Passion for Anatomy

Archer

Anatomy has been a delightful pursuit for the last year since my graduation from Georgetown Atelier.

I am so enamoured with it; the human body, the biological machine, an absolute beauty; sophisticated and elegant, powerful and capable of executing our will as well as express our emotions. As social beings our bodies and minds have tremendous power to communicate and perceive our mood and character.

Every artist who studies anatomy does it for a slightly different reason, I believe. Continue reading

Tree Drawings

I had a fun day going out drawing with my new watercolor sticks and a black fountain pen, sitting in the street on the sidewalk and drawing trees.

It was a fun to walk going around “hunting” for a special tree I find appealing and a way to experience an otherwise somewhat familiar neighborhood through new eyes of adventure.

What sent me on this trip to begin with was my interest in harmony of lines, in patterns – and plants are the perfect subject matter for that.

They have the same blueprint yet every leaf and branch grows differently according to its surrounding, and together they form a structure that has similar patterns and sense of movement, yet the branches and leafs are different from one another, and each plant has a different pattern than the rest. It’s random yet structured. I find them really pretty.

Short paintings and thoughts (weekly #23)

Here are the two studies I did this past week. The photos have some glare, but they will have to do for now.

   
Getting back into painting after several months of not painting proves to be challenging. A lot of times it feels like I am learning more about what NOT to do with oil paints rather than what TO do with them.

One important thing I must learn to do is to trust myself and move on once I painted an area. But I also realized that trusting myself must be earned – I cannot simply convince my subconscious to “trust”. If I am sufficiently thorough in my method of painting, trusting will happen, but if I’m not, I will not “trust”.

It is very easy, early in the morning, being tired, to be tempted to mix a paint that is “just close” and say to myself: “I will adjust it later”.
It takes a lot of discipline to slow down, consider the place of a particular area in the painting in relation to the global values and global color scheme.
It is much easier to try to mimic that particular color that you see in that particular instance and move on. But great paintings have that analysis completed before the painter starts painting. This way, every part makes sense as part of a whole color/value scheme and is not just copied.

I think a lot of modern works are more “copied” than arranged around a value/color scheme. They look more photographic, but less harmonic.

I’m afraid that if I will attempt that level of discipline I will go mad, maybe even not be able to retain the complexity, yet I think this is what I need to attempt to do. I know that over time, something that at first appears difficult becomes automatized. It’s just a matter of pushing yourself through the initial difficulty. The effort is worth it because it will make my paintings better in the long run.

During the first week of painting I felt unusual lack of control over the behavior of the paints.

It took me a week to realize that the problem was that I was using only one brush to paint and constantly cleaning it with mineral spirit, which made the paint very runny.
Oy! Everything I tried to apply would instantly get mixed with everything else and it was impossible to assert the power of a new brush stroke.
I was also reminded again how quickly a painting can fall apart when you use the existing paint on the canvas and move it around instead of adding new paint. Oy.
Then I also realized that with a palette that is too light, it is near impossible to distinguish the hues of dark colors. They all look the same – simply dark.
My thoughts dangle between “YES!! I got it! I can succeed!” to “I will never be good at painting. It’s not my thing!”.
My painting schizophrenia ends when I remind myself that I have the right motivation, that I love what I want to create, that I have already accomplished some good paintings and therefore, just to shut the hell up and keep practicing. It usually works after I use some harsh language. 🙂

Getting sleep also helps with mental stability and calmness and an overall positive approach.
On that note, I will do just that… go get some sleep.

Have a good week and glad to have you as a reader on my blog.
-Ifat

 

 

 

Paintings, Drawings and Atelier projects (weekly #22)

Been busy busy in the past 2 weeks. Finally started painting this week.

Here is the first painting I did this year, during a 2 hour sitting:

(Enlarge all images by clicking on them).

I also went back to my dear skull, this time to finish the battle. Indeed, it is a glorious one. One which will be remembered in the Ifat history books of painting progression. This is the second skull I am painting, in the same setup. I worked on the first for 3 months and decided to start over because I judged it to be overworked and too far off.
In working on the current one I realized that I am unclear on the global value relationships and did a small study to figure it out. It’s a very analytic process, not a lot of fun and surfing going on there. Here is a neat photo I took of the painting, the study (middle) and the setup of the skull itself.

At the bottom of my easel is attached a new note I wrote to myself with some stern reminders on proper work methods. This is my attempt to assign myself as my own enforces. I even added some dramatic emphasis to make sure I understand how serious I am about these rules! It’s working great so far.

