellow artists:

What five steps can I take in order to get my work seen by, and hopefully bought by, more people?

Universe and Anya’s Brain, I humbly await your advice.

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October 15, 2009

Towards A Definition Of Art As Effing The Ineffable

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 1:29 am

vangogh_starrynight

Ever since I saw an action figure of Roy Batty in a Santa Monica toy shop two weeks ago, I have been thinking about this character. Roy Batty is a painfully Viking-like android who goes on an existential-despair murder spree against his makers, in the film Blade Runner. The film is abrasive and has troubling sartorial issues, but the final scene, in which Roy Batty finally greets his death, makes it something very much like Art.

Roy rages in all our hearts as he confesses to a random wet dove he holds in his hand:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. I watched Sea-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die…”

And then the dove flies away, because the android hand is no longer capable of closing.

There are two ways to watch this scene: as an atheist and as a person with some kind of faith. The atheist would have nothing to offer Roy except the phrase “Life sucks and then you die. This fact is one of the ways in which life sucks.” A person with some kind of faith would tell Roy that death is not the end, that his life, as his death, has meaning and reason, and also possibly that he may have messed up his prospects in the afterlife by killing so many people.

I am neither type. I can’t claim that I have faith, or that I have faith in the total pointlessness of faith. Instead, what I have is hope. It’s very clear to me that the universe is a giant mystery, and that our mental equipment for comprehending it is as advanced as a snail’s equipment for understanding trigonometry. It’s also clear to me that art is part of the mystery. Our drive to make and look at art is inescapable and will not brook denial. It is built in, at a deep enough level that we can locate the reason for doing it in such wildly differing frameworks as building temples, decorating hospitals and generating the wealth of one Mr. Saatchi via the display of unmade beds.  What I am getting at is that art is unexplainable, and that it is also what we are meant to do, something profoundly necessary and right.

I would say this to Roy Batty as he soaks in the misery of imminent death and precipitated pollution:

“Roy, the problem is not that you saw these wonders and will now die. The problem is what you did in between those two events. You refused to acknowledge your own fear and dressed it in robes of entitlement, instead of being grateful for all you got to see and have.

You took revenge for your life being finite and short, and in doing so, you wasted it completely. You saw untold wonders across the galaxy, and you responded by spending all your free time afterwards killing people. What you should have done is tell them what you saw. Your vision is wasted because you, and no one else, wasted it.

I hope your soul goes somewhere after you die, and I hope that somewhere is a kind place and will be willing to forgive you for your foolishness, but that’s all it is – hope, which is not the same as certainty. What I am certain of is one thing and I am certain of it a lot: if you shared with others the wonders you had seen, neither you nor the wonders would vanish. They would transmute into something else, and become part of the great ongoing clusterfuck of life, because that is what life requires of us, self-aware monkeys organic and artificial. Life requires of us that we live it so that it is shared with others.”

I am hopeful, rather than faithful, about consciousness moving on after death. But if  I am certain of anything, it is this: when we capture the memory of the attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion, or the starry night, or the beauty of a trashcan as the fluorescent office light falls on it, we take the finite material world and make it eternal. And then we pass it along to others, and neither we nor they are alone in the universe any longer.

The way plants grow, and how DNA causes various kinds of animals to happen, and the way tides come and go, all have really excellent functional reasons. “Those are the ONLY reasons,” say the atheists and the scientists, “these things are nothing but Laws and Mechanics and Equations.” But if so, why are they also Beauty? Beauty that no capital letters in the world have the power to express fully, so beautiful it is? Why does it all make us want to draw in our breath, and stop, and marvel and then race off to a keyboard, a camera, a canvas? The world is so indescribably beautiful, and it keeps being so ALL THE TIME, so how can it not be more than just the stones and the bones? When it’s ALREADY more? “But it’s only in your head,” say the atheists and the scientists. “So what?” says Hopeful Artist. Just because it’s in our heads, that makes it not real? That makes it not matter? It *is* real. It does matter. It matters to you who sees it, and therefore it matters, period. And if you tell others of what you saw, it will matter even more, and in the act of making it matter, your souls will touch and become one. The tree will make the most gorgeous sound as it falls because you two are there to hear it together. Then the tree’s fall is not waste or oblivion, but wonder, and memory, and the fire with which we burn. Maybe that’s why it is all so, even at the terrifying expense of jacked-up chimpansees running around with free will – so that nobody would be alone. So that the tree would matter to somebody. So that the fire is set off within us. So that there is light.

