Friday, February 25, 2011

Thurs. Feb. 24 VALUE: Emphasizing Light

As mentioned in previous class discussions, when addressing value, artists may emphasize light over volume. In order to do this, you must use a drawing technique that contradicts the cross contours of any given object.  Andrew Robles (top) has chosen the scribble gesture technique.  His use of the technique has created a surreal drawing that appears to be a wet, dripping, tangle of lines.  Note how he has separated foreground, mid-ground, and background by employing atmospheric perspective. Krishna Chaitanya (middle)  has also employed the scribble gesture technique but with very different results. He has created a very heavy, tough and dirty drawing.  As one student said, "He feels like Krishna's drawing is going to kick his butt."  The large cylinder in the center is very confrontational, appearing as though it will give you a wollup. Rose Antaki (bottom) has gone with the single directional hatch in diagonal orientation. She has produced a very clear and intense rendering of the forms and their values. This drawing has a great rhythm that moves the "eye" throughout the composition.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The theme for this assignment is a table place setting.  Your still life should be the before or after of a meal. Create an asymmetrical composition consisting of plates, glasses, silverware.  You may also include condiments bottles, cereal boxes, etc., for stronger narrative development. Don't draw a plate in the middle of your paper with a fork and spoon on either side. BOOORING! Notice in the drawing above by Alan De Marche how your "eye" zigs and zags through the composition bouncing off of the tableware like a pinball bouncing through its game board. Furthermore, he has strategically placed bowls, each with a spoon sticking out, throughout the composition establishing a pattern of similarity. Use graphite pencils on 18 x 24 in. drawing paper.

Wed. Feb. 23 VALUE: Light and Form

Students made drawings of simple still life arrangements addressing Light and Form - in other words, how value is used to create three dimensional volumes.  Brian Delgado's drawing (top) is a very dynamic and stylized rendering of the categories of light.  The negative areas shoot through the forms like swords whereas the highlights are reminiscent of freshly incised claw marks.  John McDonald's drawing (bottom) focuses on the gradual changes in value as they cross the forms. One of the strength's in John's drawing is the compositional balance and attention to design.  Note how he has incorporated the cast shadows.  The shadows not only attach and enclose the bottom left corner but they also establish a pattern of repeating ovals that arches upwards through the cup handles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Art 7B Feb. 22 VANITAS

7B students made drawings inspired by the 14th & 15th century Vanitas still life paintings. Beautifully drawn and well composed, Michelle Phillips' drawing (top) is an interesting commentary on contemporary consumer culture.  The element that most relates to the vanitas tradition would be the transience or obsolescence of our digital goods and a culture overrun with, "One word, Benjamin . . .plastics".  Taylor Bihn's drawing (bottom) addresses his interest in the hotrod, tiki subculture. Also very well drawn. Note his use of darks to add weight and stability to the composition while establishing a pattern of similarity that moves the "eye".

Tues. Feb. 22 VALUE: Miniatures

Students made small drawings in there sketch books of simple still life arrangements and objects brought in from home.  The goal was to fill the entire image area paying attention to the value patterns and addressing the categories of light. Alissa Griffin's drawing (above) is a terrible photo but a great little drawing. Very well composed with an acute attention to value patterns. Alissa's drawing is also very energetic and expressive especially for such a small scale. Hollister Nadeau's drawing (below) exhibits an equally acute understanding of the value patterns yet is more controlled; drawn with a calm hand. The textural qualities achieved on the sea shell are particularly well done.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tues. and Wed. Feb 14 & 15, VALUE REDUCTION

Students made drawings from a complex still life arrangement consisting of variously colored items.  We began with gesture studies to warm-up, familiarize and find the most balanced composition.    Once the composition was sketched out, students had to decide whether a particular value fell on the scale from 1-5 (white) or 6 - 10 (black).    This should produce an abstract, flat composition of black and white shapes - NO LINES.

