Patricia Bennett


Friday, June 1, 2012

Sargent copying

I have decided to actually post what I am "working" on every day.  Each day I copy a John Singer Sargent drawing, and one of his portraits.  JSS was a master of drawing, and a master of color.  I had a choice of many masters to copy, and I chose him.  Probably because he appeals to me more than Raphael and Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci and Durer.  He's more modern, lighter.  The hatchmarks on Raphael drawings are really meticulous.  

Artists generally either can draw easily, or they have a knack for color.  I can use color.  Drawing is not natural to me, and requires a lot of effort.  I tend to place noses in the wrong place, ears can find their way too high or too low...  The solution for me is to align the features using straight lines.  The corner of the eye must line up in a certain way with the mouth, and the corner of the nose.  Also, if the head is tilted, all of the features must fall a certain way...  

What I do have naturally is a lot of feeling.  It works its way into my drawings.

After Sargent1, Patricia Bennett

These are all copied from the Dover Sargent Drawing Book.  I go in chronological order.  Sargent spent various amounts of time on them.  The first one he probably did in a few minutes.  

I set a timer for 15 minutes so that I don't nitpick.  I sketched the outline in 15 minutes.  Then spent 15 minutes correcting my outline.  And then, the fun part, I examined the hatching and hair techniques and "copied" them.  His method of depicting hair and cloth reminds me of a book on how to draw trees and bushes in pencil.

After Sargent2, Patricia Bennett
 This one was copied in the same manner as the first one: 15 minutes for the outline, then 15 minutes for the corrections of the outline (I forgot to angle all of the features), then 15 minutes for the feature details.  I love the feature details.  Sargent's irises and eyelids and... everything, are drawn with exquisite precision.  Then, 15 minutes for the hair.
This drawing always makes me sad because the model died so young.
After Sargent3, Patricia Bennett
The "Madame X".  Yet another example of Sargent's drawing brilliance: the line is thick and thin, and so delicate and strong and simple.

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