I guess what I have faith in is art. Because art is a conversation between souls. I forget who said it, but I am convinced he or she is right.

Now that I’ve thought about it, what I want to do the most, with regards to the dying Roy Batty, is stand next to him holding an umbrella and his hand. Wet Roy Batty is a thing of almost unbearable Beauty, but I would still do it. The world has more than enough to make up for that small loss.

October 8, 2009

Legs! 3-for-1 Leg Sale! Get Your Leg Here!

Filed under: Anatomy, Drawing, Rey Bustos — Tags: , , , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 7:57 pm

2009_analyticalDrawing_3legs This fabulous leg bonanza is an exercise we did in Rey Bustos’s Analytical Drawing. Rey has taken to calling me his groupie, and perhaps this accusation is somewhat grounded in reality. In the spring term, I took his 3D Anatomy/Ecorche class, in the summer I took his 2D Anatomy, and now I’m taking Analytical Drawing to top it all off. Not only that, but I elbowed my way into the Analytical class as one of only 3 part-time students, because this course is in the full-time program, and I had to whine fight to get in.

I am very happy I did, if only for this exercise alone. A lot of figure drawing teachers tend to teach a style (their own) and a shorthand for indicating anatomical information (also their own). Before I knew anything about anatomy, such a teaching approach was useful to me as a student, albeit in a limited way. I could put visual information into a drawing that helped the viewer recognize human features in it, even if I didn’t know what it was that I was putting in.

But once I learned all my fancy anatomy learnin’, the shorthand and styles of the teachers stopped working for me. Now on top of actual information about actual, real form, I was also memorizing arbitrary information and arbitrary ways to convey it. I found that when a teacher taught me to find anatomical goods myself, I could do it, but when they said, “here is a formula for a leg, just use it,” I couldn’t reconcile it with the actual leg in front of me or what I recognized in the leg and wanted to portray.

Another interesting problem I developed after learning anatomy has to do with style. Again, I used to have my own style of conveying what I see. But what I see is now different from what I used to see! That’s knowledge for you. It messes up your whole system of dealing with the world. Now my habitual stylistic flourishes don’t work anymore and I haven’t developed new ones yet.

This is where the triple-leg bonanza steps in. This exercise came after we spent several weeks learning the skeleton and muscle structure of legs, and did a bunch of ecorche drawings. Now, when the class sits down to draw from the model, everybody’s drawings tend to look like skinless people! The stylistic breakdown has occurred. We think about bone and muscle, about what’s inside the leg, so we draw that instead of the outer form. It’s a normal stage in the life of an artistic anatomy student. This exercise is designed to move us past that and to help us develop our own new way of drawing the leg – informed by what’s inside, and showing evidence of what’s inside, but actually depicting the visible, outside form. And doing so in a visual language that is uniquely ours, a recognizable individual style that arises out of an individual perception.

It’s very interesting how the Renaissance not only brought the individuality of the viewer into the picture, by using perspective and showing an image as seen from a specific vantage point, but also made it impossible for artists to be anything other than individuals in how they went about producing images. Once you learn anatomy, you can’t draw to a predetermined canon. You have to find a way to articulate what you see, because you can’t unsee it in favour of an externally imposed system. If you draw from anatomical knowledge, you are forced to develop your own pictorial language, and the hand that is visible in the drawings becomes as unique as fingerprints. That’s a huge difference from anonymous workshops making works that also look anonymous (like Egyptian frescoes, for example).

So back to the triple-leg threat: the exercise was to draw specifically a skin-possessing, normal-looking leg, and we had to do it from imagination rather than live model or reference. Because we drew from imagination, we had to rely on internalized information and cement that memory further. Because we drew a normal leg rather than an anatomical chart, we had to grapple with how to show anatomical information in a realistic drawing. But why the three legs, you say? Why, why, why? Well, that’s where we got to play with style. Leg #1 had to be a roughly normal leg. Leg #2 had to have the muscle articulation dialed up a bit, going from a mellow interpretation to someone more jazzy, like Raphael, who would emphasize musculature while still keeping the overall gist of the drawing relatively grounded. Leg #3 is in Michelangelo territory – a beef festival! You can see that my natural sensibility is somewhere between 1 and 2 – my heavy metal leg is not especially loud or bumpy. Some people created terrifying and magnificent bump landscapes with their Leg #3, and it was a lot of fun to look at them.

