Sunday, 24 November 2013

Drawing Statues: Revisited

I had the luxury of a whole afternoon to myself at the Archaeological museum in Naples so I took the opportunity to revisit drawing statues as a sort of prelude to part 4 of the course - the figure drawing section. Luckily, November is not peak tourist season so the museum was relatively quiet. I went into the room where the Farnese collection was and found several benches which were against a wall stopping people from looking over my shoulder. Consequently I felt quite relaxed with drawing in public which is a big step forward for me. I stayed for several hours and produced numerous sketches, some of which were more successful than others.

Hercules in Repose
I was quite pleased with my handling of the muscularity of the figure of Hercules for my first sketch. Unfortunately I hadn't planned the composition, I just started drawing and worked my way around the figure so he is consequently without feet.

The cropping of the figure was intentional in this sketch. However, poor planning again led me to miss her left hand off the drawing. Some of the lines in this drawing have got a bit harsh, giving the statue a slightly robotic look. So I tried to simplify with a tonal version looking for the planes of light and shadow. I like this way of working but however there's something not quite right around her shoulders on this one.

Aphrodite - Tonal
I had prepared some paper in my sketchbook with a wash of watercolour to give a tonal ground which I could walk over with black and white. On the sketch below I tried working over this ground with charcoal and white conte'. Unfortunately the paper didn't have sufficient tooth so the conte' slid about all over the place and made drawing very difficult. This really didn't work - textured paper or sugar paper is better for this. Something to remember for future reference.

The next few sketches are of a statue entitled "Warrior Carrying a Dying Child". The part that attracted me particularly about this statue was the floppiness of the child falling down the warrior's back. I made several attempts at this statue. In my first attempt at the full statue in drawing pen the warrior looks rather squat and is face has a simian look about it - while this might be appropriate for the uncivilised nature of what he is doing, in actuality his features were more refined as I have represented in the corner of the page.

Next I made a couple of attempts at placing the state in context on the plinth and in the museum. First I really struggled with the perspective of the plinth and then I also had trouble because I seemed to have included the plinth as an afterthought and the statue looked as if it was about to take off from the back edge of the plinth in my pen and wash drawing. 

I tried a tonal drawing of the statue of Hermes. this again ended up with a very strong brow giving it a simian look.

Finally I went on to the biggest challenge- The Farnese Bull. This is a very large and complex statue with multiple figures. I had been attracted to it by the strong negative shapes between the figures. Unfortunately when I started to draw I somehow managed to forget whet my original intention had been and get distracted my the  massive amount of detail in front of me. The result is a very busy and rather uninspiring pencil drawing. Yet another lesson about selecting what is important and sticking to it when drawing. I'm still not able to do this very well. I subsequently chose just a small section of the statue for simple pen and wash treatment but I thin perhaps a better development would be just to pick out the  negative shapes from my original drawing missing out the detail. 

At the end of the day I ended up with a banging headache from concentrating so hard but I was glad I'd done it and it put me in the mood to complete part three so I can move on to section 4 of the course and start drawing real people.

No comments:

Post a Comment