The one thing I still need to add in my studio is a note my brother wrote me for my last birthday which made me feel very good about what I’m doing.

 

More stuff:

The sketch I discussed in this blog post has developed into a fully developed skeleton on which I planned to overlay muscles, flesh and ultimately make into a full human being with invented lighting and all. Now that I started painting this drawing will have to take a second priority, but it is wonderful to be able to draw something from imagination and see it come to live without a model. It will be interesting to see it through. Here is the skeleton I drew (the sketch from which it started on the right):
 

Another quick and fun drawing I did a week ago:

Turns out that sometimes being in a bad mood helps me bring more emotion into an artwork. The art process can become an outlet for what I’m feeling if the subject matter fits.
At this time I kiss goodbye to the quick block-in’s section of the curriculum. Here are a couple of the last block-in’s I did:

  

 

One of the forms of analysis that come to me most naturally, as a natural desire, is to understand the form I’m looking at in 3D. I think every artist has different tendencies in this regard. Some tend to see more graphical shadow shapes, some focus more on gesture lines. For me it’s been the planes and 3D connections. I don’t remember experiencing it when I drew from photos before joining the atelier, but once I started doing long drawings from life, it was one of the main things I was thinking of when drawing. I find this pleasurable in rendering as well, because I feel that by pulling my lines in the direction of the turning of the form I’m creating something real inside the page, as if I could almost slide my hands on it as if it were a solid object. Sounds a lot like how a sculptor would think. Indeed, I love sculpting too. I would definitely do some of that in the future, if time permits.

I find that painting does not come as easily to me as drawing does. But slowly I’m beginning to remember how to paint. I’ve had nearly a whole summer to forget it, with exception of a painting I consider successful which I painted in August.
I wish you all a good week, I appreciate your interest,

Ifat

Weekly #20

Due to shortage of time I will only post some of my drawings from the past week, without discussing what’s on my mind.

This week while working from the model I challenged myself to use the model as a looser reference; to draw the gesture but with a different body type than the model’s. I think the idea popped in my mind because the model had great poses that I found very inspiring but she herself was in her 50’s or 60’s and I wanted to draw a younger body. So these drawings are all 20 minute poses and are based on a much older model. I used my knowledge of anatomy to do this. This first one, right bellow, is my favorite.

    

 

Another thing I started working on is creating a drawing from imagination based on general knowledge of anatomy and perspective. This is actually part of my curriculum although I do it on my free time as well. I love drawing from imagination. Love it love it love it.

Here are the preliminary sketches:

Here I started developing the underlying anatomy:

  

There’s something about this pose I really like. It is very powerful with, even, a hint of violence I would say. It looks like even though the figure is holding the stick lightly behind her back with one hand, she could easily swing it around to use it as a weapon. Not that I think that beating up someone with a stick is the ultimate symbol of strength, but I do respect the concept of a warrior. A warrior  to me, is someone who fights for their values when they are under attack from others. And let’s face it, in today’s world everything comes with a struggle, with people getting in your way one way or another. Guarding what’s important to you is an important skill, and a stick is but a symbol of that loyalty to one’s self.

In any case, I like it. I like it better than the right-most figure with which I started and in the next two weeks I will develop it some more.

Cheers,

YIf’at

Weekly #19

Working on anatomy mornings and afternoons for the past 3 weeks at my Atelier. Let me show you some of what I’ve done.

More skeleton drawing from the model:

Some block-ins and rendering, just to remind myself those things still exist:

  

And finally, more anatomical drawings, this time building muscles and a skeleton after drawing the figure in a certain pose:

I am working on this one with an anatomy book open beside me, putting on one muscle after another, taking note of their function and appearance in key areas.

And an early stage: Analyzing the perspective of the figure (how the planes and volumes of the figure are oriented in space in relation to the viewer):

 

I find anatomy fascinating. I have such reverence to the human figure and how our bodies work. 3 more weeks of anatomy – the next ones will cover areas of anatomy I know less about. I expect it to be a difficult and interesting learning experience.

Cheers!

YIf’at

P.S. I decided to start spelling my name this way sometimes instead of “Ifat” to help explain its pronunciation.

Weekly #18

This week was more anatomy. This time the exercise went beyond just drawing blocks for the torso and pelvis and got into muscle groups.

We worked from a skeleton and then put muscles on top of the skeleton, and from a live model, trying to figure out where her torso and pelvis would be located and then putting the muscles on top, using knowledge of certain anatomical landmarks.

Here is one example in photos that show the progression:

        

Here is some from a live model:

        

This week we will cover a different muscle area. I think it will be the legs.

Cheers,

-Ifat