The exercise result is a boring and weird-looking drawing, but it’s a fantastic journey that trains some very important mental muscles. The idea of this exercise can be applied in other art exploration – take a material or a subject, and do a range of pieces that explore just how far you can push the technical aspect of something, or the intensity of a stylistic approach, going from subtle and quiet to roaringly insane. Or in my case, mildly louder than before.

October 1, 2009

More Drawing Bits

Filed under: Drawing — Tags: — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 5:26 am

I’m starting to like the details of this drawing a lot. That’s because details are the easy part! The hard part is wrangling them all into a whole. Before all these learnin’s, I’d just draw until it looked done. Now I have more specific demands for the piece, I want it to do this and that, and NOT do that and this.

In multi-figure compositions, clatter and din are the biggest obstacles. There are all these players that have to be orchestrated into sounding like actual music, and quite frankly, it’s a little like herding cats.

Slow going, but it’s getting there. And the separate bits are shaping up.

bigass_drawing_detail_mariika

bigass_drawing_detail_notLin

bigass_drawing_detail_leanna

September 28, 2009

Hatchmarks

Filed under: Drawing — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 10:43 pm

I have always loved the hell out of the graphite pencil. When I was a kid in the USSR, we did graphite still life drawings as part of the junior art school curriculum. How people complained and moaned through those, and how I totally secretly dug them!

Later, in Canadian high school, I did a graphite figure composition and loved it, but for some reason stopped there. I came back to the pencil in Year Three of art college, when I took up old exercises out of sheer frustration with the reprehensible level of instruction in the college’s Fine Art department. I remember drawing something very tedious with a flower in it, and contemplating not being an artist due to the whole difficulty in earning money that this profession involves for many people. As I was thinking cowardly thoughts about defection, I hatched away for several hours, and suddenly felt a huge and overwhelming sense of peace, a sense of deep and utter rightness. Hatching away at a sheet of paper is the functional specification to which I was built.

It took a few years of flailing hither and yon to accept this truth and act on it, so after art school, I didn’t do much with the pencil until I did my first big, insanely ambitious multi-figure composition in the spring of 2004. The good news is that I have been drawing steadily ever since and show no signs of repentance whatsoever.

Just for fun, I pulled out a close-up of the hatch work on the First Big Drawing, and compared it to the piece I’m working on now. It seems that what I crave today is softness and a kind of smooth elegance, where you can’t see the marks at all. I wonder how this will evolve. I have been contemplating using visible marks again, but in a very different way, using the direction of the strokes to follow the form, rather than dominate as a single-direction slant across the picture.

strokes

September 17, 2009

What + How = Let’s Think About It A Lot

Filed under: Uncategorized — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 7:46 pm

I have been an artist all my life. But ever since immigrating to Canada 18 years ago, and beginning studies at an art college, I have struggled with contemporary art and where I fit into it.

What I think of as contemporary art is not necessarily simply “art being made today”. In the 20th century, a lot of experimentation and redefinition took place, resulting in some art practices that I personally find ridiculous, bewildering, absurd, lazy and downright fraudulent.

It is beyond the scope of this post to make a more specific and concrete critique of contemporary art. The reason I bring it up is to say that as an artist, I had to sit down and figure out what kind of art animal I wanted to be. The thing about being an artist now is that it’s not at all a given as to what that means. Artists in industrial and post-industrial countries have a greater freedom to define their professional arena than they ever did in the past. It’s a great thing, but it is also a thing that can disorient artists at the start of their path, particularly if the artist in question doesn’t fit into the mold of visual art as it has been defined by mainstream art institutions after the 1970s.

What I came up with was this:
1. I don’t agree with the obsolescence model of art, meaning, with the idea that innovation is the most valuable and urgent task of any artist. I am not interested in art that is new, in its format or technical construction. I am interested in art that is unique, rich; art that has something to say; art that gives an eloquent and compelling voice to the way its maker sees the world. That kind of art is new by definition, regardless of whether its technical execution and format is based on a thousand-year-old tradition or on the latest iteration of a computer language. Art doesn’t have to be new. It has to be good.

