The following passage by E.H. Gombrich was a revelation to me, maybe an epiphany. I had been looking for a way to break out of my old habits when I found this. It became the central idea of a “Self-forgiveness Theory.” It says to keep trying, modifying, and correcting -- that the eraser is the tool of more expressive realism. In almost mystical terms: trying to create perfection is impossible, but forgiving yourself and your drawings for being imperfect and constantly refining your vision is possible.

“Seen in this light, that dry psychological formula of schema and correction can tell us a good deal, not only about the essential unity between medieval and post-medieval art, but also of their vital difference. To the Middle Ages, the schema is the image, to the post-medieval artist, it is the starting point for corrections, adjustments, adaptations, the means to probe reality and to wrestle with the particular. The hallmark of the medieval artist is the firm line that testifies to the mastery of his craft. That of the post-medieval artist is not facility, which he avoids, but constant alertness. Its symptom is the sketch, or rather the many sketches which precede the finished work and, for all the skill of hand and eye of the master, a constant readiness to learn, to make and match and remake till the portrayal ceases to be a second hand formula and reflects the unique and unrepeatable experience the artist wishes to seize and hold.”

Art & Illusion: A study in Psychology of Pictorial Representation, Page 173

-- E. H. Gombrich

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Brookgreen Putto 1 (Boy with Dove)

Its the block-in with Tera Rosa. Just drawing with the paint and blocking in the values. The more I am able to work with the brush, the more I set my mind in the painting mode. I like putting the subject off center, but now - looking at the photo - I wonder if it's not too far left. It would have been easy to use some turpentine and erase this and start over.  Also, this is a good lesson on looking at the painting in a different media; before the camera, artisits used the mirror or turned the painting upside down. I consider this drawing and could have done more to block in the big background shapes. One of the ideas I'm using is: Draw from the front, paint from the back.

At this point, I am using the dark tones of the background to clean-up the drawing and make minor corrections. Now I am thinking: Paint the darks first, then pull the lights out of it.

Starting to work out the background. The photo is fuzzy, but it shows enough to compare with the next photo.

I've worked some dark into the leaves, and started adding some details.

Here is the first of the foreground ferns. I am not satisfied with the ferns. I am going to add more ferns and more color variation.

I would still like to work on the ferns some more - add a few more and add more detail in the closest ones. I'll look hard at the highlights and decide whether I need to brighten them. I might consider adding some reflected light (for color) on the statue.

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