Jack Hamilton's drawing (above) is well balanced between positive and negative areas.  In particular the dominant white (positive) area in the lower left juxtaposed diagonally against the large dark (negative) area in the upper right corner.  Although there are contours where there should be none in this drawing, his use of the shadows in the skull's jaw and cheek area and on the pumpkin are very well done.  

Mariah Cortez Harvey's drawing (below) illustrates perfectly the merging and connecting of the similarly valued shapes.   The presence of the forms is inferred rather than being enclosed by contours.  This is achieved by Mariah's astute observations of the shadows most notably in the centered chess piece, skull and pumpkin.
 Amber Dengler's drawing (above), although in-progress, already reveals a strong directional rhythm. Notice the triangulation between the shadow from the vase on the right over to the shadow from the cube and up to the long vertical shadow on the can in the back.

Patrick Kirven's drawing (below) is also very well composed. Notice the balance between the larger shapes and smaller compartmentalized areas of shapes as in the stacked horizontals on the right.  Furthermore, the drawing exhibits strong spatial separation by placing more white and less black in the foreground and reversing this in the background. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mon. Feb. 14 VALUE PATTERNS: Cheesy Drawings

M/W class made drawings from the paper cut-outs exploring value patterns. Same idea as addressed in the previous T/Th class although M/W's class used graphite instead of charcoal.  Kristen Rimal has done a great job of capturing the subtleties of the value patterns as they rake across the paper form.  Furthermore, the cast shadow and the horizon in the back emphasize the lighting conditions while suggesting a sense of place.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thurs. Feb. 10 VALUE PATTERNS: Cheesy Paper

Thursday night we made drawings of value patterns created from raking light across folded paper with circular cutouts. Avi Scheuenstuhl's drawing (above) exhibits very scrupulous observations of the various tonalities as they move across the form.  His approach is one based on subtlety and realism. Note the absence of hard contours.  Edges are created by juxtaposing dark values against light.  Michelle Phillips has taken a more subjective and exaggerated approach to her interpretation of the subject. She has pushed the value range increasing the intensity of the values and the contrast between them creating a very bold and striking image.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tues. and Wed. Feb. 8 & 9 VALUE STUDIES

Students made continuous line drawings based on Cubist Ideals of fragmented and fractured space.  The forms the images took were one of three possibilities: portrait, landscape or abstract design. Giselle Chavez's drawing above would fall under the abstract design category. This drawing is unfinished at the time of photo but note the rhythm established by the placement of the black values.  Also worthy of note, is the reductive work on the left curl and in the central flower/ bow shape.
Clearly Mariah Clark's drawing is a portrait albeit distorted.  This is an extremely dynamic and animated piece. She has made excellent use of angular shapes juxtaposed with more fluid like forms.  There is a sense of the negative space pushing in on the face like the hands of an unforeseen figure pawing and smearing the features. The accenting with the eraser against the line work is especially well done.
 Kristin Rimal's drawing has a great sense of movement while exhibiting strong use of pattern elements. Note how the wavy lines add a fluid quality to the image.  This also creates the illusion of transparency.  As mentioned the drawing is rich with patterns that bring visual interest.  The thing to remember about patterns is that they essentially read as "grays".
The beauty in Hong Lin's drawing lies within her use of repetition. Notice how your "eye" is lead throughout the profile by all the repeating circular shapes.  Placing the eyes at a diagonal also helps push the viewer's attention across the profile image. This is a very interesting image with many points of interest and the allusion of being the portrait of a bejewelled princess.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mon. Feb. 7 PROPORTIONS: Planar Analysis and Organizing Lines

Brian Vance's drawing above illustrates the properties of Organizing Lines and Planar Structure.  Both approaches add volume and structure which leads to greater three dimensionality and proportional accuracy respectively.  Organizational lines provide a scaffolding like system of lines that encloses and unites the positive and negative areas. It is essential in relating the proportions of one object to another and accurately capturing the distance between objects.  The planar lines above are the repeating verticals.  Identifying the planes is most beneficial when applying tonalities.  Combined with the categories of light, the planar compartments dictate how gradations of light to dark should be applied.
Martin Gilbertson's drawing is an excellent example of the Organizational Line technique. Note how the lines create boxes or compartments that isolate positive and negative areas (at base of lantern). He has also initiated the drawing with a central axis line then moving to the edges as well as referring to the Ideal Solids most notably evident with the implied sphere inside the glass.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thurs. Feb. 3 PROPORTIONS: Simple Forms within Complex Shapes