2. The art I love the most is Western art – the painting, drawing and sculpting traditions of European civilizations. It’s not because I think that other types of art are lesser, or uninteresting. Western art is what I respond to most strongly from my guts, and what gives me the most pleasure as a viewer. It’s also the art of the places I come from. The two facts are probably linked, but in any case, even after seeing all manner of other art, paintings, drawings and sculptures of a realist and figurative nature are my strongest source of creative nourishment. Unfortunately, this source also comes with a package of problems.

In the 1970s, everyone in capitalist countries’ universities woke up to the fact that Western civilization is steeped in sexism, racism, colonialism and class oppression. Since that is the case, the art of this civilization is in many ways shaped by sexism, racism, colonialism and class oppression, because those things shaped the minds of the artists as well as the production and distribution of the artworks.

This critique was excellent, thorough, necessary and long overdue. But the 1970s were a decade of excess, and a lot of people went further than that and concluded that the art of the European civilizations was nothing but sexism, racism, colonialism and class oppression, and on top of it all, like, totally last month and bad-retro, and therefore had no value at all aside from being an instrument of oppression, and neither did the very activities of making paintings or drawings.

I don’t agree. First, I believe that the amount of oppressive crap on the canvas is directly proportional to the degree that the individual artist is an oppressive asshole. A lot of artists within the European traditions were humanist philosophers, consciously working to overcome the evils of their society. Some of those artists were even female, or non-white, or poor! There were also lots of simply decent people, with empathy and conscience that served to mitigate the way the evils of their society shaped their perceptions and beliefs. I believe that some of the things on the canvases are a contribution to healing the souls of the viewers rather than injuring them further, and a powerful, transcendent contribution at that. Western art has problems, but problems are not all it has.

Secondly, I think that the activities of making paintings or drawings are extremely necessary and fantastic, and that people have an intrinsic need to both make them and look at them. I am 600% sure that I am one of those people.

3. Therefore, what “being an artist” means to me is making paintings and drawings that involve human beings, objects and environments as their subjects, using the language of realism to do so.

In some ways, it is a relief to set these parameters, but in others it means I have a lot of work to do not just on the “how” of this kind of artmaking, but on the “what”. As in, what kinds of images do I want to make? As a self-proclaimed heir to the European art tradition, I have to deal with all aspects of that tradition, including the sexism, racism, colonialism and class oppression.

The critical thought that deals with those vile things exists on two levels, social and individual. On the social level, volumes and volumes have been written about them, and lots of intelligent and progressive people have given them time and thought. Even most recently, Cat Minou has marvelled at the way Tintoretto’s colours sing the beauty of the female body – a true female body with a belly and hips and not the starved pre-adolescent we are presently expected to be – and at the same time, the way he dehumanizes the women he portrays because in his pictures, they are nothing but bodies, bodies that don’t even have a response to being raped! Because the other fun part about Western art is how it’s all rape, rape, rape, rape, rape. Daphne, Europa, Danae, Lucretia, Ravished Nymph #1701. Can we have a break from rape, for maybe five minutes? Alright, here is some Annunciation. Sure, Mary was impregnated without her knowledge or consent, but it was to bring forth Jesus! Jesus is worth it! Plus, she is totally cool with the whole thing! And so is Joseph, and he was her husband!

In addition to the macro-critique, though, an individual, personal journey of critical thought is involved in addressing and transcending the crap aspect of Western art – how much the individual artist sees and notices it, and how they go about not making a further contribution to the crap aspect in their own work. In this respect, I think I have a lot of work to do, both with the sexism and the racism.

I’ve read a mountain of feminist art criticism, and being a woman with brains, I’m generally alert to sexist cultural bullshit, but I have also had a lot of formative experiences that conditioned me to accept being devalued and turned into an object as a normal course of events. It’s something I have to be alert about both in daily life and in my image-making.

As for racism, I have a huge, long way to go. Like many white people who have a conscience, I consider racism evil and wrong, don’t want to be part of the problem, and want to be part of the solution. Like many white people, I am also blind to what is called systemic oppression and privilege. Racism permeates every structure of our society and every particle of our culture, to the point where it becomes like water, and therefore invisible to us, the fish. It influences and shapes us as *conditioning*, as brainwashing. For people of colour, that means fighting racism not only outside, but keeping at bay the kind of internalization that causes a person to accept being devalued or turned into an object as a normal course of events. For white people, it means consciously and frequently thinking about racism and the various ways it’s present in the culture, and despite our best intentions, in our perceptions and actions.

