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

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tonal Studies: Matrix

Dark Matrix: media values join with darks

Light Matrix: Medium values join with lights

Here's another tonal exercise. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Value exercise


This is one of my favorite Brookgreen Gardens' statues and one of my favorite exercises. Choosing two values for the subject and one for the background (i.e.: light and dark subject against a medium background) is great way to reconsider the value structure of a scene before you paint it.  

Which one do you like best? Different people are attracted to different examples. I tend to like the dark backgrounds. I see them as dramatic but some think they are depressing. That's art!