Thursday 7A  focused on developing accurate proportions. When drawing a shape such as a wine bottle, it helps to draw all the individual forms that make up that shape.  Looking closely at Andrew Robles' drawing above, we can see that a bottle is a cylinder (body), a cone (shoulders) and another cylinder for the neck.  Defining these parts will make proportions more accurate as well as revealing to the artist how the tonalities are to play across the surface of an object.
Avi Scheuenstuhl's drawing is an example of planar analysis. By flattening the curvature of a round object, one can see the planes more clearly.  This is important because placement of values is determined by the planar structure of an object.

Tony Topacio's drawing expands on both of these themes to make an organizational line drawing.  Organizational lines, enclose the positive and negative areas allowing the artist to organize and visualize the parts and their relationships to one another.  Looking closely, one can see the interior structure of this object revealing top and bottom ellipses, the planes around the cylindrical body and the cone on top.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

HOMEWORK #2 Composing with Ideal Solids

On 18 x 24 in. drawing paper make a composition of Ideal Solids using vine charcoal to sketch it in, compressed charcoal and charcoal pencil for tonalities and line. Pay attention to proportions, overlap, atmospheric perspective, categories of light, location, etc. All the drawings listed in the previous post from the two class sessions are good examples of what to strive for as well as the drawings posted here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tues. and Wed. Feb. 1 & 2 COMPOSING W/ IDEAL SOLIDS

Students made drawings using the Ideal Solids developed in the previous evening's sessions.  The objective was to create a sense of deep space by placing the horizon line outside of the image area, place the objects on distant baselines and employ overlapping and atmospheric perspective.
Avi Scheuenstuhl's drawing (top, above) exhibits smooth, warm tones and a strong triangular design.  The warm tones are achieved by only using soft whites.  The triangular design is implied by the placement of the objects.
Donna Holbrook's drawing (middle, above) has a much colder temperature due to her use of high contrasting whites. She has also embarked on a path of separating textures. Notice how course the objects are in relation to the ground plane.
Jennifer Green's drawing (bottom, above) has also created rich textures but here she uses the eraser to push the material around instead of using the grain created by the pencil as in Donna's drawing. The exaggerated contours bring a sense of character to the objects - note the point on the cone in particular.  And lastly, the reductive drawing applied to the ground plane has created a strong sense of atmosphere and environment suggesting a wind swept desert.
Below (top) we have a great composition from Brennon Hedman.  We are drawn into the space by the large, cropped sphere and pushed along over the other forms then pulled to the left by the small open cylinder in the corner.  This drawing also exhibits strong use of line and texture not only in the objects but on the ground plane as well.
Lorelle Ross's (below, middle) drawing also exhibits strong use of line and textural qualities. There is a true sense of character and mass to all of the forms achieved through additive and reductive drawing techniques.
Patrick Kirven's drawing (below, bottom) could use a bit more emphasis in the core shadow but the strength of the piece lies within its composition. We are drawn in from the lower right corner and led through the space in a snake like wiggle up to the upper right corner.  Furthermore, Patrick has strategically balanced the left corner by placing a dark mass moving in towards the center.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Monday's class caught up with Ideal Solids - standard geometric shapes found in many objects.  We discussed composition, practiced drawing ellipses, and finished the evening with drawings of geometric shapes drawn from imagination and rendered three dimensionally with a single light source. Brian Delgado's drawing (above) exhibits smooth gradual value transitions and strong use of line quality made with the charcoal pencil and compressed charcoal.  Brandon Hughes' drawing (below) also exhibits gradual value transitions but he has also employed reductive drawing with the eraser. This adds to the textural quality of the forms as if they were made out of plaster.