People of colour have the issue of race shoved into their face 24/7 and our social environment makes it impossible for them to just be an individual, at any given time, for race to be beside the point and not on the horizon. One of the ways in which racism is evil is this sheer inescapability, the way it has to be dealt with every single time a person of colour opens a book, turns on the TV or leaves the house, let alone applies for a job or a mortgage. As a white person, I can look at Gaugin’s cool use of line and colour, and suspend thinking about how he portrayed Polynesians in patronizing and dehumanizing ways. A person of colour standing next to me at a museum and looking at the same painting can’t suspend, because she is patronized and dehumanized in the exact same way daily, because she is standing in an institution that until recently, denied her entry as anything other than a (naked) model, because she is the one being directly insulted by Gaugin as surely as if he is still alive and leching away at brown teenagers.

White people don’t have to live with this gauntlet or constantly fight against a sick deluge. And since we don’t *have* to think about it, we don’t. Not always because we are assholes. Sometimes, because thinking about race, racism and our daily, ongoing complicity in it, is painful and disturbing, and makes us ashamed, and deserved shame is not a nice feeling and takes emotional resources to confront, and meanwhile there are bills, and work, and errands, and the car broke down, and we have other sources of oppression such as sexism that do get shoved in our face 24/7 and get bumped to the top of the mental queue, and on and on and on…

So even the best-meaning of us have a natural tendency towards obliviousness. But as an artist and as an artist who is white and portrays people, I think it’s urgent for me to think about racism and how to make images that don’t end up being racist. Because I can help what I am conscious of, like not being disrespectful to the people I encounter, but I can’t help unconscious racism, which will most surely show up on the canvas as everything unconscious will, until that unconscious racism is made conscious, addressed and changed through awareness and knowledge.

I asked a media analyst and African-American journalist/blogger Harry Allen about what I can do in this regard. His suggestion was so simple, it made me facepalm: study the analysis on the subject, which is out there in droves. So much so that it’s silly that I haven’t done a lot of reading or studying of the history and writing of Black people, or thought very deeply about what the world is like for people whose skin colour is not the colour favoured by the dictatorship of race. Where I did get thus far is discovering very smart and thought-provoking blogs, such as Harry’s own Media Assasin Blog, Racialicious, Resist Racism and Womanist Musings.

Where it comes to the -isms of evil, the problem baggage of European art, I have a lot of thinking and a lot of *seeing* to do, of looking at the world and at the inside of my own head with eyes that are maybe wiser and more awake than the ones I have been using. In my studies for this past year, I have gotten a good way towards figuring out how to express what I want to express in my paintings and drawings. As to what I want to express, the answer will evolve as I do, but it is important to pose the question so that I can make a conscious choice as to which aspects of my artistic heritage I will give continued life.

September 13, 2009

Studio Mysteries Answers Questions

Filed under: 3D Anatomy Course, Anatomy, Ecorche — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 1:48 pm

The purpose of this blog is in large part educational. Therefore, it cheers my little blogger heart to no end when I look at what search terms people used to get here, and see that some of them are in the form of a question. Here are some answers:

Q. “Is pubic bone below ilium?”

A. Yes. The ilium is the topmost bone in the pelvis. If you put your hands on your waist and move them down until they run into the pelvis, what you will touch is the ilium. Although it’s important to note that in anatomy, terms such as “above” and “below” are relative. The human body is capable of a great range of movement and often positions itself ass over teakettle. This means the artist has to analyze the relationships between major anatomical landmarks for every pose.

Q. “How to draw boobs”

A. How indeed. I suggest, “with lots of enthusiasm” and “by observing how they conform to the underlying form of the rib cage”. Breasts are glands protected by fatty tissue, resting on top of the pectoralis muscles in a bubble of skin. Female breasts have weight and drape over whatever they lie on top of. Kirk Shinmoto has a hilarious, though also crude and slightly awful analogy: think of balloons filled with water and nailed to a barrel.

Conversely, don’t draw breasts as though they are billiard balls. Even artificially augmented breasts are filled with material that is pliable, not rock solid. And solidity is what makes artificially augmented breasts look fake and weird. Breasts are soft. They are meant to be treated – and drawn – with care.

