Friday, January 28, 2011

"Dust and Thunder" Update: Maintaining a Focal Point

While recently developing a couple of preliminary layouts for future drawings, I've continued to work on Dust and Thunder.  Below is a photograph taken late this week, during one of its many (smile) "ugly phases".

During my recent research and readings about composition both online and in books, I am increasingly intrigued by the many ways in which an artist can create a dynamic composition by the handling of certain aspects of a drawing / painting -- color, contrast, edge control, and temperature, to name but a few.  More specifically as applied to this current drawing, I have been giving a great deal of consideration to how controlling contrast can help to define my focal point.  The focal point of a drawing / painting should have the strongest contrast of edges.  This can be achieved not only through the use of color and / or value, but also through edge control, with hard edges providing the greatest contrast.  Areas of high contrast other than the focal point, can actually pull the viewer's eye away from the focal point.  For this reason hard edges throughout an image (guilty!) can be problematic.

In Dust and Thunder my plan is for the area of the appaloosa (spotted) horse to be the focal point.  As I develop the background colors and foreground foliage, as well as continue to define some edges and soften others, it should become more clear as to how I am attempting to use the above information to do this.  I'm interested to see how the conscious application of the principles pertaining to contrast may effect my drawing, both on this piece and in the future.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Close-up of Current Horse Drawing: "Dust and Thunder"

Now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror and my son has recently gone back to college, I have returned to the herd of galloping horses that generated so much angst for me when I last worked on them.  This work-in-progress has been given the working title, and possibly the final title, of Dust and Thunder.

In a past post I've mentioned that I continue to learn to draw, simply by drawing -- and this piece has given that fact new meaning.  You may recall the tremendous anxiety I experienced early in this drawing's process, given the differences from my usual style.  I have tended to feel more comfortable with subject matter that is viewed from a close-up perspective, and has clearly defined details and textures.  Dust and Thunder on the other hand, is about ambiguous shapes and values, soft edges, a rather tricky source of back-lighting, and lots of dust!......(which is yet to be revealed, as most of it will be laid in after the entire drawing is completed.)  In addition, the viewpoint is that of a landscape -- a first for me.

There have been many times I felt lost trying to navigate my way through this drawing: it seemed as if I simply did not know how to put one foot in front of the other.  More than once I wondered if I would have to give up on it.  But when I returned several days ago to finishing off the values of the two greys in the image, I no longer seemed plagued by the difficulties I was previously having with it.  Maybe I just stuck with it long enough.........or maybe I simply needed the break from it that I took out of necessity after the loss of my mother............or maybe recent events have helped to lend a degree of perspective of sorts, about what really is problematic in life -- and what is not.  Or maybe.............

Whatever the reason(s), I'm grateful for the learning -- and it feels good to be back in the saddle again, so to speak.  A happy, productive New Year to everyone.  Thanks for reading.