Q. “how rey’s anatomy do skeleton?”

A. In the 3D Anatomy/Ecorche class, we started with constructing a wire armature that would support the weight of the clay and keep the ecorche upright. We sculpted the skeleton on top of that. Because half of the ecorche would be eventually covered with muscle, we made the skeleton on the exposed half very detailed, and on the muscle half, rougher and more general.

Rey stresses that studying the skeleton is the most important part of artistic anatomy. There are a couple of reasons for that.

First, muscles and fatty tissue are very changeable. They look different in every pose, and vary a lot from individual to individual. The skeleton is immutable and though individual variations exist, they are much more subtle.

Secondly, similarly to breasts, muscle and fat tissue drapes. In a way, it has no form of its own, like a dress that assumes its final form only when the wearer puts it on. If you understand the skeleton, you understand how the underlying bones give form to what you see on the surface.

Thirdly, muscles attach to bones. If you figure out where the bones are and what they are doing, all you have to do is connect the origin and insertion points with a tear-drop shape and presto – you have the muscles. (Every muscle has origin and insertion points – think of it as a bridge from point A to point B. When you study muscles, you have to study what points of the skeleton they connect).

September 11, 2009

Big-ass Drawing, Progress Report

Filed under: Drawing, Values — Tags: , , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 6:40 am

bigass_Drawing_state1

bigass_Drawing_state2

Working like a fiend on my death-by-drawing drawing. Spot the differences: top image is from my previous update, second image is from this afternoon. I feel like I’ve made miles and miles of progress, but on comparison, if anything, the second image seems more busy and scattered than the first. Which would be the opposite of my objective.

Now, where’d I put that drink?

August 31, 2009

Mapping The Land Of Golf Balls

Filed under: 2D Anatomy Course, Anatomy — Tags: , , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 5:49 am

It’s all very well to learn about bones and muscles from anatomy books, where everybody stands like a soldier at attention and conveniently has no skin. That is the first step in learning artistic anatomy – memorizing what’s where.

The second step is no less challenging, perhaps even more so. The second step involves looking at an actual human body, or even a representation of it in figurative art, and identifying what it is that you are looking at. To me, it feels like reciting the Bible backwards in a foreign language while doing a handstand. Just when you thought you got a handle on it, somebody takes it upon themselves to bend a limb and rotate it as if to mock every diagram ever drawn and labelled, and you have to discover America all over again while the native people point and laugh.

It’s week 8 of the 2D Anatomy course, and we are doing exercises that at first seemed competely impossible: taking a master drawing or sculpture, tracing its outline and drawing the muscles and bones within it. The first few assignments, I would look at a figure, and it would be covered with a myriad of completely random bumps, as if the model was wearing a pelt of golf balls. “Who are you, Random Bump # 317? I demand a valid identification!” I would shout, and the golf balls would dance and undulate as if to mock the very concept of sobriety.

Now it’s a bit better. I can look at the work of even the most beef-happy artist, like Michelangelo or Rodin, and identify at least a couple of bumps. And once you get a handle on a couple of bumps, you can get them to snitch on their neighbours! If bump X is an elbow, there are only so many possibilities as to what bumps Y and Z can possibly be. I correctly triangulated a scapula off a muscle the other day, and it was almost as much fun as ice-cream.

This is Rodin’s Thinker. His forearm is basically a sea creature family reunion, but hah! Science named them all. Score one for Team Darwin.

anatomy2D_week8homework_2

August 24, 2009

Actual Creative Project I’m Working On

Filed under: Drawing — Tags: , — Anya Galkina - Studio Mysteries @ 6:59 pm

It’s a really big drawing. About 5 by 4.5 feet. I was going to call it Family And Friends, but now I am thinking of naming it Big-Ass Drawing That Took Forever To Do.

bigAssDrawing

The reason it’s going to take an ice age to finish is that I am doing the whole darn thing in pencil. Although this is the first creative piece I tried starting with a middle tone rubbed into the paper with charcoal. I absolutely fell in love with this technique and the kind of soft, velvety shifts in value you can have with it.

bigAssDrawing2

The other new thing I am loving is lost and found edges. I used to separate everything a lot more, and now I’m seeing how clearly you can show something with edges completely dissolved in places. The eye just fills in missing information, and if anything, it looks more convincing than something that is meticulously outlined.

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